New Basketball Coach Optimistic for Future

Coach Stephen Dale fills his new team in on his plans for the future on Monday, April 4, 2016. (Photo by Nick Ashton)

Coach Stephen Dale fills his new team in on his plans for the future on Monday, April 4, 2016. (Photo by Nick Ashton)

(COVINGTON, La.) — As students wound down from their first day back at school from Easter holidays, the St. Paul’s basketball team made their way into the new gym to begin a new era.

“Today is the first day that I am aggressively going to get ready for next year,” new basketball Head Coach Stephen Dale said to his team. “We’re going to be very organized… we will have an avenue for you year-round to get better, whether that’s in the gym (or) the weight room.”

Players looked on as they had one of their first encounters with their new team leader. Dale outlined his plan for success at St. Paul’s, one not just limited to playing ball.

Coach Phil Williams looks on as Coach Craig Ketelsen and Coach Dale address the team. (Photo by Nick Ashton)

Coach Phil Williams looks on as Coach Craig Ketelsen and Coach Dale address the team. (Photo by Nick Ashton)

“We obviously don’t know each other very well, but my goal for us is to quickly start forming a relationship,” Dale said. “I want to be in that circle of people that you go to when you have a problem, when you need advice, (or) when there’s something great about your life. That’s not something that’s going to happen tomorrow, but that’s something that we’re going to continue to work on.”

A Rummel alumnus of 2004, Dale was hired over the Easter holidays to help lead the Basketball Wolves to continued success after the legendary season spearheaded by retiring coach Phil Williams.

“I went to Catholic schools all my life,” Dale said, “so St. Paul’s is… a program that I’ve always admired and a school that I’ve always admired.”

Dale’s plan involves less of an overhaul and more of a continued stewardship of greatness.

“This program is in great shape,” Dale said. “If you win 31 games in a row, you’re obviously doing something right. So part of my job is to simply come in and evaluate what’s been working and try to build upon that success.”

Although players will take time to adjust to a new man at the helm, Dale says their ferocious style of play will largely be unaffected.

“Offensively and defensively, I really admire the system that Coach Williams has run over here,” Dale said. “I think there are more similarities than there are differences (in our systems). While some of the terminology may change for the players, the actions and the systems will probably have a lot of similarities.”

Coach Ketelsen and Coach Dale oversee the players filling out sheets that will help Dale get to know his players better. (Photo by Nick Ashton)

Coach Ketelsen and Coach Dale oversee the players filling out sheets that will help Dale get to know his players better. (Photo by Nick Ashton)

Transitioning into a new age of St. Paul’s basketball is something that Dale aims to pull off seamlessly.

“My job right now, more than x’s and o’s, is to just start to get to know these guys and gain their trust,” Dale said. “Once we’ve got that foundational relationship where we know we’re mutually committed to one another, then we can start working on basketball.”

Going forward, Dale’s arrival in Covington is a sign of continued good fortune for the Basketball Wolves. The legacy that Dale is following is one of greatness, and Dale will aim for nothing less.

“(I) really want everybody to know how excited and happy I am to be here,” Dale said. “I’m committed to this place long term. I told Mr. Watkins in the interview that my intention is for them to never have to make this hire again. I’m not going anywhere. This is not a stop on the road for me; this is the destination. I’m really fortunate to be in this position, and I’m excited to get working.”

Coach Dale stays after his meeting to meet and greet players. (Photo by Nick Ashton)

Coach Dale stays after his meeting to meet and greet players. (Photo by Nick Ashton)

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