Feely’s back to coach on field named for him

Burnsville turns to former head coach to lead softball program

Barely one year after naming its softball diamond Pat Feely Field, Burnsville High School is bringing back Pat Feely to coach on it.

Feely, a varsity softball head coach at the school from 1993 to 2005, is returning as head coach for the 2013-14 school year, the school announced this week. He replaces Aaron Vail, whose contract was not renewed after one season.

During his previous tenure as Blaze head coach Feely’s teams were 249-62 and won two state championships. For much of that time he shared head coaching duties with Terry Hunst. Both retired from the varsity program at the end of the 2005 season, when Burnsville won the second of back-to-back state championships.

Feely coached the ninth-grade team from 2006 to 2010, with his teams going 87-5. He assisted the program as a volunteer the last two years.

As Blaze head coach, Feely helped lead the varsity to six conference championships, three section titles and a state consolation championship, along with the state titles in 2004 and 2005. Burnsville won a third state championship in 2010 under Hillary Johnson, a former Blaze assistant who took over the program in 2006 and served as head coach for seven years.

A three-sport athlete at St. Thomas College, Feely taught, coached and served as a principal in Minneapolis public schools for 30 years.

Minneapolis school administrators weren’t allowed to coach teams in the district, so Feely, a longtime Burnsville resident, coached youth teams there and eventually was asked to take over the high school program in 1993.

The District 191 Board of Education re-named the high school softball field in Feely’s honor in March 2012.