COLUMN: Making a Difference

Updated: 11/29/2013 8:51 AM By: Ken Lien

Photo courtesy of Ken Lien
Photo courtesy of Ken Lien

As I thought of the subject matter for my first article on the website, I entertained a wide range of topics I thought would be fun to discuss.

Obviously, everyone enjoys reading about players and their ventures and accomplishments be it high school, college or from the professional ranks. And yes, I will certainly do that as the basketball season progresses.

There will be great matchups such as DeLaSalle vs Apple Valley…or the Gophers matched up with Big Ten opponents…or the Timberwolves fighting for one of the eight spots in the Western Conference playoffs…or big games in the NSIC and MIAC conferences. There is no shortage of topics, only time to fit them all in.

But as I wrestled with the first topic, I felt I needed to speak of and highlight the tremendous work and efforts put forth by the high school coaches.

Minnesota has an excellent stable of outstanding coaches combined with years and years of longevity and experience.

They are a fraternity dedicated to improving high school basketball in Minnesota, but more importantly, assisting in the growth of their players in becoming productive members of society.

Coaches know there are no shortcuts to success. Shortcuts fail. Nothing meaningful or lasting comes without working hard. Every coach wants to see his/her team as the hardest working team in the state.

That seems to be the yardstick by which teams are measured, and the goal is to live up to that every day. Who really knows who’s the hardest working team?

In reality, no one knows. And who cares? But coaches know the important thing is their players believe it. And why is believing so crucial? The answer is very simple. If the players believe it, then facing pressure situations in close games become less stressful, confidence abounds and when the game is won, they know they deserved it and earned it the old-fashioned way….hard work. Because as we all know, there is no substitute for hard work and careful planning.

The coaches teach that failing to prepare is preparing to fail. The high school coaches teach and emphasize that every day. It is the only way.

Every fall the Minnesota Basketball Coaches Association conducts a 2-day clinic for high school coaches with an attendance of usually 425-plus coaches.

The Executive Committee of the MBCA offers a terrific agenda of high school and college coaches to present topics of the success they’ve accomplished be it conducting practices, offensive and defensive strategies, off-season conditioning, out-of-bound plays, team chemistry… name it, they have it covered. It’s a great clinic and the camaraderie amongst the coaches is fantastic.

One of the highlights of the clinic is recognizing achievements of the coaches for years of service and coaching victories. I want to personally congratulate these fine coaches for a job well done.

Recognized at this year’s clinic were the following:

Victory Milestones:

Achievement Awards:

10 Year Service Award

Mike Aumann, Concordia Acad.

Joe Belka, Rogers

Tyler Bormann, Breckenridge

Chad Buendorf, NRHEG

Jason Carrier, Houston

John Clark, Mahnomen

Jeff Cole, Maple River

Dave Cors, New London-Spicer

Brad Goodwin, BBE

Jim Hubka, LeRoy-Ostrander

Ryan James, Minnetonka

Derrick Jenniges, Westbrook-WG

Robert Laine, Lake of the Woods

Lance Larson, Springfield

Mike Malmquist, Wabasha-Kellogg

Mark Tuchscherer, Champlin Park

Eric Schuttee, Concordia Acad.

Cory Puppe, Rogers

Brian Riley, Sauk Centre

Cory Rude, Hutchinson

Shawn Mayers, Melrose




15 Year Service Award

John Bruns, Blooming Prairie

Lernell James, Henry Sibley

Cody Larson, Dawson-Boyd

Joel McDonald, Hibbing

Nate Pelowski, Chanhassen

Brian Skadsem, Virginia

Mike Tauber, Rockford

Matt Urbanek, Jordan

Corey Zimmerman, Moorhead

Jay Klein, Kimball

Jason Monke, Delano

Barry Wohler, Orono

Steven Sjostrand, Kittson Central






20 Year Service Award

Dave Blaml. Wabasso

Tim Slattery, Mt. Iron-Buhl

Landis Froehling, St. James

Shawn Naas, Mt. Lake Area

Dean Neumann, WHT-LP

Mike Sather, Norman Cty East

Kris Fadness, Austin

Dana Kallman, Chaska

Steven Kellen, Fulda

Tim Staloch, Maple Lake






25 Year Service Award

Scott Demaris, Sleepy Eye, St. Mary’s

John Demars, Irondale

Mike Devney, Esko

lNeil Doose, St. Peter

Kevin Jordan, Little Falls

John Kruger, Hayfield

Keith Peterson, Brainerd

Jeff Ramey, Brainerd

Steve Walker, St. James




30 Year Service Award

Gary Grewe, Pequot Lakes

Randy Klasen, Elk River

Kerry Linbo, Byron

Dave Montbriand, BBE

Brian Walker, Red Rock Central





35 Year Service Award

Joel Andrychowicz, Irondale

Dave Galovich, Crosby-Ironton

Jeff Moon, Fergus Falls

Rich Odell, Virginia

Daryl Oja, Melrose

Jeff Wall, Maranatha Acaad

Franz Boelter, Bethlehem Acad

Steve Gagnon, Howard Lake-W-W


40 Year Service Award

Val Whipple, Ivanhoe, Lincoln HI



Ken Lien is a sports columnist and the head of the selection committee for Minnesota Mr. Basketball.