Wednesday, August 27, 2008

About Me...

So I suppose I should start this thing by giving a little background on myself. As I've said in my introduction and "about me", I'm 23 years old and I LOVE basketball and coaching. It's what I've wanted to do my entire life and feel blessed to be able to do it! I'm a "super senior" at Bemidji State University and will graduate this fall. I am getting a degree in Science Education with a Lifescience Emphasis. I'll be student teaching in Bagley this fall and then moving to the Twin Cities area to coach, teach, and live. Ever since grade school I have wanted to coach at a St. Paul or Minneapolis public school, and will finially get my chance to pursue that dream this season.

I was born and raised on Minnesota's Iron Range. I played basketball, fished, and hunted during those years and had a blast doing it. Some of my earliest memories however, were going to my father's high school practices and going to basketball games with him. My favorite times were when sub-section play rolled around and I got to go to games at the Miner's Memorial building - talk about atmosphere. It was a hockey arena (go figure) that for a few weeks a year was transformed into the site for the sub-section tournament. I remember watching teams like Chisholm, Cook, Orr, Tower-Soudan, Babbit-Embarass, International Falls, Cotton and others fight for the sub-section title. I got a first hand view of some coaching legends such as Coach McDonald from Chisholm and Coach King from Orr. Watching their teams was absolute poetry in motion - to use the tired cliche. That building and those winter nights were where my fire for basketball was lit.

I've coached at three different high schools: LaCrosse Central (WI), Bemidji (MN), and Bagley (MN). At the first two I was an assistant freshmen coach and I was the head freshmen coach at the third. I learned something at each stop and am glad I got to have those different experiences. I was lucky enough to spend my first year of coaching at Central under a great varsity coach in Todd Fergot. I think that Coach Fergot is one of the best coaches in the state of Wisconsin and is very underrated. He takes what he's given every year and gets absolutely everything he can out of his players. I also spent three summers in LaCrosse working with their summer improvement program and that was a great experience in terms of working with the players and learning from one of the best. I got a lot of my philsophies on offense and defense from Coach Fergot and his staff...I will be forever greatful to them.

Deciding to leave UW-LaCrosse to return to Bemidji State was not a hard decision. What was a hard decision however was to make the decision to leave Central. I felt like I was leaving a part of my family, but the decision had to be made. I needed to finish my education and get my teaching degree! I was lucky enough to land with another solid coach in Coach Brown at Bemidji High School. Coach Fergot was a motion offense and man to man defense guy for the most part, but Coach Brown liked to mix things up a little more and I picked some things up from him in terms of Xs and Os and dealig with players. He was another guy who may not have had the raw talent that some of the teams in his section did, but did the best with what he had.

After my season at Bemidji the AD from Bagley contacted me about an opening for the head freshmen coach and I jumped at the chance! I wanted to be able to run practices and do some things how I wanted. I was ready to take the reins! I was under a varsity coach in Todd Fore who has won many, many games and made a couple of state tournament appearances. The year before I arrived there he had went 28-1 with a great squad and bowed out in the first round of state to the eventual state champion Holy Family. Being next to him on the bench was a treat (first time I got to sit the varsity bench) and I learned a lot about game adjustments and how to work those officials! :) It was in a unique situation, as I only had 5 players and one basket for practice (borrowed a few JV players to play games). I really learned how to adapt and overcome. We finished with only 6 wins on the year but ended up winning 5 of our last 6 games and all 6 wins happened the second half of the year. The highlight however was our first win when the players got to shave my head - the deal I gave them a handful of games in when we weren't winning and our morale was slipping. Overall I was very impressed with our improvement over the course of the year - despite the below .500 record I considered our season a success. This team really improved their fundamental skills and that was fun to see. Also, they may have been some of the toughest kids I'd worked with, boy would they play hard. I really enjoyed my season in Bagley and felt like I really matured as a coach. It's going to be sad to leave, but my dream was to coach in the cities and I feel like that dream is worth pursuing right now.

Well, that's me up to this current point in time....

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