Park Rapids Panther mascot has a new look

The new logo, designed with help from Jostens, will unite the school district's branding imagery for the first time.

The branding package that Kevin Murphy presented to the Park Rapids School Board on Feb. 6, 2023, features a unique panther design, fonts and the motto "in pursuit."
Contributed / Park Rapids Area Schools

Kevin Murphy with the Park Rapids Area Schools’ coaches association shared a new set of Panthers logos and related images with the school board on Feb. 6.

Murphy reminded the board that the coaches sought a rebranding of the school’s athletic mascot in order to bring unity to images related to the school. They benefited from the school’s relationship with Jostens, which provided graphic design and consulting services for free.

Based on surveys and discussions, the logo committee settled on the theme of “In Pursuit.”

Among the new panther logo designs that Kevin Murphy presented to the Park Rapids School Board on Feb. 6, 2023, is this crest that he suggested, for example, could go on hockey jerseys.
Contributed / Park Rapids Area Schools

“Being in pursuit is what it means to be a Panther,” said Murphy, “because you can apply that to so much throughout elementary, middle school, high school and beyond. We want our students to be in pursuit of greatness, in pursuit of excellence. When we’re playing sports, we’re in pursuit of victory. For our students, they’re in pursuit of a degree; they’re in pursuit of their future.”

Murphy presented the main logo, describing it as “a full-body panther that we feel embodies being in pursuit, because it looks like it’s going after its target,whatever that may be.” Variations include an option with “In Pursuit” added at the bottom, which could be exchanged with specific identifiers such as “fast pitch” or “basketball”; a panther head; the option to separate the full-body panther from the Park Rapids Panthers lettering; and a panther on a crest that Murphy suggested could be printed on diplomas or hockey jerseys.


Murphy said the school has ownership of the images, including the ability to “tweak” the design as needed and control how it is used. He added that digitized images are available to print on apparel or sports gear.

Murphy anticipated a gradual roll-out, adding it to each program’s athletic equipment as it is replaced and painting it on school walls after upcoming additions and renovations are completed.

Resignation, coaches and more

In consent items and general business, the school board:

  • Accepted the resignations of David Synstegaard as transportation director, effective upon suitable replacement, and Abby Golish as school counselor.
  • Approved a spring coaches list, including baseball head coach Kevin Murphy, assistant coaches TJ Erickson and Jeb Sanford, volunteer assistants Jesse Bucholz and Wyatt Sanford and middle school coaches Jeremy Anderson and Bob Kapsner; boys golf head coach Jeff Anderson and junior high coaches Morgan Marcussen and Tom Marcussen; girls golf head coach Brent Vandal and junior high coach Walt Harrison; softball head coach Marion Goeden, assistant coaches Kevin Cederstrom and Ken Tretbar and middle school coaches Ashley Hensel and Laura Henderson; boys track head coach Andrew Lachowitzer, assistant coaches Chad Harshman and Mike Hartung (paid by Boosters) and volunteer assistant coaches Kent Fritze and Jake Deblieck; girls track head coach Corey Hill and assistant coach Melanie Priebe; and boys and girls track middle school assistant coaches Tarja Nelson and Chris Kirchner (paid by Boosters). 
  • Acknowledged donations from Riverside Church including gloves, hats and scarves to the elementary school and slippers, socks and hat/mitten combos to the Alternative Learning Center.
  • Approved the retirements of early childhood teacher Sally Kading after 22 years of service and special education teacher David Schaum after 28 years.
  • Hired Laura Henderson as a junior high softball coach and Rachel Mack as an early childhood special education paraprofessional.

The school board’s next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21 at the Frank White Education Center – a special time due to the Presidents’ Day holiday on Feb. 20.

Robin Fish is a staff reporter at the Park Rapids Enterprise. Contact him at or 218-252-3053.
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