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Hill Murray head hockey coach Bill Lechner and his wife Sue at their home

Bill Lechner has spent almost two decades coaching Hill-Murray hockey in the winter and Pioneers’ baseball in the spring.

Until now.

Lechner won’t return as baseball coach, citing shifts in job duties and a desire to spend more time with family.

Raising funds for upgrades to athletics facilities has become a priority. That responsibility, said Lechner, along with being the school’s activities director and boys’ hockey coach, made baseball the easiest out.

“Something had to give and baseball is the calmest one to give,” Lechner said.

Lechner, 60, also wants to see more of his wife, three grown children and grandchildren.

Facilities development at Hill-Murray, a Maplewood-based private school, is critical to compete for student-athletes, Lechner said. Initial targets include hockey locker room upgrades at nearby Aldrich Arena, permanent seating for the on-campus baseball field, installing turf on the football field and refurbishing the track.

“I walked in to Hill-Murray at 22, I’m 60 now and we have the same track,” Lechner said.

Charlie Cicalello, an assistant coach, was promoted to replace Lechner.

Leaving baseball is bittersweet for Lechner, who played at Cretin with Paul Molitor. Warm spring afternoons at the diamond were a welcome respite from coaching within the pressure cooker that is Hill-Murray hockey, he said.

Baseball was “more simple, more fun,” he said, but always important. Lechner directed four state tournament teams and posted a 275-81 record over 18 seasons.

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