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GIRLS BASKETBALL: Lumberjacks hire ‘player-focused’ Darin Schultz as new head coach

Bemidji High School hired Schultz as its new girls basketball head coach on Wednesday, just one day after Schultz interviewed for the position. And with such a speedy turnaround, Schultz can implement his philosophies without wasting any time.

061122.S.BP.BHSGBB Darin Schultz.JPEG
Darin Schultz, center, talks during a timeout with the Walker-Hackensack-Akeley boys basketball team. Schultz was hired as the new Bemidji High School girls basketball head coach on Wednesday, June 8, 2022.
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BEMIDJI -- It was pretty clear pretty quick: Darin Schultz was the right man for the job.

Bemidji High School hired Schultz as its new girls basketball head coach on Wednesday, just one day after Schultz interviewed for the position. And with such a speedy turnaround, Schultz can implement his philosophies without wasting any time.

“I’m a very player-focused coach,” Schultz said. “We’re going to do a lot of things together. It’s our team, it’s not my team.”

Schultz will begin his tenure driven to build a BHS program that hasn’t reached the state tournament since 2010. While a banner or two would be nice to hang, he’s also excited for the chance to develop people.

“Bemidji athletics has a really rich tradition of success and building great individuals -- not just athletes. I’m excited to get to work with the whole Jacks family,” he said. “I’m excited to work with (activities director Troy Hendricks) and everyone else involved to really give our kids the best experience that they can have, both on and off the court.”

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And with a priority on team success over individual recognition, Schultz is hopeful that both will come.

“A big part of it is really establishing the culture that I want, and that’s very much a family culture,” Schultz said. “Everything is about us, not individually. Those individual accolades come when we all believe that everyone matters.”

A connected road to Bemidji

Schultz began his coaching career at Central College in Pella, Iowa, as a student assistant on Mike Boschee’s 2011-12 men’s basketball staff. A year later, Boschee was hired as Bemidji State’s new coach.

Schultz coached the Dutch for one more season, then returned to his hometown of East Dubuque, Ill., to coach middle school girls and assist with the varsity team. A year later, Schultz joined Loras College in Dubuque as a men’s assistant coach and met his future wife, Jamie, who was an assistant with the women’s program.

In 2016, Jamie got hired by the Bemidji State women’s basketball program, and so the two moved to Bemidji. Darin most recently coached in the Walker-Hackensack-Akeley boys basketball program for four years, including 2018-20 as the head coach.

“The last couple years, I’ve just been a firm supporter of my wife and her career, and a dad,” Schultz said. “I’ve really missed coaching. It’s a great opportunity to get back into it with a really good group of girls.”

Schultz knows some of the Lumberjacks’ younger players since he’s also a teacher at Bemidji Middle School. He’s excited to get acquainted with the older girls, as well, and he said that chemistry will be a big first step in the growth of the program.

“This summer, our goals are going to be building relationships with each other,” he said. “Understanding that we’re going to do some things that might be the same as the past, and maybe some things might be different. Really, it’s getting a chance to work together.”

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With a successful summer, BHS can launch into a winter that furthers the revival under former head coach Steve Schreiber, which included two section championship game appearances in the past three seasons.

“We’ve had a lot of success over the past three years,” Schultz said. “A lot of credit has to be given to those previous coaching staffs over those last 12 years (since the program’s latest state berth). We’ll try to build on it and continue moving forward.”

Bemidji girls basketball head coaching history

2022-present: Darin Schultz

2016-22: Steve Schreiber

2014-16: Larry Dahl

2006-14: Rick Kehoe

2003-06: Tim Mayclin

2000-03: Bob Luoma

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1975-2000: Jim Wahl

1973-74: Nancy Schnickels

Micah Friez is the sports editor at the Bemidji Pioneer. A native of East Grand Forks, Minn., he joined the Pioneer in 2015 and is a 2018 graduate of Bemidji State University with a degree in Creative and Professional Writing. Follow him on Twitter at @micahfriez for Lumberjack and Beaver updates.
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