Mandan News

After 35 years, coach Pins is moving on

Pat Pins

Pat Pins

After 35 years of helping Mandan High School students find their voice, MHS Speech Head Coach Pat Pins has decided to retire from his position.

Pins, who retired as a teacher at MHS last year, made the decision to stay on as the speech team head coach. After the 2012-13 season, Pins felt the time was right to step down.

“After retiring from teaching last year, it seemed like the time was right to step away from the speech podium,” he says.

Pins was first hired in 1978 by then Superinten-dent Archie Shaw to build a competitive speech program at the high school from the ground up.

Thirty-five years later, Mandan’s speech team, under Pins’ leadership, has filled up three trophy cases with numerous sweepstakes trophies by winning top honors at invitational, regional and state tournaments over the years.

The MHS Speech Team has also won 30 west region championships, four second place finishes and one third place finish. All told, Mandan has never placed below third since 1978.

Pins also helped to bring the National Forensic League national qualifying tournament into Mandan, which is held at the Seven Seas annually. As a team member of the NFL, several Mandan students have qualified to compete nationally against other speech students, where they have traveled to Atlanta, Portland, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Kansas City and several other cities to compete on a national level.

Many who have competed at the National NFL Tournament have gone on to great success with collegiate speech and drama programs across the nation, Pins says.

Most recently, MHS 2013 graduate Hannah Fishbeck just received a full ride to Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., after competing in this year’s national speech tournament, and will move on this fall to compete on Concordia’s Cobber Speech Team.

Pins says before he agreed to take on the job in 1978, he asked the district for not only financial, but moral, support. “With that guarantee, I got after it. The program has grown into not only one of the top forensic programs in North Dakota, but also in the nation,” he says.

The school district will now begin searching for someone to find the new head coach position of the successful speech program.

Although Pins has stepped down as the speech head coach in Mandan, he isn’t quite done helping students learn how to express themselves. He will be moving north to assist another high school speech program in Washburn, as an assistant coach.

For Pins, transferring to a Class B school is a matter of coming back full circle.

“I started coaching at a small Class B school in South Dakota, and now I can finish my career at a B school in North Dakota,” he says. “I still have a desire to coach, just not head coach.”

“It has been a great opportunity working with kids in Mandan, and I thank God for this experience,” Pins says.

-Brian L. Gray