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Girls basketball: Larry Dahl is new girls basketball coach at Bemidji High School

BEMIDJI -- Larry Dahl was hired Saturday morning as the new girls basketball coach at Bemidji High School. Dahl replaces Rick Kehoe who decided to step down after last season.

Dahl began his Bemidji coaching career in the early 1990s when he directed the fourth and fifth grade programs. He has also coached at the middle school, junior varsity and assistant varsity levels and for the past eight seasons has been the freshman coach.

“Larry is a great fit for the job,” said Bemidji High School activities director Troy Hendricks. “He has been so successful at the ninth grade level, the kids know him and the alumni support for Larry is overwhelming. And now we will work to put a great staff around him.”

“I’m very excited and I know I can turn the program around,” Dahl said. “I’ve been coaching many years but I still have that drive and that passion. I’ve coached all of the varsity kids before and I believe in them.

“These kids will go through the wall for me and they know that I will do that for them.”

Dahl has scheduled a team meeting for Tuesday but the returning players already know his coaching style and techniques.

“Believing you can win is the key and the first two weeks of practice will be devoted to the mental part of the game,” Dahl sad. “I don’t think we have any Division I kids on the team right now but we have enough talent to win if we become mentally tough.

“I also believe that playing good defense is important and we’ll get after it with a man-to-man. I know these kids can do it because I’ve coached all of them.”

Adding to the team depth chart also is one of Dahl’s priorities and right after he received the news that he was selected to coach, he was on the phone talking to a player he had previously coached but who did not go out for basketball last winter.

“We have lost many good kids who decided not to come out and have to get them back. We want to have the best athletes playing basketball and that will come when we start to win,” Dahl said. “We need to return the interest in the program and get the crowds back. And you do that by displaying a good brand of basketball. People who come to our games will see the kids work, work and work.”

Dahl believes that Bemidji can have a winning record next year and enters the season with no preconceived ideas regarding the roster.

“Right now, when opponents look at their schedules, they put a “W” by the Bemidji game and that will change. We want them to dread coming here,” Dahl said. “We need to develop competition within the team and nobody has a spot for next year. Ideally, we would like to have only juniors and seniors on the varsity but right now, if some sophomore comes and earns a job, it will be hers.

“I talked to the kids beforehand and told them what I expect of them if I got the job,” Dahl continued. “The kids know what I am like and they know what to expect of me. The kids also want a coach who believes in them and they know that I do.”

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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