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Bemidji High School coaches educate parents, players

Bemidji High School boys soccer coach Rick Toward details this season’s expectation to his athletes and their parents during Wednesday’s fall sports pre-season meeting. MONTE DRAPER | BEMIDJI PIONEER

BEMIDJI -- When all is said and done, the sports programs at Bemidji High School adhere to a simple philosophy and when that philosophy is followed, everyone benefits.

"Parents parent. Kids play. Coaches coach," BHS activities director Troy Hendricks explained to the players and parents who gathered at the school auditorium Wednesday night for the fall pre-season parent/player meeting with the coaches.

"If there is an issue, have the student athlete confer with the coach. If that doesn't work, contact me," Hendricks told the parents. "But what we really want from the parents is to have them help us (learn) what makes your child tick. What really motivates them."

A motivated athlete, on the field and in the classroom, usually is a successful athlete and those are the types of athletes who have helped create a successful atmosphere throughout the Lumberjacks system.

"We are extremely excited to start the new year," Hendricks said. "Last fall our teams won four section championships and two other teams were second in their sections. The fall teams did a tremendous job of starting the Bemidji High School seasons off in a positive way. And I don't expect anything different this fall."

In addition to talented athletes, the sports programs at BHS are successful because of the coaches' and administrators' attention to detail. School officials have incorporated strict guidelines that all student/athletes must follow and Wednesday's meeting was designed to explain those guidelines to the players and their parents.

Academically, the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) states that athletes are eligible if they make progress toward graduation. At BHS, however, athletes must follow that rule and also maintain at least a 2.0 grade point average.

Using alcohol, tobacco or drugs also is a violation of the MSHSL code of conduct and is punishable by the loss of eligibility. At BHS, however, attending a function where those products are being used, unless accompanied by a parent, is a violation.

"At Bemidji High School there is guilt by association," Hendricks said. "And the punishment is the same as using."

Students who miss or are late for school or practices, break the law or are suspended from school will also face athletic repercussions. Dress codes, fees and the need for current physicals also were among the other issues that were discussed Wednesday.

"We do make some very long road trips but we want to parents to make sure that their son or daughter goes to school on Friday after coming home late from an event on Thursday," Hendricks said. "Get out of bed and get to school. That's our philosophy."

Hendricks believes that meetings with the parents and the players are paying dividends and each year he sees the benefits.

"I think the parents are getting the message," Hendricks said. "Our violations have not gone up through the years and I think that is because the parents understand the rules.

"The goal at Bemidji High School isn't necessarily to win all of the games. It is just to be the best we can be and instill character and life skills. If we do that the wins will take of themselves," Hendricks added.

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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