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Outgoing AD DeCann leaves behind large shoes to fill at West Fargo

The Mayville State University alumnus will assume the role of athletic director at his alma mater beginning in July

Jay DeCann.jpg
Jay DeCann
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WEST FARGO — Jay DeCann was hired as the activities director for West Fargo High School in 2015.

Now, seven years later, DeCann is leaving the position for a new opportunity at his alma mater up north.

Mayville State University announced Tuesday the hiring of DeCann, who graduated from the school in 1991, as its new athletic director.

DeCann graduated from Mayville State with a bachelor's degree in education, majoring in health and physical education and minoring in education. He went on to earn two master's degrees in education and teaching from Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota.

DeCann told The Forum he's recently been involved with fundraising for the Comets football program, and was enticed to apply for the position when it opened up.

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"I played football at Mayville State and coached football for a year at Mayville State," DeCann said. "And I've been very involved for the last three or four years with the creation of a booster club for the football program. I've been very active in fundraising for that group and we've been very successful.

"When the position opened up, it was something I was very interested in. Being able to go back and give back to the institution that gave to you and provided a phenomenal education for myself and an opportunity to play football ... It's a great school and a great community. I'm very excited to go to work with some outstanding coaches. It's a new chapter for me and I'm very excited about it."

Mayville State offers six varsity sports at the NAIA level, competing in the North Star Athletic Association.

Sports offered include men's baseball, basketball and football, and women's basketball, softball and volleyball.

DeCann said one of his main goals off the bat is to bring a softball complex to campus. Currently, the Comets softball team plays its home games at Jerome Berg Field, the on-campus football stadium.

"I don't necessarily know the whole specifics of what's going on," he said. "I'm learning it already and I would love to get softball on campus. It's something I've accomplished here at West Fargo High, and I'd love to get a softball field or facility on campus at Mayville State. I think that's probably one of the most important things for me right now just kind of brainstorming with that."

The next focus, DeCann said, will be relationship building with Mayville State coaching staffs, student-athletes and the community.

"And then, it's about building partnerships with some corporate sponsors and building relationships with our coaches," he said.

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Mayville State president Dr. Brian Van Horn stated in a news release that the school is excited to bring DeCann back to his former stomping grounds.

"We are very happy for the opportunity to bring Jay DeCann 'home' to Mayville State as our athletic director," Van Horn said. "The combination of passion and experience that Mr. DeCann brings will be a great catalyst as we work to move Comet Nation forward."

Prior to his current role at West Fargo, DeCann served as the activities director for Little Falls Community Schools in Little Falls, Minnesota. He brings experience as a middle school administrator, high school health and physical education teacher, and a coach at both the high school and college levels.

Under DeCann's watch, the Packers won nine team state championships in baseball, football, softball, boys basketball, boys soccer and play. West Fargo also produced 23 individual champions in boys and girls swimming and wrestling over DeCann's tenure.

DeCann took the reins at West Fargo in July 2015 upon the retirement of longtime activities director Curt Jones.

While DeCann is excited for a new endeavor, he added that it's a bittersweet feeling to leave a school district and community that's meant so much to himself and his career.

"It's a special place ... A very special place," DeCann said. "The coaches are amazing, our student-athletes have been incredible, and our parents have just been top notch to work with. We have a booster group here called the 'Packer Backers,' and what they do for our programs and our students here at West Fargo High is unbelievable.

"I've been very fortunate that I've had the opportunity to be a part of it for seven years."

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DeCann will assume his role as athletic director at Mayville State on July 1.

Ryan Spitza joined The Forum in December 2021 as a sports reporter. He grew up in Marquette, Mich., a city of 20,000 on the southern shore of Lake Superior. He majored in multimedia journalism and minored in public relations at Northern Michigan University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in May 2019. While attending college, Spitza gained real-world experience covering high school and college athletics for both The Mining Journal and The North Wind.

Spitza can be reached at 701-451-5613 or rspitza@forumcomm.com. Follow him on Twitter @ryspitza.
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