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Prep football: Taking over Proctor program a “dream” come true for Matt Krivinchuk

The Rails’ new coach played for Superior and was an assistant for the Spartans as well as at Vermilion Community College and St. Scholastica.

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Former Superior defensive coordinator Matt Krivinchuk explains the field goal block scheme early in the 2019 season at the NBC Spartan Sports Complex in Superior. Krivinchuk was recently named Proctor's head coach.
Jed Carlson / File / Superior Telegram
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PROCTOR — With just more than three months until the start of fall practice, Proctor has selected its new football coach.

The Proctor School Board approved the hire of former Superior defensive coordinator Matt Krivinchuk to lead the program when it returns in the fall.

The 2021 season ended after three games — all losses — and mired in allegations of abuse that suspended the Rails’ season. Senior Alec Baney was eventually charged with third-degree criminal sexual conduct after a lengthy police investigation. A delinquency petition alleged Baney assaulted a 15-year-old teammate while he was being held down by others.

A judge placed Alec Baney on pretrial supervision and ordered evaluations to determine if he should be tried as an adult.

Rumors of the alleged assault led to a firestorm of controversy within the Proctor community and online. Former head coach Derek Parendo resigned both his coaching and teaching positions in the district as a result of the incident.

Krivinchuk said he didn’t have any reservations about taking over the Proctor program after the Rails’ disastrous 2021 season.

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“It’s an opportunity to achieve a lifelong dream of being a high school head coach,” Krivinchuk said. “The opportunities here in the Northland, they don’t open all the time. Jobs are hard to find up here.”

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Former Superior assistant coach Matt Krivinchuk instructs the defense during practice Monday, Aug. 16, 2021, in Superior. Krivinchuk was hired to take over the Proctor football program when it returns to the field in August.
Jed Carlson / File / Superior Telegram

Krivinchuk served as an assistant coach in Superior from 2000-09 and worked as an assistant at Vermilion Community College and St. Scholastica before returning to the Spartans as their defensive coordinator in 2019.

Krivinchuk said he is excited to work in a “blue collar community” like Proctor.

“It’s a hard-working community,” he said. “In my semi-pro experience, some of the best players and nicest guys on our team were from Proctor. Seeing that and being able to work with those kids and those people makes things easier. You know that you’re not going to have to worry too much about working hard.”

While the 2021 season garnered the headlines, the Rails have struggled over the last few years. Proctor won the Section 7AAA crown in 2017, but in the four seasons since has only won seven games.

“They were close not that long ago,” Krivinchuk said. “It’s part of the natural ebb and flow of a small town community. You have your up years, you have your lean years. Numbers in a small town can change.”

Proctor High School principal Tim Rohweder said the district was impressed by Krivinchuk throughout the hiring process.

“Everything that he did just demonstrated to us that he has that kid-first mentality,” Rohweder said. “One of the things he talked about was creating a leadership program that happens to play football and that’s what we’re looking for in our program. We want a coach that’s transformational for our students and to provide a great experience for them.”

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Krivinchuk works as a mentor at Superior Middle School and said he’s most excited about helping kids and bring them more opportunities and “share his passion” for football.

“I love the game of football and football has taught me more than just X's and O's. It’s taught me about life and different life skills and it’s brought me a ton of connections — life-long connections — with people who have guided me in the right way … They’ve been great relationships that taught me lots of different leadership avenues that I look forward to bring to the kids and teaching them.”

Krvinchuk is starting to put together his coaching staff for the fall season. Members of the 2021 Rails staff can reapply to be an assistant next season, but Krivinchuk said they are still “evaluating everything.”

“We’re going to hire the best possible staff,” he said. “There’ll be an extensive interview process. There may be somebody who was there or there may be a brand new staff. I don’t know how it’s all going to shake out yet, but we’re going to be open-minded and give everyone a fair opportunity.”

Fall practice in Minnesota begins Aug. 15.

More from Jamey Malcomb

Jamey Malcomb has been high school sports reporter for the Duluth News Tribune since October 2021. He spent the previous six years covering news and sports for the Lake County News-Chronicle in Two Harbors and the Cloquet Pine Journal. He graduated from the George Washington University in 1999 with a bachelor's degree in history and literature and also holds a master's degree in secondary English education from George Mason University.
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