Gerzin new Ely football coach

Former Wolves standout, 2014 grad, takes job on an interim basis

by Tom Coombe
It wasn’t all that long ago, that Louie Gerzin was wearing an Ely football uniform and chewing up yards as an all-area running back and leading the Timberwolves to a pair of state tournament appearances.
Gerzin will be back on the gridiron this fall, again in Ely red and white, but in an entirely different role.
The 2014 Ely graduate has been named interim head coach of the high school football program for the 2021 sesason.
Gerzin, who was formally hired by the Ely School Board earlier this month, takes over for Cory Lassi, who resigned after three seasons as head coach at the conclusion of the 2020 season.
Gerzin’s return to the Ely football program is, in many ways, out of the blue.
The position remained open over the summer after an initial posting led to a job offer, and a candidate withdrawing from consideration.
With practices approaching in mid-Augutst, Gerzin agreed to take the job for one year, on an interim basis. Yet he’s excited about the sudden opportunity.
“I’m looking forward to it,” said Gerzin. “I’ve kind of just had it thrown up on me. But I’m excited to take over, we have a good supporting staff and I think we’re going to have a good year.”
Ely football fans likely remember Gerzin for his exploits in the fall of 2012 and 2013, when he helped lead the Wolves to consecutive berths in the state 9-man tournament.
In 2013, Gerzin racked up nearly 2,000 yards rushing and was named conference back of the year while Ely went 12-1, winning a section title and reaching the state semifinals at the Metrodome before bowing out to Underwood.
“Going to state and playing in the Metrodome was the epitome of my career,” said Gerzin. “But I remember some of those really good home games with big crowds and the Homecoming games. It was really fun.”
A multisport standout at the high school, Gerzin was a top defenseman for the hockey team and an all-state baseball player who was part of two Ely state tournament teams.
Gerzin played baseball at the collegiate level, both at Vermilion Community College and at NCAA Division II Minnesota-Crookston, where he was a team captain.
Gerzin graduated from Crookston with a degree in exercise science and this year completed a master’s degree in athletic training at North Dakota State University. While he searches for a job in his field, Gerzin has returned to Ely.
“I’ve moved back to town, started working and I’m looking for an athletic training job,” said Gerzin. “Hopefully something opens up.”
In the meantime, Gerzin is busy preparing for the high school football season, which starts with practices on Aug. 16, and a Sept. 3 season-opener with Carlton-Wrenshall under the lights at Ely School Stadium.
“We want to bring a tempo and an attitude and we’re going to be ready to play every week,” said Gerzin.
Gerzin takes over a team that went 3-3 in a COVID-19 shortened 2020 season.
Many key players return, but the Wolves, like many other 9-man programs in the region and state, can be hit hard by injuries, eligibility or other participation-related issues.
It’s something that Gerzin says the Wolves will handle.
“We have to play with what we have and if it means we have to train players to play different positions we will show them and train them in how to do that,” said Gerzin.
Gerzin will be aided by Lassi’s former assistants, including Jim Wittrup and Corey Musel, and they’re preparing the Wolves for the fall campaign.
It may be too early to determine just how the Wolves will line up this fall, and the first weeks of practice will guide the new coach and his staff.
“I’m going to have to talk with my assistant coaches and we’re going to have to take a look at our personnel and make some decisions as we go,” said Gerzin