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Albert Lea boys’ basketball names interim head coach

The Albert Lea varsity basketball program announced Oct. 29 the hiring of new head boys’ basketball coach Spencer Dahl.

Dahl is a 2006 graduate of Albert Lea and has been an assistant in the program since 2016.

Spending time as a coach in the Albert Lea YMCA program, outside AAU programs and as an assistant on the girls’ soccer team since 2015, Dahl is no stranger to working with student-athletes.

Dahl actually got his start coaching when he was a junior in high school. Not wanting to sit on the bench for much of his junior and senior seasons, Dahl decided not to go out his junior year. Head coach at the time, Matt Addington reached out to Dahl to find out why. When Addington learned why Dahl decided not to come out, Addington offered him a volunteer assistant coaching job on one of the younger teams.

“It’s a dream come true,” Dahl said. “This is what I wanted to do. I love my job that I have and doing other stuff but head coach of Albert Lea basketball is like the president’s role to me. This is like a dream come true to me with all the pride that I have in the program.”

Dahl described his coaching style as highly passionate and intense. He said he’s not one to just sit back and watch the athletes play. He will be animated on the sideline, yelling out plays and things he sees.

The boys’ basketball season is slated to start Nov. 23 and the first game can be held on Dec. 3.

Though he doesn’t know exactly what they might be yet, Dahl said he’s sure the season will have some challenges related to the pandemic.

“There will be things where I know how they usually go but we’ll have to do them a little bit more carefully,” Dahl said. “You have to even stay spaced out. Those things you’re used to are probably going to be on a learning curve whether you’re a first-year head coach or a 10th-year head coach.”

Albert Lea is coming off one of its best boys’ basketball seasons in a long time. The Tigers were 13-13 and on their way to the section championship before COVID cut the season short.

Despite losing nearly the entire varsity roster to graduation, Dahl is confident the team is still on the upswing.

“I think a lot of people are going to write us off,” Dahl said. “They’re going to think last year was our moment and now we’re the Albert Lea they used to know. My goal is to be in the game down to the wire in multiple games. We’re going to make mistakes and we’re going to learn from them.

“But definitely my goal is to show up and we’re going to be committed and probably catch some people by surprise if we check all of our boxes.”

Despite the interim title, Dahl said he is looking at it like he’s going to be around for much longer than just one year.

“I’m looking at this team in the big picture,” Dahl said. “I applied because I’m not going anywhere. I’m Albert Lea through and through and these are my roots. This program is really important to me.

“As my time as head coach, I’m looking at the future. I’m not overlooking this year, but I’m looking at the big picture. Not just how to make it through this season.”

As the schedule is now, the Albert Lea boys’ basketball season is slated to begin Dec. 5 with a game against Rochester Century. The first home game is scheduled for Dec. 10 against Owatonna.

About Tyler Julson

Tyler Julson covers sports for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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