The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

November 19, 2013

Bethany's Holzhueter is comfortable around THE KIDS

Vikings feature young coach, young squad

Jacob Wensmann was a freshman on the Bethany Lutheran men’s basketball bench, he remembers a little bit about that senior point guard from Martin Luther, Greg Holzhueter.

“I just remember that he was on the top of our scouting report,” Wensmann said.

Three years later, Holzhueter is Wensmann’s coach at Bethany. Holzhueter has made a surprisingly quick transformation from player to coach, with a team that has about as much on-court experience as he does.

“He’s only a couple years older than me,” Wensmann said. “but it doesn’t really matter. He’s the coach, he’s the leader. It’s a little different, but age doesn’t matter.”

The Vikings opened the season Friday with a 86-64 loss at St. Olaf and play their home-opener at 7 p.m. at Gustavus Adolphus. There is so much that’s new with the Vikings this season that it might take some time for the new coach and the young players to find their rhythm.

“For a young team on the road, it would have been easy for our kids to be intimidated,” Holzhueter said. “But we were the aggressor early, and it was a tied game with four minutes left in the first half. We need to learn to match the other team’s intensity, but the kids never quit.”

It’s kind of funny to hear Holzhueter, 25, refer to the “kids,” all of whom are within seven years of him. He graduated from Martin Luther in 2011 and worked under former Bethany coach Dave Balza last season. When Balza took another job this summer, Holzhueter was hired.

“It’s been really exciting,” he said. “It was an unexpected opportunity to take this job, and it’s been intense. The workload is greater when you’re the head coach, but this is always what I wanted to do. I’ve got great people around me that have supported, and I’m confident and comfortable in this role.”

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