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Paynesville Press - July 12, 2006

Tri named Coach of the Year

By Michael Jacobson

Ray Tri, who led the Eden Valley-Watkins football team to the Class AA state title last fall, was named the Class AA Football Coach of the Year this spring.

Tri has coached the varsity at Eden Valley-Watkins for 22 years (serving as assistant coach for five years before that) and led the Eagles to three state appearances (1997, 2004, and 2005).

In 2004, the Eagles advanced to the state final before losing to Pierz 39-14, including a dramatic last-play touchdown to beat BOLD 13-7 in the state semifinals.

This year, the Eagles entered the state tournament unranked after regular-season losses to Holdingford and Pierz. But they handed the first losses to previously undefeated Esko 16-8, Pierz 26-7, and Caledonia 21-7 to win the school's first state title.

"We just had a great bunch of kids," said Tri, who teaches health and physical education at EV-W, of the Eagles' season.

Tri and his wife have four children and live near Rice Lake, including Ryan, who will be a ninth grader this fall.

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