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Madalyn Laske, Published November 29 2013

Park Christian job puts new spin on coaching for Erv Inniger

Moorhead - There’s a first time for everything. And that goes for Erv Inniger, the winningest men’s basketball coach in North Dakota State history.

Inniger, now the boys basketball head coach at Moorhead Park Christian, notched a victory in the first high school game of his coaching career on Friday when the Falcons defeated Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton

54-42.

“It’s really special. It’s an exciting night for me,” Inniger said. “First high school win. I am pumped.”

Inniger left coaching 21 years ago after compiling a 244-150 record and 13 straight winning seasons for NDSU from 1978-1992.

“The last three weeks has been so much fun for me,” Inniger said. “It’s not as easy as it was 21 years ago, but it’s fun to coach these kind of kids. They’re disciplined, they listen to you and I’ve got a great coaching staff.”

Making the transition from college to high school – especially after two decades – bears challenges. The

68-year-old Inniger had his son Bart to help with that.

“My son, who coaches down in the (Twin) Cities, was really a big help,” Inniger said. “He told me, ‘Dad, you just can’t do as many things.’ ”

That didn’t stop Park Christian from changing defenses constantly during the game and out-playing the Rebels during the second half after ending the first half down 22-17.

“I think that’s just the start. But I don’t think you can do as much because (at NDSU) I’m recruiting the top five percent in the country. Now the kids that are here are what you are dealt,” Inniger said. “So what you got to do is find spots for each one of them so they can do what they do best, and I think that’s really key.”

Inniger’s assistant coach, Josh Lee, says he learns something every day from Inniger.

“From motivational techniques to the way you conduct yourself on and off the court,” Lee said. “It’s been amazing.”

Inniger, who played college basketball at Indiana and two years professionally, is under a one-year contract at Park Christian to mentor not only players, but Lee so he can take over.

“I’m hoping, if I do anything else, it’s that we can leave something for years to come,” Inniger said.

Inniger’s presence already has had an impact according to senior Matt Moberg, who finished the game with 13 points and nine rebounds.

“We’re playing more together (since last season), not as individuals,” Moberg said. “We’ve learned tons of stuff – to not be slow at any time, but to always be going fast. Don’t loaf. That’s what he always says. ‘Don’t loaf.’ ”

Senior Hunter Nickel, who finished the game with 11 points and 11 rebounds, agrees.

“He’s such a good coach. It’s hard, but we have to put the work in,” Nickel said, “The biggest thing I’ve learned is you have to work so hard to get every play perfect. Every play matters.”

With his first high school victory under his belt, Inniger just wants to enjoy the ride.

“I’m going to have fun doing it. That’s all I ask. If my kids play hard for me, do their best, I’ll walk off a happy man,” Inniger said. “I’m just really proud to be back in the game. It’s been really fun.”

Half: DGF 22, PC 17

DGF: Schumann 4, Mathews 3, Jacobson 2, Nelson 6, Roll 2, Bjerke 10, Tollefson 4, Rothschadl 3, Stalboerger 9.

PC: Hannestad 2, Moberg 13, Nickel 11, Kvalvog 13, Olsgaard 9, Daugherty 4, Schwandt 2.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Madalyn Laske at (701) 241-5549