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Vrieze becomes new Middle Border Conference commissioner

Pete Vrieze (left) is shown as part of a WIAA state football championship game officiating crew.

Pete Vrieze has been hired as the new commissioner for the Middle Border Conference.

Vrieze is a well-known football and basketball official in the area. He is a chiropractor in New Richmond, sharing the Family Chiropractic office on Somerset Road with former New Richmond High School standout athlete Dan Olien.

Vrieze takes over the MBC commissioner position from Mike Couch, who held the post for less than a year.

Vrieze has been on the job a few weeks. He has been busily catching up on scheduling and officiating assignments that needed to be brought up to date. He worked closely with Dan Hoffman, former MBC commissioner to learn all the processes included in the role. Hoffman was commissioner from 2003-08.

Vrieze said the position is mostly an administrative role.

"That part is much more complicated than I anticipated," Vrieze said.

He explained that there is such a demand for gym time, that many schools are scheduling events three to four years in advance.

Assigning officials for the conference is an ideal fit for Vrieze. He's been an official in the area for 12 years and he's president of the Pierce-St. Croix officials association.

A challenge for Vrieze is getting the best officials available for each contest, while finding work for young officials so they can advance up the ranks.

"We had a shortage of officials," Vrieze said. "The biggest problem is how to get started in officiating."

The Pierce-St. Croix association recently held a clinic for 18 less experienced basketball officials. Each pre-season they hold a sport specific meeting for officials. Vrieze said he'd like to see these meeting taken a step further. He'd like football officials to meet on a football field so they can walk through situations and he'd like similar opportunities for officials in every sport.

His responsibilities will include items like organizing all-conference votes and arrange the annual MBC scholar-athlete dinner.

Vrieze said his chiropractic business allows some flexibility in his schedule to take on these responsibilities. He said he will cut back some of his officiating assignments, but will try to maintain his college officiating schedule.

Vrieze has been scheduled specifically as the conference commissioner position. The MBC athletic directors have voted to discontinue the conference statistician position that held been held for several years by Baldwin-Woodville teacher and coach Jim Rumpel. Somerset athletic director Brad Nemec, spoke on behalf of the conference athletic directors. He said a number of coaches in the conference did not want statistics made public, making it impossible for anyone in this position to do a complete job, so the position was not filled.