as the Hayfield Vikings take on Esko during the quarterfinal round of the State tournament
on March 20. Photo by Mary Nelson
By David Richards
For 13 years, he's been simply getting better. Hayfield boys basketball coach Chris Pack, fresh off the second state tournament berth of his career, was named Class AA Coach of the Year, March 22. It's the first time he's won it.
"I'm very honored," he said in a recent phone interview. "I owe a lot of credit to the players and the coaches. I certainly wouldn't have received the award if we hadn't made it to state, so the players deserve most of the credit."
Pack was a standout high school player himself, averaging 16 points a game his senior season for Red Rock High School as a shooting guard. He went on to play one year at Southwest Minnesota State and also played baseball all four years in college.
"I scored most of my points on the perimeter," he said of his basketball days.
At Hayfield High School, Pack also coached baseball for four years, before switching completely to basketball. He also teaches math.
"I just like coaching basketball better than baseball," he said. "There's just something about it that's clicked for me.'
As a basketball coach for the Vikings, Pack found success right away, earning a state berth his first year and making it all the way to the championship. Hayfield lost to Kenyon- Wanamingo in the state final that year.
"That season will always hold a special place in my heart," Pack said.
This year was pretty good, too, as Hayfield's team was loaded with weapons. From strong and quick point guard Cole Kruger to inside shooting threats Brady Kramer and Jeremy Stuart to three-point shooter Trevor Anderson, this Vikings squad had it all.
"I thought we were a pretty complete team," Pack said of his squad that finished 25-8.
The Class AA Coach of the Year award is voted on by about 25 other coaches from around the state, and while the present looks pretty good for the Pack family and Hayfield basketball, the future looks pretty good, too.
The coach's four elementary age kids, one girl and three boys, all love the sport.
As for Pack, himself, he has no plans of leaving anytime soon.