Apollo football coach Justin Skaalerud was named Activities Director for the school back in June while remaining head football coach of the upstart Eagles. He says that it's a role he always wanted to have.

Skaalerud is acclimating himself to his new role while simultaneously getting the Eagles football team ready for the upcoming season.

“This is something that I’ve always strived for, being a part of all the athletic programs,” Skaalerud said at a recent football practice. “The activities office has been a very smooth transition and I think everything is going great so far, we are ready for all the fall sports to begin.

“When the opportunity presented itself, it was something I obviously jumped on,” Skaalerud said. “I was very fortunate that Superintendent (Willie) Jett contacted me about it.”

Skaalerud, who has been the head coach at Apollo for eight seasons, says there haven’t been too many surprises since taking the job.

“Not too many surprises, the biggest thing is figuring out all the scheduling and working with all the different coaches and officials’ associations,” Skaalerud said. “I just want us to make sure that we are all ready to go and that we have a flawless fall.”

Skaalerud said he is excited about this season’s football team, noting that the team had a chance to win many games that they ended up losing before finishing 5-5, including a win against Little Falls in the section playoffs.

“We are excited for the upcoming fall, we have had a lot of guys put in a lot of time,” Skaalerud said. “Last year we saw some success, we are hoping to build on that and make a little bit of a run in the playoffs.”

There has been a lot of turnover with local football coaches over the past two years, with Sauk Rapids-Rice, Tech, Rocori and Cathedral all seeing changes at the head coach position. However, Skaalerud says he is an “Apollo guy” and doesn’t plan on leaving anytime soon.

“Those guys are good friends of mine, and I am very fortunate to have worked with them,” Skaalerud said while noting former Tech coach Gregg Martig was a mentor to him.  “Apollo is home for us, to me and my wife and son Tanner who will be here in a couple of years, so we just so excited to continue to be a part of this great family.”