Last month, Caledonia Warriors head coach Brent Schroeder walked off the field at TCF Bank Stadium as a state champion. This Sunday, he'll be back at the stadium to accept a $10,000 check.
Caledonia was recently named Minnesota's Football Program of the Year by the Minnesota Vikings. Schroeder and about a half dozen other community members and district staff will be honored Sunday night when the Vikings host the New York Giants at TCF Bank Stadium.
"Our principal was hooting and hollering when she found out hear the other night," Schroeder said. "Just really a compliment to our community and staff and the hard work they've put in also and just a reflection on how much everybody cares about our program."
The process started in early fall when middle school teacher Carol Nelson learned about the award on Facebook. She wrote a short essay nominating the community, and to her surprise, learned the school was named a finalist.
Schroeder said the Vikings visited Caledonia during the season, filming the community and a home game.
Then last Friday, Schroeder learned Caledonia had been selected as Program of the Year. As part of the ceremony, Schroeder will accept the $10,000 check from the Vikings on behalf of the community. The money will be used to improve something within the school district or community, Schroeder said.
Caledonia is no stranger to recognition. The football team recently won its seventh state title in school history. Schroeder said it's surreal how far the community has come since the days when Carl Fruechte led the Warriors to state championships.
"It didn't just happen," he said. "We went through some tough times and things that we've built in to, it's just amazing the hard work our kids put in and how much fun our community's having right now."