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Augie Bringing New Hockey Coach to Sioux Falls on Private Jet

Augustana University just hired University of Minnesota assistant coach Garrett Raboin to head the hockey program the Sioux Falls school plans to launch next year.

“This is a great day for Augustana University and an incredibly important step in the launch of Viking Hockey,” said Augustana President Stephanie Herseth Sandlin. “Garrett Raboin brings a passion for the game and genuine enthusiasm for the broader vision that will be energizing for all of us as we build toward our first year of competition in 2023. We are thrilled to welcome Garrett, Emily and their children to Augustana and the Sioux Falls community.”

“We started this process looking for someone who can build a nationally competitive men’s hockey program that competes at Division I and we sure found him,” Josh Morton Augustana Director of Athletics said. “Garrett is a proven winner, excellent recruiter and will help us build community excitement for Augustana hockey. He is a great addition and will add to the excellence of Augustana athletics [Augustana University, press release, 2022.04.18].

To make sure Raboin makes today’s 2 p.m. press conference at Augie, the school is flying Raboin in from the Twin Cities, apparently on a private jet:

Josh J Morton, Augustana University athletics director, screen cap of video tweet, 2022.04.19.
“All right, next stop, Twin Cites—let’s go get our hockey coach.” Josh J Morton, Augustana University athletics director, screen cap of video tweet, 2022.04.19, 06:12 CDT.

Hey, new Augie profs: did you all get flown to Sioux Falls on a private jet for the press conferences announcing your new assignments?

I am curious which marketing pro on the third floor thought the school would communicate the right message  about the school’s Lutheran values of faith, ethics, learning, and service by showing its A.D. hopping on a private jet to Minneapolis. But I suppose a target market willing to pay twice as much for a college degree as they’d pay a public university doesn’t mind their school spending twice as much to ferry a coach across the prairie in a private jet as it would simply buying him a plane ticket to fly a half-hour with the rest of us.

What’s next: an Augie limo and driver for Raboin for his trips to Hy-Vee?


  1. O 2022-04-19 10:58

    I’m not sure I can come back to reading this blog if you continue to blaspheme sports. SD has elevated sport above college professor (or administrator) in pay; it has elevated sport above gender identity issues; get with the program. Taxpayer funding is used to build sports facilities for billionaire owners; anti-trust laws are set aside for leagues; the value of sports cannot be overemphasized.

  2. grudznick 2022-04-19 11:10

    We should be happy for the young man and stop being such jealous nellies. You don’t raise teacher pay by trying to drag down the jockettes.

    Besides, I am sure the professors probably do get much the same treatment without the annoyance of a press conference.

  3. Mark Peterson 2022-04-19 11:40

    Do you know if Augie is paying for this or is an alumni allowing the use of their private jet. Get out all of the story please. I am not a Augie fan but would appreciate the full truth.

  4. Anthony Renli 2022-04-19 11:59

    This is a case where I understand your point, but the realities (and dollars) of Division 1 athletics being what they are, it is what it is.
    Should academics take priority above all at a school? Of course.
    Will they? Not on planet earth.
    The Hockey Program is going to more than pay for itself and bring money into the school, so the amount of money being spent falls into the category of “The Cost of Doing Business”
    TV rights alone can bring in millions of dollars.
    If you can show me a new professor who can bring millions of dollars of grant money every year to the school (that is written such that the money in excess they spend can be spent elsewhere in the school), then yes, they’re probably going to get a plane ride.

    Is the plane ride reasonable? Depends on a HUGE number of factors.
    Was this a case where the new Coach had a half day or less to have be down here because he still has his current contract?
    Did Augie charter the plane? Was this a flight that was only happening because of the coach or did he hop a flight that was happening anyway? Was this a booster who offered to fly the coach for only the cost of fuel (or for free)?

  5. Richard Schriever 2022-04-19 12:01

    I learned from experience – all college degrees are not of the same value – even those with the same disciplinary name tag. When I went off to grad school with my Augie degree, I found that I had already had most of the first two years’ worth of learning in that program as part of my undergrad degree requirements at the expensive Lutheran school. My doctoral classmates who had attended public Universities, had missed those two years of classes somehow – same undergrad major(s). This included those from foreign universities as well as those from the US. Maybe twice the price = twice the value?

  6. Richard Schriever 2022-04-19 12:05

    O – FWIW – zero tax-payer dollars are being used to fund any Augie athletic programs or facilities – zero. Unless of course, you wish to include the tax-exempt status of the University. But, AIR, that only pertains to Federal Income tax?? I may be wrong @ SD property taxes.

  7. Richard Schriever 2022-04-19 12:08

    Anthony, I would guess that this “…..a booster who offered to fly the coach…..” Is likely the case. After all the new hickey facility is being funded entirely by boosters/alumni. One donor alone gave over $5MM. One short hop plane ride to such a booster – pocket change.

  8. Marco 2022-04-19 12:08

    Cory, while college athletics, particularly at the D1 level, are more and more about branding and big business, I doubt Augie spent a dime to charter the jet. If Augie, its alumni, and benefactors want a big time hockey program, then they should go for it. We all recognize it’s an amenity which can enhance visibility and prestige for the school and not the main focus of education, but it’s hardly contrary to Augustana’s mission.

    Think of it like the “Big Red” Syndrome on ice.

    Even though the faculty doesn’t enjoy the same perks – despite grudznick’s statement – some enjoy tenure.😊

  9. Mark Anderson 2022-04-19 12:10

    Just the words “Viking Hockey”, send a tingle down your spine don’t they?

  10. jerry 2022-04-19 12:31

    Dumb folks. Clearly don’t understand the basics of flying a plane. First step, take the plane out of the dang hangar, then go get a hockey coach. It’s clear that there will be no flagrant fouls nor will there be dirty trash talk with this new venue. Keep it clean boys. Augie got some serious cash laying about.

  11. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-04-19 13:52

    Anthony, I think you know me well enough to understand that I don’t surrender easily to financial realities based on misplaced values.

    Do we have studies that say extravagant coaching salaries and luxuries like private jet rides, not to mention the giant arena and support staff and all the expenses that go into maintaining sport for public entertainment actually pay for themselves?

  12. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-04-19 13:57

    You know, Mark and Marco, I’m not sure Augustana gets to escape The bad optics of extravagance by pawning them off on Rich alumni or donors. Augustana’s AD put this video up in Augustana’s name. We see an Augustana official getting ready to go fly another Augustana employee, new hire, in a private jet. whoever is paying for it, Augustana thinks this kind of extravagance is A-OK. Either Augustana is footing the bill for this extravagance itself, in which case Augustana is diverting institutional funds for a selfish individualistic luxury, or some outside party is dedicating resources to this lavish perk, in which case that outside party is wasting resources that could’ve been better spent supporting professor salaries or buying books for students or lowering the cost of tuition or any number of things that actually directly support the immediate mission of the University.

    This extravagance demonstrates values and priorities that do not square with a focus on liberal education. Coach, fly coach.

  13. Donald Pay 2022-04-19 14:54

    I’m fine with hockey. Not sure about Division 1, but you might as well swing for the fences (wrong sport, but good cliche). Augiie’s students are mostly from the Midwest and many from hockey areas of ND and MN. It’s a way to appeal to more students in ND, MN, WI and Canada, and not just hockey jocks. To build a Division 1 program from scratch you have to have someone who is going to have instant credibility. You have to pay for that, and these kinds of perqs are part of the deal. Not a fan of that aspect of Division 1 sports, but if he has success, Augie and Sioux Falls will benefit.

  14. Mark Anderson 2022-04-19 15:20

    I know Cory, but I watched nearly every Coyote women’s basketball game this year. My Saturdays during college football season are toast. Watching Nadal play tennis does it for me. I’m a junkie and I need help.

  15. Arlo Blundt 2022-04-19 15:34 is a big step up and presents Augie with an immediate recruiting problem but like several NCHC schools they can find talent in Alberta and British Columbia as well as suburban Minneapolis. The challenge will be: Will Sioux Falls support a losing program for the 5 or more years it takes to build a competitive team???

  16. MD 2022-04-19 17:47

    Augie grad here
    It appears that the plane he flew on is linked to the location of Maguire Iron in Sioux Falls. The plane could have been rented or it could have been a donor flight. Regardless the optics are poor – don’t publicize the private jet when you likely have students struggling.

    Augustana is an athletics heavy school, that is well known. The school is very small for being a Division II and now Division I-ish School. That is something you need to accept before going there because you can’t get around it. Fortunately there is a good donor base for athletics programs so it is likely of significant benefit.

    Since moving to ND and going to UND hockey, I have thought Augustana is ripe for adding hockey, particularly after hiring Josh Morton. This program will significantly raise the profile of the school bringing Division I sports to Sioux Falls. I hope they use the Denny Sanford Premier Center for big games.
    Overall, aside from the switch to Augustana University, I have been very happy with the job that Stephanie Herseth Sandlin has done on campus. Given the challenges of running a private school and the dynamics of the campus and community, she has knocked it out of the park.

    Sanford Health’s influence will help ensure that Augustana goes to the NCHC.

  17. MD 2022-04-19 17:53

    Arlo, you’re right. The crazy part about hockey is that the recruiting bench is deep and starts early. UND is recruiting early high schoolers, and in some circumstances guiding their decision making to bring them up (asking them to do years in junior teams like the Stampede for instance or suggesting they go to Shattuck St Mary’s).

    The good part is the transfer portal will help build the roster that may be capable of winning sooner. That said, the experience of St Thomas in their first year of D1 hockey is likely to be the course in the short term (even after recruiting an old NHL drafted UND goalie)

  18. leslie 2022-04-19 18:41

    While the introduction of more modern aircraft brings an opportunity to reduceemissions per passenger kilometer flown, it should be noted that aircraft are major financial andconceptual investments that endure for many decades, and replacement of the international fleetis therefore a long-term proposition which will greatly delay realizing the climate benefits of manykinds of improvements.

    While flying in high cruise altitude around the tropopause, NOXemissions by the large jet airlinersare effective in forming ozone (O3) in the upper troposphere. At higher altitude (8-13 km), thisformation of O3from NOXemission is much more dominant and hence increased concentration of O3enhances the effect of global warming.

  19. CK 2022-04-19 19:13

    Ugh, of course…Maguire Iron.

  20. Richard Schriever 2022-04-19 20:32

    Cory – No Augie student who needs financial assistance to attend the school goes without. the Augie alums (I included) are quite generous in their creation of and contributions to academic scholarship funds – even more so than to the athletic scholarship funds. To give but one humble example; As a senior, I was the recipient, without my even being aware of its availability (faculty recommended), of a scholarship provided by the Dean of the Duke University Law School, who’s late sister was an Augie alum. This sort of stuff happens all the time there. Not broadly publicized, as I said – a humble example. Augie is sometimes referred to as the Harvard of the Plains, you know. personally, I could not care less about hockey in general – will, with 95% certainty – never attend a game.

  21. grudznick 2022-04-19 20:36

    Harvard, and of course Yale, are fine institutions. I am sure Augustana is just fine, too. However, Mr. Schriever, you should really consider attending a hockey match and watching the beasts they will recruit brawl on the rink of ice. You might enjoy it.

  22. John 2022-04-19 21:00

    It is amazing the Vikings, er their progeny, who settled here virtually ignored winter sports. South Dakota has little, to no Nordic Skiing, biathlon, downhill skiing, skating, etc. It required a displaced engineer from Minnesota, Jack Vosler, to introduce ice hockey to South Dakota in the late 1960s/early 1970s. The Vikings command the winter Olympics. It’s inexcusable that their more numerous Viking progeny in the US do not dominate the winter sports.

    Of course the settler-types were too busy surviving to play sports to the extent that sports are a luxury with today’s disposable time.
    Yet, not every Viking ignored winter sports. My mother and her siblings ice skated to school on the Moccasin Creek – about a mile and a third. We have the photos. And ice skating wasn’t always about going to school. When the chores and homework were complete; they’d skate for fun. Perhaps the best gift she gave me was a used, worn pair of ice skates.

    President Herseth Sandlin’s roots are in Brown County. She knows the deal and is crafting the belated future. Sioux Falls belatedly became a SD hockey town. It’s time to get behind Auggie’s hockey program. Soon women’s hockey will follow. Both programs will become Division I powerhouses. SDSU and USD ignored the past and the future.

  23. Donald Pay 2022-04-19 21:02

    Grudz, one of the things I was involved with in Rapid City was Bert Wrede’s effort to get ice and hockey in Rapid City. There was a hockey rink in over Dark Canyon, I believe, and so there was a small group of committed hockey folks. Bert had big plans for a big indoor rink, and he put together a proposal that the city leaders didn’t buy into. Well, we decided that we would try the initiative route, got the petition signatures and it went to a vote. We lost, and Bert was a bit miffed, but it stoked a lot of interest, and started to turn the wheels on a different concept for city ice. I left Rapid about the time they got it all planned and ready to build. Glad to see the Rush doing well in Rapid.

  24. Arlo Blundt 2022-04-19 21:44

    There are issues surrounding Hockey as a sport in South Dakota…one is there is no high school hockey because Hockey is an extremely expensive sport to introduce, kids need to start playing hockey at a young age to become proficient (by college, hockey players are terrific ice skaters as well as acquiring all the hand -eye skills required), and there is no “Hockey Culture” which involves an entire community. In Minnesota and Wisconsin, high school hockey has become a “year round sport” requiring “year round ice”, and Athletic Directors feel it is a sport that monopolizes student time and attention, limiting participation in other activities. Those are the issues…I congratulate Augie and its Alums on their efforts to introduce Hockey at the collegiate level in South Dakota. When done right its about as exciting a sport, requiring a collection of high order athletic skills, as you’ll ever see.

  25. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-04-20 07:14

    Hockey as an expensive sport—yeah, maintaining an indoor arena, buying all the skates and pads and Zambonis… and apparently the coaches have to fly private jets. Does any of that make for a better education?

  26. MD 2022-04-20 09:04

    The real test for hockey in Sioux Falls was when UND hosted the hockey regional in Sioux Falls a few years ago (they need to be held at a neutral site). They were content with the turnout and I’m sure Josh Morton was watching closely.
    UND has a big upper Midwest presence, including in Sioux Falls, and the NSIC has a number of high profile hockey teams at the D1 level (like Minnesota Mankato who played in the national championship this year).
    It is going to be hard to build out a hockey pipeline in South Dakota because hockey is insanely expensive. You need to be very well off, or well connected in order to afford playing at a level that will bring you up to college hockey. That is the most disappointing part of this – but otherwise a net positive for the state.

  27. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-04-20 10:23

    An anonymous hockey fanatic who declines to read the comment nymity policy says my opinion is irrelevant because, among other things, I have never contributed anything to South Dakota education or earned a letter in high school. I generally don’t respond to anonymi, but the falsehood of those claims are sufficiently ridiculous that, even though anon. fails to provide a valid email address allowing me to verify his non-bot-ness, I want him (the tone is distinctly masculine, in that ugly, pushy way that makes online discourse unfriendly to women) to know how much his wild and irrelevantly ad hominem response is based on his fantasy of an easy target rather than on facts about the actual writer.

  28. Mark Anderson 2022-04-20 12:08

    You know Cory, you’ve got me to speculating. Probably not the best thing you’ve done. My older brother is an Augie grad. My cousin was a whatever they call their queen. She married A sculptor too. I went to grad school with their former sculpure teacher, the first two from USD. I should have a show there. Truck the work up and get flown in on a private jet for the opening. Sounds like the thing to do doesn’t it? All for education. I could set it up on the rink in offseason wherever that might be. Make it a dual usage place. Just walk around the old neighborhood, we lived just north of there in my youth. Aldern my former professor went back to Augie and taught and retired there. They gave him a great studio in his retirement, I visited him there years ago. Would perhaps, the old Washington high place be better, less religious place to show? I guess not, perhaps they need a crucifixion at Augie. I’ve never done a naked man with outstretched limbs on a cross before, never had the time to model both sexes. I still have all my old molds. A woman on the cross? I don’t think they would go for it. Oh well, time to eat. That private jet thingy got me going.

  29. Arlo Blundt 2022-04-20 14:24

    Well…Cory…you’ve just encountered your average Hockey Fan. Hockey isn’t a sport, it’s a religion, and one dare not say anything negative about it in the presence of the Hockey Fan. MD is correct in saying that youth hockey caters to parents with plenty of disposable income…it can be very expensive as children work their way through the various levels of youth hockey attempting to make the cut for the 22 member high school team. In some “Hockey Towns” there are booster programs that provide scholarships to kids from low income families. Such support as there is usually peters out as the kid advances through the system. Only the most extraordinarily talented poor kid qualifies for support as time goes on. Girls Hockey is very popular as well but girls tend to “self select” sports and activities and the pressure isn’t nearly what it is for boys.

  30. Mark 2022-04-20 19:22

    In case you missed it, the Snow Queen is turning our State scools into Theocratic training centers. Maybe you are not familiar with what Augie is up to, but believe me, their growth is CRITICAL to any hope South Dakota has of keeping the next generation of true liberal thinkers in the state.

    They have lowered tuition for anyone with a 3.5 gpa or over 26 or something ACT so it is in the ballpark as State and USD, and they owe NOTHING to the Snow Queen and her spies.

    CRT is alive and well in Stephanie’s hands, and a rare Lutheran strain of liberal Jesus. Serious. My kid goes there. I was a USD grad. What they are doing is CRITICAL to YOUR future, OUR future in this Red Zombie state. Again, what is good for Augie, is good for the future of the Democratic party in the state. If Hockey helps it grow, by all means, send the Jet!!

    I am a little shocked that you werent aware of how liberal the school is. Dont let the secret out, though, we want Ole and Lina to keep sending their kids there.

  31. leslie 2022-04-21 12:44

    “Flying is by far the worst thing we do for the environment,… points to research that the emissions linked to a single seat aboard a round-trip trans-Atlantic flight can wipe out the carbon benefits of eating vegetarian for a decade.

    Worse: Airplanes also leave behind short-lived contrails and cirrus formations that trap additional heat in the atmosphere. According to a November study in Environmental Research Letters, aviation’s “warming footprint” — its true contribution to climate change — has become “at least twice as large as its carbon footprint.”

    The [electric] plane’s technical specs are eye-popping — it charges six times as fast as the fastest Tesla, needing a half hour of charge time for an hour of flight. Eviation insists the business case for the plane is as strong as the environmental one. Alice has durable motors, fewer moving parts, and digital electrical systems. It requires little maintenance, aside from scheduled battery replacement that can be done at a fraction of the price of a carbon-powered plane’s upkeep. “We can cut between 50 and 70 percent of the [operating] cost for an equivalent jet,” Bar-Yohay insists.

    At launch, Alice will have three models — an EXECUTIVE plane, a commercial nine- seater, and a cargo craft.

    Shipping giant DHL has already ordered 12….
    Eviation expects to deliver its first planes in 2024.

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