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Boys' Basketball: New East Ridge coach has basketball bloodlines

Courtney Brown Jr. is one young talented player who Bryce Tesdahl looks forward to working with next season as the new head coach of the East Ridge boys’ basketball program. Bulletin file photo

East Ridge's new boys' basketball coach has grown up with basketball in his blood.

The Raptors recently named Bryce Tesdahl as the next head coach of the boys' basketball program. With his grandfather Bob McDonald, holding the record for most career boys' basketball head coaching victories in state history, it would be hard not to know the game.

"I'm very fortunate to grow up in a basketball family, it all starts with him," said Tesdahl about his grandfather, who coached 59 years at Chisholm and won 1,012 games.

Tesdahl has coached at New Prague the past two seasons, amassing an overall record of 43-13. The run included two Wright County Conference championships.

"I have quite a few expectations of our kids on and off the floor, and they were able to buy into that," Tesdahl said.

Tesdahl's experience as a high school basketball player took him to a state championship game before he graduated from Crosby-Ironton in 2008. In his senior season, the Rangers won 32 consecutive games on their way to the Class 2A state championship game. But the run was stopped by New London-Spicer, which won 59-51 to earn the 2008 state title.

"It was an unbelievable ride," said Tesdahl, who is 27. "We had a great group of kids, we played for a hall of fame coach Dave Galovich. It was an awesome experience to grow up with those guys."

Tesdahl played Division II basketball at Bemidji State University from 2008 to 2012 before moving on to the University of Minnesota Duluth to be a graduate assistant from 2012 to 2015.

"It provides you with a lot of connections and a lot of experience outside of baseball," Tesdahl said about his time in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. "It was an awesome experience being a student athlete, not a lot of people get to experience that."

Tesdahl is also a part owner of Midwest Elite Basketball, which organizes traveling basketball camps in the state.

Tesdahl said a big draw to the East Ridge job was the quality of facilities at the new high school. He will also be a teacher at East Ridge starting next fall.

Tesdahl mentioned the young talented players who will be returning for East Ridge next season, including Courtney Brown Jr. and Ben Carlson.

After seeing the players firsthand as a coach in a 59-46 win over New Prague against visiting East Ridge last year on Dec. 20, he has an idea of what next year will hold.

"I can't wait to work with the likes of Courtney Brown and Ben Carlson that are obviously getting a lot of attention from high major and mid-major Division I (programs)," Tesdahl said. "But I am a coach, and I am all about the team. "From a perspective of mine, I'm looking forward to working with the whole program."

Blaze Fugina

Blaze Fugina is the sports editor of the Woodbury and South Washington County Bulletin newspapers. Previously, Blaze worked as a sports editor for the Pierce County Herald and a sports reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in May of 2011. You can follow Blaze on Twitter at @BlazeFugina.

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