Farewell to a Coaching Legend: Reflecting on the Legacy of Howie Kangas

…By Judah Olanisebee for TDPel Media. Remembering Howie Kangas: A Remarkable Coach and Mentor


Howie Kangas, a retired coach from Wadena-Deer Creek Public Schools, passed away on June 8, 2023, leaving behind a legacy as an exceptional coach, teammate, and leader.

Sharing the News and School Tribute

Howie Kangas Obituary Announcement

The official Facebook page of Wadena-Deer Creek Public Schools was the first to share the Howie Kangas obituary on Thursday, June 8, 2023, revealing the sad news of his passing.

Reports confirmed that Howie, a resident of Perham, Minnesota, passed away the previous night, leaving behind a profound impact on the lives of many young athletes.

The public announcement of Howie Kangas’ passing through social media platforms highlights the importance of his contributions and the deep connection he had with the school community.


It serves as a tribute to his dedication and impact on students and athletes throughout his career.

Howie Kangas’ Journey and Contributions

Remembering Howie Kangas’ Coaching Career

Superintendent Lee Westrum of Wadena-Deer Creek Public Schools posted on the school’s official Facebook page, sharing the Howie Kangas obituary and conveying the news of his passing.

Westrum acknowledged Howie’s invaluable role within the Wolverine family, as he joined the school in 2012 as a physical education teacher and Head Football coach.

Howie had been teaching part-time physical and adaptive physical education for 5th and 6th graders at the Middle/High School.

Superintendent Lee Westrum’s acknowledgment of Howie Kangas’ contributions highlights the impact he had on both the educational and athletic aspects of Wadena-Deer Creek Public Schools.

Howie’s dedication and commitment to his students and athletes are evident through his long-standing involvement with the school.


Cause of Death and Legacy

Reflecting on Howie Kangas’ Impact

The specific details regarding the cause of Howie Kangas’ death have not been publicly disclosed.

However, his family has confirmed the sad news.

Fred Sailer, the former Activities Director of Perham, expressed the profound influence Howie had on countless young men and their personal growth.

The decision to keep the cause of Howie Kangas’ death private respects the privacy of his family while allowing the focus to remain on celebrating his life and accomplishments.

The testimonials from his colleagues and former students attest to the positive and lasting impact he had on the lives of those he worked with.

Coaching Career and Achievements


Howie Kangas’ Successful Coaching Journey

Howie Kangas began his head coaching role for the Wolverines in June 2012, inheriting a struggling team with a mere 17 players from the previous season.

Through his tireless efforts and unwavering vision, he guided the team toward a brighter future.

With a record of 16-48 over seven seasons, Howie’s patience and commitment to his players remained steadfast.

In 2018, he made the difficult decision to step down as head coach.

Howie Kangas’ coaching journey exemplifies his resilience, dedication, and ability to foster growth within his teams.

His decision to step down demonstrates his selflessness and desire to create opportunities for new leadership to continue building upon the foundation he established.

Fond Farewells and Recognitions


Paying Tribute to Howie Kangas

The passing of Howie Kangas has deeply impacted those who had the privilege of knowing him.

Perham Public Schools and Independent School District 549 extended their sincerest condolences to his family and friends.

Notably, Howie received well-deserved recognition when he was inducted into the Perham Hall of Fame in 2019 and later the Frazee Hall of Fame in 2022.

Howie Kangas’ induction into the Hall of Fame is a testament to his remarkable achievements and the lasting impact he had on his students and the Perham community.

The heartfelt condolences from the school district demonstrate the profound loss felt by those who cherished Howie’s presence.


Howie Kangas will be remembered as an extraordinary coach and mentor who left an indelible mark on the lives of countless students and athletes.


His dedication to physical education and coaching football, basketball, and softball inspired his students to excel both on and off the field.

The legacy he leaves behind serves as a testament to his unwavering commitment to the growth and development of young individuals.

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