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Metcalf resigns, Palczewski hired as West Fargo basketball coaches

Barb Metcalf announced that she is stepping down from her position as head coach of the girls basketball team. In her nine years as coach, she led the Packers to six North Dakota Class A state tournaments and to two state championship appearances. David Samson / The Forum1 / 2
Adam Palczewski was hired as West Fargo's new head boys basketball coach. Submitted photo2 / 2

WEST FARGO -- West Fargo head girls basketball coach Barb Metcalf has resigned from her coaching position and Adam Palczewski accepted the West Fargo head boys basketball coaching position both on Thursday, April 20.  

Metcalf, West Fargo’s head coach for nine years and North Dakota coach of the year in 2014, said she couldn’t meet the demands of her position due to “professional interests.”

Metcalf, who previously was a social studies teacher for 22 years, will continue as a instructional coach at the school. The demands and schedules of her job, which she started this school year, were not conducive for continuing on as West Fargo’s coach.

“I need to hang up the whistle and take a timeout,” Metcalf said.

Metcalf led the Packers to six North Dakota Class A state tournaments and to two state championship appearances in 2012 and 2013. The Packers were 148-72 with Metcalf as head coach.

Metcalf told her team she would be stepping down on Friday morning.

“We had some tears and some laughs,” Metcalf said. “It was surreal, but it was a nice way to wish them the best of luck in the future. It’s not a goodbye. I’m going to be around and supporting them. They know where my office is.”

Metcalf is three University of Mary-Bismarck classes away from a principal credential and is keeping her options open for future administrative positions. Metcalf felt like she couldn’t give the basketball program 100 percent, but she didn’t rule out the possibility of coaching again in the future.

“Once it’s in your blood, it’s in your blood,” Metcalf said. “I’m too young to retire. Now does that mean I’m not going to coach again? I don’t know.”

West Fargo activities director Jay DeCann said he had spoken with Metcalf about her possible resignation since her year-end evaluation in mid-March. The search for Metcalf’s replacement began immediately to ease offseason programming and to allow the new coach to create relationships with the coaching staff and student-athletes before next season.

“Professionally, she’s at a crossroads,” DeCann said. “Coaching is going to interfere with what she wants to do.”

Before accepting the boys head coaching job, Palczewski was an assistant basketball coach at Chatfield Senior High School in Littleton, Colo., for two years, coached other sports in Hermantown, Minn., for a year and coached in West Fargo for eight years. A former North Dakota State football player, he’s also a math teacher and an assistant football and track and field coach.

DeCann said Palczewski was among a pool of 29 candidates, four of whom interviewed for the job. Palczewski’s resume included previous relationships with the kids, parents and other stakeholders, DeCann said, so that way he can hit the ground running when summer camps begin in June.

“It’s all about the kids,” DeCann said. “That’s just the way he is. He’s a very genuine person. He’s already in our building and likes to develop leadership in our kids. He’s a good guy.”

Palczewski did not immediately return a voicemail.

Palczewski replaces and was an assistant coach for Josh Downey, who led the Packers for two seasons to a 44-10 record. The Packers ended the 2015-16 season with a Class A state  championship appearance. This past season, the Packers were 21-6 and took fifth place at the state tournament.

In an email Downey wrote to school administration in mid-March, he asked that his resignation be immediately accepted. In that email from Downey to the West Fargo School Board in late March, Downey asked he be released from his contract “effective immediately” due to “extenuating circumstances.”

Colton Pool

Pool is a reporter for The West Fargo Pioneer covering city sports and community news. He was the sports editor for The Dickinson Press covering Dickinson State athletics, high school athletics and Southwest Speedway. He graduated from North Dakota State with a degree in journalism and a minor in English. You can reach him by phone at 701-451-5715 or tweet him @CPoolReporter. 

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