Fredrickson helped team keep faith

Published 2:26 pm Saturday, March 26, 2011

Glenville-Emmons coach Dan Fredrickson speaks with his players this season at Glenville High School. -- Andrew Dyrdal/Albert Lea Tribune

2011 Coach of the Year

GLENVILLE — Though he’ll return no starters next season off this year’s Southeast Conference championship team, Glenville-Emmons coach Dan Fredrickson is excited about his team’s future.

That’s because during the Wolverine’s 21-win season, a packed Glenville High School gym was filled with wide-eyed 11- and 12-year-olds watching the team’s high octane offense and in-your-face defense.

“All the sixth- and seventh-graders talk about these guys,” Fredrickson said. “The excitement and buzz in the program these guys created will be felt years down in the road. It’s pretty amazing and I think it’s going to pay off.”

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Fredrickson expected this season to be special. After finishing 18-7 last year and returning four of five starters, Fredrickson thought the Wolverines would finish in the top three of the Southeast Conference, along with Lanesboro and Spring Grove. How those top three teams finished, he didn’t know, until the Wolverines played their first game, a 64-47 thrashing of Spring Grove.

“After we handled Spring Grove I thought ‘We’re for real,’” Fredrickson said. “I thought we were a really solid team and could capture the conference title.”

Then the team’s best player, Peter Hansen, was lost to a broken ankle four games into the season and the dynamics of the team were changed.

“It affected team morale right away,” Fredrickson said.

Hansen had been the senior group’s point guard since fourth grade. There wasn’t a backup. Still, Fredrickson had to lean on his seniors to absorb the loss.

“I let the guys know we lost a brother,” Fredrickson said. “Somebody went down but we got to keep this thing rolling. We have to finish this thing out no matter what lineup.”

The team responded and won the next 10 games without Hansen.

Losing his point guard challenged Fredrickson, though.

“We had to revamp our offense,” he said. “I thought ‘What’s our next best strength?’ We had Tyler Woodside down low and Andrew Lau playing inside/outside. Andrew relished that role and became a go-to player.”

Fredrickson also said he told his players to do the things they could control and forget about the things they couldn’t.

“We couldn’t control if our shots were going in,” Fredrickson said. “We could control our rebounding effort, and we outrebounded everybody.”

The Wolverines began the season with 14 consecutive wins and appeared to be on cruise control toward a SEC title. Going for win No. 15, a near lock against Hope Lutheran on Jan. 28, a team they beat by 44 points early in the season, the Wolverines hit a bump in the road.

“The train derailed and rolled off the track that night,” Fredrickson said. “That was our lowest moment of the season.”

Hope Lutheran beat Glenville-Emmons 40-37, sinking their dreams of an undefeated season. Suddenly, the race atop the Southeast Conference tightened and the Wolverines had to play second-place Spring Grove the following night.

The Wolverines regrouped and beat Spring Grove 66-47, sending a message that they were the conference’s top team.

“Right then I knew we had this thing,” Fredrickson said.

Fredrickson was right, and the Wolverines didn’t lose another conference game on the season, squeaking out the championship over Spring Grove by one game.

Fredrickson said his team’s home crowd help fuel their championship run.

“The energy was amazing,” he said. “When you score a bucket and the crowd’s going crazy it’s a little easier to get fired up on defense.”

Fredrickson considers himself an approachable coach who’s focused on the court.

“I’m loose in the locker room and on the bus,” he said. “But when it comes time to put in the work that’s when they see a different side of me.

“I like interacting with the players every day. It’s not the loss that hurts but the seniors not coming back.”

Fredrickson also attributed the team’s success to his assistant coaches, Ranger Hall and Lon Voss’ dedication.

“They did a great job helping out the last couple of years,” Fredrickson said. “Both those guys do a really nice job on the bench.”