I give hearty thanks to Daniel Ninham for his heroic accomplishments with the Cass Lake-Bena basketball program. When he came to help lead the program, our community was deeply troubled. Violence, including murder, was so frequent that the Star Tribune wrote extensive articles on the "troubled youth" of Cass Lake. Dan saw the strengths in our youth and built a great coaching staff and winning teams not only on the court but in the classroom. He expected quality, respectful performance on the court, in the classroom, and at home.
Following the team's loss in Moorhead that ended their hopes to go to state several seasons ago, he intensified the training. He realized that being a little better than the other teams in our section was not enough; our team had to be far better if they were going to reach state. The team did go on to state and gave memorable performances that made our entire community proud of our youth and ourselves.
But with Dan it is not just the court where he expected quality performance. Most of his players have been on the honor roll. Many have gone on to excel in other sports, in college, and other fields. We are looking forward to their becoming quality family and community leaders.
Dan set the example for his students by earning a doctorate degree. Prior to last year's basketball season, his advisers gave him only one year to complete his dissertation. He rose to the challenge and completed his dissertation while teaching, coaching and caring for his family. That he was unable to give his full attention to the basketball program this past year is more than understandable. In spite of this, with the aid of his assistant coaches, our team went on to state yet again.
We should be cheering Dan for his leadership as well as his monumental achievements, and rally around him as he has rallied around our youth when we needed him most.
Thank you Dan, you have done wonders with our wonderful youth. They are now known, not as the "troubled youth," but as champions who have earned the admiration not only of our community but of the entire state. Dan has left a legacy in which we all can take pride.
Thank you, again for helping our students and families stand tall, feeling pride in hard-earned, great achievements.