Martens '88 set to become executive director of MSHSL

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December 7, 2017

A Saint John’s University graduate is slated to become the next executive director of the Minnesota State High School League.

Erich Martens '88 will become the seventh executive director in the 101-year history of the MSHSL, which is a voluntary, nonprofit association of public and private schools with a history of service to Minnesota's high school youth since 1916.

Martens, currently principal at Sauk Rapids-Rice (Minnesota) High School, replaces Dave Stead, the longest serving executive director in MSHSL history. Coincidentally, Stead was principal of New Ulm High School when Martens graduated from the school in 1984.

An education and mathematics double major who also played football at SJU, Martens has served as principal at Sauk Rapids-Rice since 2004. He previously served as principal at Sauk Centre (Minnesota) High School from 1999-2004. 

Today, nearly 500 schools are members of the MSHSL. Most - about 435 - are actual high schools. The remainder are either special schools or home schools. These member schools provide opportunities for athletics and fine arts competition for more than 200,000 high school students statewide each year.

“The Minnesota State High School League is a very respected organization and provides outstanding opportunities for students in academics, arts and athletics,” Martens said in a release from the MSHSL. “I am thrilled to move into the executive director role and support students, coaches, directors and administrators as they continue to pursue their passions and learn through their participation.”

The MSHSL exists to provide competitive, equitable and uniform opportunities for high school students to learn valuable lessons through participation in athletics and fine arts. The MSHSL also provides support for member schools with programs that address sportsmanship, chemical health and scholarship recognition. The MSHSL also oversees more than 4,500 registered contest officials and judges, and provides educational programs for coaches.