By BRAD SALMEN
COKATO – Tony Dehler has been chosen as the new Dassel-Cokato head boys basketball coach.
DC Activities Director Perry Thinesen announced the hire to the media Thursday, May 7.
Dehler, a teacher and coach in the DC school district for 10 years, will replace Dave Chvojicek, who announced his retirement last month after 11 seasons as head basketball coach.
In his retirement announcement, Chvojicek said the good Lord was leading him in a different season in his life.
“It was a hard decision, and one that I wrestled with for quite some time,” Chvojicek said. “I really enjoyed getting to know the kids, the competition, and staying involved with a sport I love.”
Thinesen said a search committee comprised of himself and several DC head coaches interviewed seven different candidates, both internal and external, for the position.
What impressed the committee most about Dehlen was his growth as a coach over the past 10 years, his dedication, and his relationship with the DC school district and community.
“The committee felt Tony brought a lot to the table. He has over a decade of experience coaching at different levels and in different sports,” said Thinesen. “He has built great relationships with the kids and families involved with basketball. He is passionate, and hardworking.
“He is also a teacher in our system, so he is able to have daily contact with the basketball players. This is often overlooked, but is very important, and something we have been lacking throughout our entire boys basketball program for several years,” Thinesen said. “I have really seen great growth in Tony over the past few years, and we think he is ready to take on the challenge of building the boys basketball program.”
Dehler grew up in Collegeville, MN, about two miles from St. John’s University.
He went to St. John’s Prep HS, and attended St. John’s University.
He started coaching when he was 18, and has been coaching ever since for the past 15 years, including basketball, football, and baseball, at levels ranging from 7th grade to varsity.
At DC, he has coached in the girls basketball program for four years, the football program for seven years, and the baseball program for three.
This past season, he was the assistant boys varsity coach under Chvojicek.
Chvojicek endorsed Dehler as his replacement.
“I think Tony will bring passion and energy to the job, which will serve DC student-athletes well,” he said.
When asked about his varsity coaching philosophy, Dehler said first and foremost he plans on providing his athletes with a positive environment, built on team unity and respect.
“I want all the boys to learn what it means to be a positive and productive teammate, and to develop into solid young men,” he said.
As for the on-court system he prefers, he said it depends heavily on the athletes on the team.
However, he said, in general he likes to play an up-tempo, high energy, spread-style offense with a lot of shooting and aggressive play.
“I like athletes who have a scorer mentality, and aren’t afraid to take shots and be a threat,” Dehler said.
Dehler will inherit a team that went 6-19 last season, with four of the top-five scorers graduating.
Despite the departing talent, Dehler said next season promises to be a fun one.
“I am extremely excited about this upcoming season. It will be fun to see how the returning guys step up and mesh with the younger talent we have coming up,” Dehler said. “As for expectations, I expect all the teams in our program to play fast, aggressive, and with 100% every night.
“I want my guys going into every game with the mentality that we could beat anyone, on any given night, if we play our game,” he said.