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WHS: Meyer, Olsen win coaching positions

WORTHINGTON — The winter athletic seasons are still a long way off, but Worthington High School has filled two varsity coaching positions with cold weather in mind.

Paul Olsen, a longtime Worthington presence on the hockey scene, will take over the Trojans’ varsity boys hockey program for 2014-15. And Clint Meyer, after seven years assisting boys basketball at WHS, is the new head varsity coach in that sport.

Worthington High School athletic director Josh Dale said Thursday that both new coaches were hired for their leadership skills and their ability to teach “life skills” that go beyond the sport.

Meyer was offered the boys basketball position on Tuesday. He spent last season as an assistant under first-year head coach Jared Keaveny, who did not have his teaching position extended after the Trojans struggled through a 9-15 campaign.

“After we interviewed three candidates, we felt like Clint was in the best position to be leading the program at this time,” said Dale, who sees Meyer as a coach who can build players’ character.

“I think he has those qualities. Coaching high school basketball, everybody knows the x’s and the o’s, but we believe Clint has extra characteristics that we feel can help these kids on and off the floor,” Dale said.

Meyer graduated from Worthington High School in 1999 and was named four times to the All-Southwest Conference team and three times first-team to the Daily Globe All-Area team. From high school, he went on to play at Southwest Minnesota State University-Marshall where in his freshman year his team qualified for the Elite Eight.

Meyer lived for nearly three years in Delaware before returning to Worthington where he coached the ninth-grade boys basketball team for one year, the junior varsity squad for three and served as a varsity assistant for three years.

Before coaching in Worthington, Meyer said he had been out of basketball for a few years and he missed it.

Having been a player for four years under longtime WHS head coach Ron Vorwald, and after serving under Vorwald as an assistant, local fans should not be surprised to hear Meyer say he’ll stress defense as a head coach.

“I want to get back to the Trojan calling card,” he said Thursday.

The 2013-14 campaign, Meyer admits, was a “roller-coaster season,” and several key seniors have graduated. Meyer says he’ll “need to find some guys to step up” to fill in around the return of two key players — Will Mulder and Oliver Wolyniec.

Olsen will take over the boys hockey program from Nate Grimmius, who stepped down after leading a 2013-14 team that won just two games. Whereas Meyer does not work in the school district, Olsen teaches science.

The science of winning hockey is easily understandable, says Olsen.

“At this level here, you just have to develop the skills. They know the game,” he said Thursday afternoon.

Olsen coached the boys high school hockey program in its beginning stages for three years in the late 1990s. He also coached mini-mites, squirts and bantams. During the 2013-14 season, he coached the bantams — meaning he coached several players who are on the high school team today.

These days, varsity boys hockey numbers a little bit down. Olsen believes the way to build them up requires a “constant plan” and teamwork throughout the Worthington Hockey Association.

His goal for the Trojans are as straightforward as his philosophy about hockey in general. “I just want to get them back to where we’re starting to be competitive again,” he said.

Doug Wolter

Doug Wolter is the Daily Globe sports editor. He served as sports reporter, then sports editor, news editor and finally managing editor at the Daily Globe for 22 years before leaving for seven years to work as night news editor at the Mankato Free Press in Mankato. Doug now lives in Worthington with his wife, Sandy. They have three children and seven grandchildren. Doug, retired after a lengthy career in fast-pitch softball, enjoys reading, strumming his acoustic guitar and hanging around his grandchildren. He also writes books on fiction. Two of his stories, "The Genuine One" and "The Old Man in Section 129" have been distributed through a national publisher.

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