New faces in Dordt Basketball programs

Sawyer Strelnieks–Staff Writer

Both Dordt basketball teams gained new head coaches this year. Coach Bill Harmsen with the women’s team, and Coach Brian Van Haaften with the men’s team.

Coach Harmsen has 25 years of coaching under his belt, including 2 years as a college men’s assistant coach. He led both the men’s and women’s programs at Western Christian High School to state titles during his time there.


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“Those years have certainly molded me into a better coach, understanding not only the nature and changes of the game of basketball”, Harmsen said, “But also serving the needs of my players both on and off the court”.

Coach Van Haaften served as the men’s head coach at Buena Vista University for 22 years. Holding overall record of 414-188, he compiled six, 20-win seasons in a row at Buena Vista from 2000-2005.

With both individuals bringing their own coaching style to Dordt, the men’s and women’s programs are looking forward to a season of fast-paced play with high expectations as they take on each opponent on their schedule.

“I am rejuvenated with the new job”, Van Haaften said. “After being a head college coach for 22 years, you always have the chance to draw from past experience in different situations. Coaching is coaching, but experience is always a helper at different times of the season”.

The men’s program has many returning players this year, along with an experienced coaching staff. Everyone put work in the offseason, with many staying in Sioux Center throughout the summer to train four days a week as a team.

Under Coach Harmsen’s new direction, the women’s program is changing their style of play this year. Harmsen looks to lead a fast-paced team that pushes the ball up the court and gets open shots along the arc.

bball1.jpg“Getting back into the fast-paced style at first seemed out of control”, said Ebby Prewitt, a junior Biology major. “But if you drive 100mph long enough, pretty soon it starts to feel like 50mph”.

Along with coaching a fast-paced game, Harmsen puts in the time with each individual player. He knows how to get the best out of everyone by getting on those who make mistakes, but also celebrating with those who overcome obstacles.

Dordt’s basketball programs had roughly 3 weeks of preseason workouts and 5 weeks of practices before their first games this past Saturday at Waldorf. The men’s team came back with a 72-61 win over the Warriors and the women’s team left with an 87-69 win.

“This preseason is my third preseason at Dordt, with a third new coach”, said Payton Harmsen, junior Elementary Education major. “Each year has been extremely different in how we’ve gone about preseason because of each new coach’s coaching style. I’m excited to show the Dordt community what we’ve been working on all summer”.

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