Former NDSU coach, Erv Inniger, has made Park Christian a force to be reckoned with on the courtMoorhead, MN (WDAY TV) – When Park Christian approached Erv Inniger about coaching its boys basketball team they knew he had been away from the bench for over twenty years. But they also knew his insight and intensity for the game never went away.
By: Jody Norstedt, WDAY
Moorhead, MN (WDAY TV) – When Park Christian approached Erv Inniger about coaching its boys basketball team they knew he had been away from the bench for over twenty years. But they also knew his insight and intensity for the game never went away.
Prior to this season, Erv Inniger had never watched a Park Christian basketball game.
Coincidentally, none of his Falcon players had seen him coach, in fact some didn't even know who he was.
Jared Olsgaard/Park Christian Sr. Guard: “My parents told me to go home and look him up and I saw that he was a pretty successful head coach, so I was really excited.”
Duncan Hannestad/Park Christian Sr. Guard: “My first thought was really, isn't that the guy from NDSU that my Dad really wanted to play for in high school?”
Inniger left NDSU in 1991 as the program's all-time winningest coach.
But, his return to the bench leading Park Christian this winter is proof that his passion for the game hasn't gone anywhere.
Erv Inniger/Park Christian Head Coach: “My wife even told the administration do you know what you're getting? And I made that very clear. I said guys this is the way I am. I am competitive no matter what game I play to this day I'm going to come at you trying to tear your head off.”
In a sport known for its adjustments. That has certainly been the key for the Falcons, a young group of players getting adjusted to a coach that last coached 21 years ago.
Hannestad: “Being here at 6 am in the summer during open gym and getting yelled at for the first week. We haven't even met the guy and he's getting after us already in the morning.”
Olsgaard: “He will never let up on us and he wants the most potential out of us that he can get.”
Inniger: “I have probably gotten more out of them teaching me than they've gotten out of me. I can't believe some of the things that they're doing right now. I just see them getting better and better and better. That's unbelievably rewarding.”
Inniger's signature tough love, has paid off.
Park Christian is 11-2 and on the verge of being ranked in state.
Hunter Nickel/Park Christian Sr. Forward: “We are definitely still learning from our coach. He has been a blessing to us. It has just been an honor being under his wing.”
Inniger will coach just this season, and then assistant coach Josh Lee is expected to take over next year, the Falcons have a showdown with Oak Grove next week.