The rumors that began to circulate throughout Devils Lake late last week were confirmed on Monday when Devils Lake High School volleyball coach Julie Faul acknowledged she is stepping down after three years as coach of the Firebirds.
“It’s just the next professional step for me,” said Faul who recently accepted a teaching position at Park Christian School in Moorhead, Minn. She is also expecting to coach volleyball and basketball at the school. Those assignments are still to be determined as the school is in the middle of selecting a new athletics director.
She said the opportunity to be closer to her family and to begin pursuit of her masters degree were two of the reasons for her decision to resign.
Faul, a graduate of Jamestown College, is completing her fifth year at Devils Lake and her third as coach. She guided the Firebirds into the state volleyball tournament in her first season. It was Devils Lake’s first trip to the tournament in more than a decade.
Devils Lake was unable to return in either of what will be Faul’s final two seasons as coach.
“You have to play the cards you are dealt,” Faul said on Monday moments after informing her team of her decision to step down. “I think we saw a lot of progress in the program. I had a blast and the girls had a blast.”
Faul has also helped establish Devils Lake as one of the top softball programs in the state as an assistant to head coach Kayla Frappier. They coached the Firebirds to a third-place finish at the state tournament last season and Devils Lake is looking to finish high at the Eastern Dakota Conference tournament which gets under way on Thursday in West Fargo.
“We struggled early this season,” Faul said of the Firebirds, “but, we are right in the pack at the right time ... I think we are state bound.”
Faul indicated she will move from Devils Lake in early July. She said she has recently finalized the 2012 schedule for the Firebirds and will oversee the summer conditioning program until a new coach is hired at the school.
“This is a heck of a loss for our school,” said Devils Lake superintendent Steve Swiontek. “(Faul) was enthusiastic about what she was doing and I believe she had the program heading in the right direction.”
“The hardest part is that I really loved the people that I worked with,” Faul said of her decision to resign. “It has been an amazing first career experience, but it’s time to move on ... but it is bittersweet.”