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Former MSHSL executive director Freng passes away

From 1971 to 1984, he was the executive director of the Minnesota State High School League, guiding the organization through groundbreaking milestones such as the first two class state tournament, opportunities for female athletes and the creation of the Prep Bowl.

On May 31, Murrae Freng passed away at the age of 89.

In Freng's first year in 1971, boys basketball was the first state tournament to switch from a one class event to two classes. There would also be a one game playoff following Championship Saturday on Monday night from 1971 to 1975. The success of basketball would pave the way for many other sports to move to multi class events.

Three years later in 1974, Freng would also be behind moving the boys basketball tournament and hockey in 1976 from Williams Arena and Met Center to the St. Paul Civic Center where they would have long runs. Also that year, the first state boys soccer tournament would take place. The girls would start their tournament in 1980.

Another groundbreaking milestone would take place in 1976, four years after the passage of Title IX when the state girls basketball tournament debuted at Met Center. It would also open the door for more opportunities for female athletes with the introduction of state tournaments in volleyball and softball.

One of the last major milestones under Freng's reign before he retired in 1984 was bringing all five (now seven) state football championship games to the then newly built Metrodome in 1982. In the early days of state tournament play, the five championship game would be played at several sites throughout Minnesota, usually on a chilly night. Never again would players, coaches and fans suffer through chilly weather as they would play in the Prep Bowl.

Dave Stead, in his 25th year as the current MSHSL Executive Director gave his reaction to Freng's impact on the organization.

"Murrae was fully invested in fine arts programs and he set the standard for leadership, for school administrations in athletic programs."

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