WEST FARGO — Jay DeCann was hired as West Fargo High School’s activities director in 2015.
Now, seven years later, DeCann is leaving the job for a new opportunity at his alma mater up north.
Mayville State University on Tuesday announced the hiring of DeCann, who graduated from the school in 1991, as its new athletic director.
DeCann graduated from Mayville State with a Bachelor of Education, majoring in Health and Physical Education and minoring in Education. He went on to earn two master’s degrees in education and teaching from Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota.
DeCann told the Forum that he recently helped raise money for the Comets football program and was encouraged to apply for the job when it opened.
“I played football at Mayville State and coached football for a year at Mayville State,” DeCann said. “And I’ve been very involved over the last three or four years in setting up a booster club for the football program. I’ve been very active in fundraising for that group and we’ve had a lot of success.
“When the position opened up it was something I was very interested in. Being able to go back and give back to the institution that gave you and provided me with a phenomenal education and opportunity to play football. .. It’s a great school and a great community. I’m very excited to go and work with exceptional coaches. It’s a new chapter for me and I’m very excited about it.
Mayville State offers six varsity sports at the NAIA level, competing in the North Star Athletic Association.
Sports offered include men’s baseball, basketball and soccer, and women’s basketball, softball and volleyball.
DeCann said one of his main goals was to bring a softball complex to campus. Currently, the Comets softball team plays its home games at Jerome Berg Field, the on-campus football stadium.
“I don’t necessarily know all the details of what’s going on,” he said. “I’m already learning it and would love to have softball on campus. It’s something I accomplished here at West Fargo High, and I would love to have a softball field or facility on campus in Mayville. State. I think that’s probably one of the biggest things for me right now, just kind of brainstorming with it.”
The next focus, DeCann said, will be building relationships with Mayville State’s coaching staff, student-athletes and the community.
“And then it’s about partnering with corporate sponsors and building relationships with our coaches,” he said.
Mayville State President Dr. Brian Van Horn said in a press release that the school was thrilled to bring DeCann back to his old stomping ground.
“We are very excited to have the opportunity to bring Jay DeCann ‘home’ to Mayville State as athletic director,” Van Horn said. “The combination of passion and experience Mr. DeCann brings will be a great catalyst as we work to move Comet Nation forward.”
Prior to his current role at West Fargo, DeCann served as Operations Manager for Little Falls Community Schools in Little Falls, Minnesota. He brings his experience as a middle school administrator, high school physical education and health teacher, and high school and college coach.
Under DeCann’s leadership, the Packers have won nine state team championships in baseball, soccer, softball, men’s basketball, men’s soccer and gaming. West Fargo has also produced 23 individual champions in boys and girls. girls in swimming and wrestling during DeCann’s tenure.
DeCann took over the reins of West Fargo in July 2015 following the retirement of longtime operations director Curt Jones.
While DeCann is excited about a new venture, he added that it’s a bittersweet feeling to leave a school district and community that mean so much to him and his career.
“It’s a special place… A very special place,” DeCann said. “The coaches are amazing, our student-athletes have been amazing and our parents have been great to work with. We have a booster group here called the ‘Packer Backers’ and what they do for our programs and our students here at West Fargo High is amazing.
“I was very lucky to have the opportunity to be part of it for seven years.”
DeCann will assume his athletic director role at Mayville State on July 1.