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Boys basketball coaching creates winning environment for the Royals

Mar 10, 2017


Bea Frank

Left to Right; Mr. Dale Stahl, Mr. Brock Tesdahl, Mr. Demondi Johnson, and Mr. Kerry Southerland. Photo was taken at the Royals vs Warriors game.

Coach Novak secured his 800th win on Jan. 6th when his Hopkins Royals boys basketball team beat Cristo Rey Jesuit by a score of 87-40. Novak is just one of the many great coaches on the Hopkins basketball staff.

Novak has amassed a total of 806 wins throughout his 27 year coaching span at HHS. He took over for his father, Ken Novak Sr., in 1989. He also doesn’t believe he is the typical coach who gets angry, yells a lot and gets in your face.

“We try to stay focused, we try to have an attention to detail but I try to consider myself more of a teacher than a coach, so we teach them the concepts of what we want to do and how we want to do it,” Novak said. “I don’t think I get in your face that much but we try to demand intensity and the best from our players”.

Back in 2011 Novak was named the ESPN Coach of the Year for high school basketball. He also was inducted in the Minnesota Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2013. Additionally, under Novak’s coaching, the Royals have won seven State Titles. However, those aren’t the things that have kept him with Hopkins for so long.

“I love coaching high school kids. I really enjoy teaching and so being able to teach during the day and coach at night is great,” Novak said. “We’ve also had great kids come through Hopkins, like Kris Humphries, Blake Hoffarber, Royce White and Siyani Chambers, kids who want to be good, and work at being good and Hopkins has been a great place to be throughout the years”.

Another coach that has been here for awhile is Dale Stahl, the Junior-Varsity head coach and assistant Varsity coach. Stahl also had a son, Zach, come through the Hopkins basketball program while he has been a coach here. Stahl started off as a volunteer coach and that turned into a profession.

“I got into coaching because I played in high school and college and I enjoyed the competition and missed it when my playing career ended. I started volunteering my time as a coach and that turned into coaching jobs at various schools in communities where I lived,” Stahl said.

Stahl has a couple of memories throughout his years here at Hopkins. A couple that stand out would be Hopkins’ most recent State Title, or the year when they won their third consecutive State Title. The one that stands out the most for him, though, is when they won the semifinal game on their way to their second consecutive championship in 2010.

“We were coming off an undefeated season and had graduated five senior starters and nobody thought we could contend again. My son Zach was a sophomore, and also sixth man on the team. We beat Henry Sibley in the semifinals in a double overtime game,” Stahl said. “They were ranked higher than us and had a couple of 6’8” guys. I was very proud of how our team battled through and won that one,”.

Both of these coaches plan to be at Hopkins for a while because they love the kids and community that HHS is a part of.

A new coach who also adds to the Royals team is Brock Tesdahl. Tesdahl has been here for two years and also played at Bemidji State University.

What I enjoy most coaching basketball for Hopkins is being a part of the rich tradition Hopkins has established throughout the years. Everywhere I’ve gone as a basketball player (Crosby-Ironton and Bemidji State University), I’ve experienced a lot of success. Now transitioning into the coaching role, I want to have the same triumphs. It’s important to note, learning under Hopkins Royals head coach Ken Novak Jr. and previous Royals head coach Ken Novak Sr. has been critical to my growth as a basketball coach,” Tesdahl said. “I learned more in the past two years than I ever thought I would. They have both have taught me the importance of being a role model on and off the court and provide an atmosphere for the student-athlete to take full advantage of their basketball potential.”

Tesdahl is also very optimistic about the future of the Hopkins basketball program. He believes that hard work and wanting to be better players need to be top objectives for future Royals wanting to be a part of the Hopkins program.

“The future looks bright for the Hopkins Royals program; however, hard work and the desire to get better need to be a primary objective for the upcoming Royal players. One of the things over the years that has helped Hopkins succeed is that in the past the best players and hardest workers have been leaders on and off the court,” Tesdahl said.

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