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St. Croix Central baseball field dedicated in Mike Fern's memory

St. Croix Central Athletic Director Jeremy Kerg (right) makes the presentation that names the Panther baseball field in Mike Fern’s memory. To Kern’s right is Fern’s family, his wife Jody and his sons Nate, Jeff and Jared.

Mike Fern would have bristled at the thought of people making a fuss over him.

But more than 100 of his friends and family members showed up last Thursday when the St. Croix Central High School baseball field was forever named “Mike Fern Field” before the Panthers’ game against Mondovi. Fern served as the Panthers’ baseball and basketball coach for more than a decade. He passed away in August 2013, following a 15-year battle against brain cancer.

Jody Fern, Mike’s widow, and their three sons: Nate, Jeff and Jared, were in attendance for the dedication. Jody threw out the first pitch before the varsity baseball game.

The St. Croix Central athletic department recently adopted a vision statement stressing respect through character, commitment and competitiveness. Those traits were emblematic of Fern’s work with his athletes and the teams that played under him.

St. Croix Central Athletic Director Jeremy Kerg spoke on behalf of the school district in making the presentation. Kerg, who has served as a baseball umpire for a number of years, worked numerous Central games while Fern was coaching.

“He was a class act and a great coach,” Fern said.

Kerg’s speech was based mainly around an email he received from St. Croix Central school board member John Hueg. Hueg sent Kerg a list of “Ten Ways to be an Influence,” which Fern had given to his Panther basketball team for the 2005-06 season.

Jeff Fern spoke for the Fern family. He spoke of how the family was touched by the way the community rallied around his father.

“He wanted the community to know they’re thankful of their support,” Kerg said.

A temporary sign proclaiming “Mike Fern Field” was put in place for this game. A larger permanent sign will be installed over the summer.

Dave Newman
Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.
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