Albert Lea boys’ basketball coach resigns

Published 5:28 pm Saturday, May 23, 2009

Chad Feikema stepped down as Albert Lea High School boys’ basketball and softball coach Thursday after he accepted a teaching and boys’ basketball head coaching position at Hastings High School.

The moves is not a big surprise because Feikema’s teaching position in the Albert Lea district was going to be eliminated for the 2009-10 school year.

Feikema came to Albert Lea in 2005 as a physical education teacher and boys’ basketball head coach. He spent his first two years in the district teaching at the high school and then at Area Learning Center and the high school full-time. He was later placed on unrequested leave and taught part time at the Lakeview and Halvorson elementary schools.

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“It’s been a little bit of a whirlwind here this week,” Feikema said. “Things happened fairly quickly. With my teaching position being what it was there was always that possibility.”

In his first season as head coach of the boys’ basketball team in 2005-06 he helped guide the team to its best conference record since 1987 and made an appearance in the section championship game.

Since that time the program has not been as successful. The past two years the team has gone 2-51.

The Hastings position opened in early May when Trent Hanson resigned as head coach of the boys’ basketball team to accept the activities director opening at the new East Ridge High School in the Woodbury-Park of Cottage Grove district.

The Raiders won 11 games last season and five the year before, but appeared in the section championship game during the 2005-06 season.

Feikema leaves with an 18-86 record at Albert Lea. He spent six years at Swanville and four years at New Life Academy in Woodbury before coming to Albert Lea.

Albert Lea High School Activities Director Clay Anderson said Feikema is a class individual and a builder.

“We really lost a good basketball and softball coach,” Anderson said.

Anderson said filling the coaching positions poses a challenge because there are no teaching positions available in the district, but he will work to fill the boys’ basketball head coach position this summer and the softball position sometime this fall.

Feikema said if there were a teaching position available in the Albert Lea district he probably wouldn’t have been looking for a job.

“If it weren’t for the teaching position being what it was, I probably wouldn’t have been even looking for a job,” he said. “I was very happy in Albert Lea, even though it’s not necessarily a basketball and softball kind of town.”

Feikema worked to build the youth basketball program in Albert Lea from the top down and is disappointed he won’t be able to see it through.

“I wish it was something I was able to finish,” he said. “We started building a program, trying to strengthen our youth program and our junior high program. Much like our wrestling and hockey, they have great youth programs and that feeds a great high school program. So we spent a lot of time trying to build a strong junior high and youth programs so we could have a consistently competitive high school program. I feel like we’re on the way to that and I’m sure that the boys next year will do much better than the teams the last two years have done.”

Feikema sought to build some consistency throughout every level of youth basketball and credited many within the junior high coaching ranks for their work to building future contending high school teams.

“It probably doesn’t appear on the surface that we’re in a better position than we were when I came, but I think for the people that pay attention to everything all the way down and know what’s coming … you can tell we’re in a good position where some good things can happen as a basketball program,” he said.

The departure is bittersweet for Feikema who said his four years have been enjoyable, but also difficult in some ways.

“I’m excited about where I’m going and grateful to have the opportunity to coach and teach at a place like Hastings, but at the same time sad to leave people behind,” he said.

Volleyball team gets new head coach

While Feikema leaves two coaching vacancies, one has been filled.

Jaime Mauseth will take over the volleyball head coaching vacancy created when Lisa Deyak resigned as head coach of the varsity volleyball team May 6.

Deyak, who also coaches the boys’ track and field team, resigned after her second stint of coaching the team to spend more time with her children who are both in elementary school.

“With two kids in elementary school its really tough,” Deyak said. “There’s a lot of things as a mom I want to do with my kids.”

Mauseth is a 1999 graduate from Austin High School who played two seasons of volleyball at Riverland Community College. She has spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach with the Albert Lea varsity team, which will make the transition easier for players.

Mauseth, who teaches science at ALHS, spent two years as the head coach in Centerville, Iowa before returning to southern Minnesota.

“I’m really excited to take over the position,” Mauseth said. “I believe in hard work that brings out desired results.”

Mauseth takes over a program that had just two wins last season and one in the midst of rebuilding from the top down.

Deyak worked to initiate a feeder program through summer camps and a youth league that will begin this year. She will still be involved with those programs, she said.

Four seniors from the team graduate this season and the team will return a bulk of its players, including seven juniors.

Mauseth said she would like to build a faster offense, basic skills and confidence.

“I think we have a lot of potential,” Mauseth said. “I think there’s a lot of good athletes coming up.”

Deyak said Mauseth playing experience will be an asset to the team.

“She played college ball which is going to be a huge plus to the program,” Deyak said. “The other thing is she is well connected in the volleyball world. She’ll be able to bring that in and she loves the game of volleyball and that’s the key to success in anything.”