Hill-Murray announces new athletic director

John Pohl

After a 40-year tenure, one Hill-Murray athletic director will pass the torch to the next one this summer.

Hill-Murray School announced in an Oct. 25 press release that Bill Lechner will retire as the school’s AD. He will remain on as the boys head varsity hockey coach. 

According to the press release, Lechner helped expand the school’s sports and co-curricular activities, build a new stadium and fieldhouse, and funded improvements at Aldrich Ice Arena in Maplewood. 

“While most admire Mr. Lechner for his legacy as a hockey and baseball coach, those of us who know him best admire him for his dedication to helping build students of character,” Pioneers President James Hansen said. “We are most grateful for his staunch support and execution of the school’s vision by developing emotional intelligence skills in our students through their participation in over 40 clubs, 21 varsity sports and a total of 56 teams at all levels.”

Lechner’s successor is Hill-Murray teacher and former professional hockey player John Pohl. Pohl was the 13th player named Mr. Hockey back in 1998, while at Red Wing High School. The award is given annually to a high school senior for their outstanding hockey play in Minnesota.  

Pohl said he hopes to follow in Lechner’s footsteps and continue what he began.

“It’s an honor to replace someone as important to Hill-Murray as Bill,” said Pohl. “I am excited for this opportunity and will do my best to continue to provide our students with a positive athletic experience.”

Pohl played his collegiate hockey at the University of Minnesota, where he was captain for two seasons. He earned Academic All-Big Ten honors three times and was named an All-American during the Gophers’ 2002 National Championship run. Pohl was drafted 255th overall in the 1998 NHL Draft by the St. Louis Blues. He played with the Blues for one game and was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs, where he played 114 of his NHL games. 

Pohl has been an educator for eight years and was a recipient of the Teacher of Excellence award. He was also the Hill-Murray girls’ varsity hockey coach at one point. 

“As far as plans, our goal is the same as it has been with Bill; to provide our students with a wonderful experience,” he said. 

Pohl will take over after this school year when Lechner officially leaves the post.


–Lucas Ailport can be reached at roseville@lillienews.com.

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