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Eric Peterson, Published January 23 2009

College Plus: Glas is half full, Concordia coach leads by example

At a recent Concordia men’s basketball practice, a loose ball rolled off the court to one of the corners of Memorial Auditorium, drawing the following reaction from head coach Rich Glas.

“He sprinted over, dove for the ball, got up and made sure that we all knew that he was hustling so we had to give him a round of applause,” Cobbers senior guard Cody Dyshaw said. “It’s just the kind of the guy he is.”

The 60-year-old Glas wanted to demonstrate to his team the importance of hustle, while at the same time lightening the mood, Dyshaw said. The scene also illustrated – that in his 29th season as a head coach and first at Concordia – Glas hasn’t lost his passion for the game.

“Everyone was like ‘Oh, he’s coming back just to retire, this is his last gig,’ ” Cobbers assistant Brady Larson said. “No way. He is doing the same exact thing if he was at Duke or if he was here, coaching his team. It doesn’t matter where he is. … He’s a young 60. He’s got more energy than I do at 32.”

The Cobbers are a game past the midway point of their Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference season. Even though Concordia (3-8, 6-10 MIAC) is in ninth place in the conference, Glas still has a singular focus.

“All you can do is try to build the program and have it become a championship program,” Glas said. “That’s the main goal and only goal will always be to keep building a championship program that’s consistent.”

Glas is best known for his 18 seasons as head coach at the University of North Dakota, leading the Sioux to eight NCAA Division II tournament appearances. Larson played for Glas at UND from 1995-2000.

After UND (which has since moved to Division I), Glas was an assistant at D-I Northern Iowa for two seasons before he took the Concordia job.

While Glas coached at the highest collegiate level the previous two seasons, he hasn’t altered his approach with the Cobbers. To him, the only change is the athleticism of the players.

“There really isn’t a lot of difference,” Glas said. “It’s the same emotional stuff. It’s the same ingredients you need to win at that level that are the same ingredients you need to win at Concordia. … The heart and mind doesn’t change. It’s the same thing.”

Glas said his first season at Concordia is “exactly what I expected.”

He’s received strong support from the administration and he’s glad to be leading a program again after his brief stint as a Division I assistant.

For Glas, recruiting to Concordia is different than UND and Northern Iowa because more players need to be targeted since there are no scholarships.

“At this level, you have to recruit more people because you may lose guys to scholarships, you may lose guys because it may be too expensive,” he said.

Glas would like to renew the junior varsity program next season, using that as a way to develop players who need more seasoning.

Despite his team’s sub-.500 record to this point, Glas remains optimistic about the future as he’s just starting the latest chapter in his coaching career.

“I’ve had not one second of regretting the move,” Glas said. “I really enjoyed Northern Iowa. I loved UND. As I look back in my coaching stops, I’ve been blessed. It just seems it’s all worked out right. … It’s the right place for me and I hope I’m the right person for Concordia at the same time.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513. Peterson’s blogs can be found at www.areavoices.com