Expectations exceeded

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 1, 2001

Travis Olson had to admit it.

Sunday, April 01, 2001

Travis Olson had to admit it. Even by his standards, the United South Central boys’ basketball team probably surpassed expectations during the 2000-2001 season.

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The Rebels graduated six seniors who accounted for approximately 70 percent of their scoring and rebounding the previous year, and they were one of the shortest teams in the basketball-rich South Central Conference.

&uot;I guess the season was pretty much epitomized by the fact the kids had a never-say-die attitude,&uot; said Olson. &uot;They were always willing to go in and fight hard, leave it all on the court, and see what happened from there.&uot;

For the most part, good things happened.

The Rebels were 4-8 in the SCC but finished a surprising 14-11 overall, making Olson the Tribune’s Boys’ Basketball Coach of the Year.

&uot;It’s a nice honor, but it’s more telling of the team than of me personally,&uot; said Olson. &uot;I kind of ride on their coat tails. It has to do with the group of kids you work with, how they’re willing to practice and play every night.&uot;

This year’s group, according to Olson, earned high marks in that regard.

&uot;It was always enjoyable to go to practice and games,&uot; said Olson. &uot;The kids were always willing to work hard and put in the extra effort that makes coaching that much me enjoyable.&uot;

Olson is no stranger to South Central Conference athletics. A 1992 St. Peter High School graduate, he was a three-sport athlete in high school and played two years of football at Concordia of Moorhead. He coached for two years at Waseca before coming to USC in the fall of 1998. The Rebels were 13-13 in Olson’s first season at the helm.

Olson, who also coaches sophomore football at USC, is a fourth-grade teacher and said he enjoys working with the different age groups.

&uot;I like to work with the different grade levels,&uot; he said. &uot;Kids are basically the same. Both (teaching and coaching) are very enjoyable.&uot;

Olson’s aim as a coach is to help his teams reach their full potential and for his players to understand and feel good about their place on the team.

&uot;When the kids are done playing, I hope they can look back and say they did as much as they possibly could,&uot; said Olson. &uot;I always look for a place where a kid can contribute, whether it’s as a starter, a reserve or a practice player. It’s important for a kid to understand his role on the team.&uot;