Former Cardinal Matt Hoelscher gets his first head coaching job in Osakis

Alexandria’s Matt Hoelscher said he wants to be a head coach until he’s retired from teaching some day.

If that’s the case, the former Cardinal three-sport athlete will have a lot of years under his belt when he’s done after accepting his first head coaching position at the age of 31 with the Osakis boys’ basketball team.

Matt Hoelscher

Hoelscher turned down an opportunity to coach the Parkers Prairie boys program a couple years ago because of the commute and his desire to coach in the school he taught in. Ten-year head coach Chris Stroup’s resignation after this past season opened that door for Hoelscher, and it was one he was happy to walk through.

“Extremely excited,” he said of getting this opportunity. “I told the kids the other day, Stroup gave me some of last year’s game film. I was watching Eden Valley-Watkins. That’s our first game of the year, I think it’s at the end of November. I was already watching their film, just looking for tendencies¬†and scouting…I’m just extremely excited.”

Hoelscher is a 2000 graduated of Jefferson High School where he played basketball, football and baseball. He spent a year trying to walk on to the men’s basketball team at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall before transferring to St. Cloud State to play baseball for the Huskies.

Hoelscher will be entering his fifth year teaching U.S. and world history in the Osakis School District this fall. He has had assistant coaching jobs with the Silverstreaks football and baseball teams, while also coaching the Osakis boys and girls 7th-grade basketball teams last winter.

Hoelscher also spent six seasons as an assistant coach for the Melrose boys basketball program under head coach Ryan Dusha. All of his time spent as an assistant was done with the hopes of someday soon getting an opportunity to lead his own program.

“My last couple years in Melrose, Dusha was grooming me to be a head coach someday,” Hoelscher said. “He knew that was my goal. [Osakis activities director] Brad Hoffarth, Chris Stroup, they all knew that was my plan.”

Hoelscher said he wants his teams to play an uptempo style on offense and to pressure teams in the full court on defense. He also knows the team’s ability to do that will have a lot to do with the personnel he has at his disposal.

Hoelscher will be taking over an Osakis roster that returns Doug and Ky Zimmel as the only two players with previous varsity experience. That is a hurdle to overcome in his first season, but he liked the energy his players showed in a recent three-day camp he held in Osakis.

“Game-time situations, no timeouts left, I’m expecting there’s going to be some hiccups,” he said. “But what I’ve seen so far, we’ve scrimmaged a lot of teams this summer, and I know when I have more than those three days, there’s a lot of things I saw on film when we scrimmaged Henning, I know once we work on them, we’re going to get some good looks.”

It’s an Osakis team that is coming off a 7-19 season after winning just two games in 2010-2011. The Silverstreaks had won seven straight Prairie Conference titles before that. That’s exactly where Hoelscher hopes to get them back to in the future.

“First year, I’m not expecting to go to the state tournament and win it,” he said. “Just kind of build off of each year. We want to get back to competing for the conference championship. When Stroup won it all those years in a row. That’s our goal, get up there and try to compete.”