Dave Johnson

February 12, 2014

Award Winning Coaches for the 2013-2014 Season

Section 8 Coach of the Year   Dan Josephson, Detroit Lakes

Dan Josephson is well known as our current Minnesota State High School Nordic Ski Coaches Association president.  Dan’s calm and steady leadership in that role and as a coach of the Detroit Lakes Nordic team for the past 11 years has earned him Section head coach of the year honors.    Dan skied himself on a small co-op team in the early ’90s and began his coaching career as a volunteer in 2002.  Since 2004 Dan has served as a head coach.  His efforts have been recognized by his fellow coaches who appreciate his willingness to take on any job needed to make the skiing experience positive for all involved, whether kids, parents, coaches, or bus drivers.  In addition to running quality events, including managing section meets on top of his normal coaching duties when needed, Dan is an accomplished coach of a smaller team who consistently brings individual skiers to the State Championships.  Dan’s sincere love for Nordic skiing and its promotion among young athletes makes him a worthy candidate of State coach of the year honors.

Section 7 Assistant Coach of the Year  Dave Kask, Duluth East

Dave Kask has been the Assistant Nordic Ski Coach at Duluth East High School since the 2002-2003 ski season.
Dave has cross country skied since his high school days at Roosevelt High School in Minneapolis. His High School Coach, Lars Kindem, was an important influence and mentor who encouraged Dave and his teammates to keep skiing after high school.
Dave went to the University of Minnesota where he started the U of M Cross Country Ski Club in 1975-1976. He also organized the first intramural cross country ski race for the U of M.
He has raced in the Junior Nationals and many ski marathons.
Dave shares a love of skiing and racing with his team. He works countless hours preparing the skiers and their skis so they can compete at their highest level. He helps with all aspects of the Duluth East Ski Team: training plans, daily workouts, race organization and waxing.
Dave helps organize the Duluth East West Yellowstone Trip. That trip is open to all the High School skiers in our region. Dave strongly believes that the faster the area skiers are, the faster his Duluth East skiers will be.
Dave started the “Arrowhead Cup” in 2010. This is a takeoff on the World Cup point scoring for the season. He keeps track of all the Section 7 races and puts out a weekly cumulative result of the skiers in Section 7. Many of the section 7 skiers follow this and look forward to moving up in the “Arrowhead Cup” throughout their high school ski careers.
Highlights in Dave’s career as an Assistant Coach at Duluth East are:
• 2004 – Boys Team State Champion
• 2007 – Girls Team State Champion
• 2011 – Boys Team State Champion
• 2011 – Girls Team State Champion
• 2012 – Girls Team State Champion
• 2013 – Girls Individual State Champion
Dave Kask is a great Assistant Coach for the Duluth East team. He does everything he can to help his skiers race fast while continuing the Duluth East tradition of welcoming all skiers to the team.

Section 7 Volunteer of the Year  Robin Baker, Deer River

I would like to nominate Robin Baker of the Deer River Nordic Teem for volunteer of the year. Robin has been active in silent sports for over 35 years as an athlete, coach and youth mentor. He has been involved in the Deer River Nordic program as a head coach, assistant coach and volunteer for nearly 20 years.

Deer River School district has a high poverty rate and is about as difficult an area to promote a high school Nordic ski team as anyone could imagine. Robin has continually and successfully advocated through conversation with the school district for a program that has been continually considered for termination from the district’s sponsored sports. He has donated or acquired ski equipment to outfit the team so that the financial burden is not an overriding factor in participation. The Deer River team uses Blueberry Hills ski area as its home course and training area. Robin has been virtually the sole groomer for the area for over 20 years. He has worked countless hours through the summer and winter to maintain the trails for the team and public.

He has for many years volunteered as a starter for the Mesabi East Invite, the State Meet and many section meets. Maybe one of the most uncomfortable jobs the ski community has for volunteers. He has been an active member of the local ski club, advocating for equipment and improvements to the trails in Itasca County.

I admire Robin for his lifetime of efforts in sports and youth mentorship and would hope that the High School Nordic Ski association would recognize his efforts.

Tony Carter
Grand Rapids

Although Robin was slightly reimbursed for his Blueberry Hills duties, he spent tireless hours during the summer, fall and winter being sure that the Hills were properly cared for. He picked up sticks, cut fallen trees, hired “crawlers” and “diggers” to come in and change the courses as needed; anything to be sure that the ski trails were as good as they could be. He was a fierce protector of the hills as well. Heaven help anyone who walked, drove, or brought their pet or snowshoes on the groomed track. He was known to follow the tracks of dog sledders or snow shoes to the point of origin in order to have a few words with the culprit who ruined the ski track. He truly lived and breathed the ski trails during the winter. Periodically, people would leave donations because they were so pleased with the impressive grooming job, and he was so proud of that!

Beyond the trail grooming duties that Robin took on, he was even more passionate about making sure the community youth had a chance to enjoy skiing and hopefully turn it into a life long past time. He donated many hours and dollars fixing ski equipment and coaching kids. He waxed skis during his home time in order to have the young skiers ready to race. There was barely a day that went by when he didn’t have someone’s broken pole, ski or boot in the back of his truck, heading home to be fixed in his shop. He was especially aware of disadvantaged youth, and he always went the extra mile to give them a boost.

He was also a big fan of the Birkie/Korte, and he always tried his hardest to find a way to get kids there….not to mention the fact that he enjoyed participating himself. He was also quite the competitor, always wanting to finish in the top 3 places in his age group.

Robin was a friend to all. Everywhere we went, Robin seemed to know everyone! Whether in the skiing, canoeing or running world, he seemed to have friends everywhere. We spent many hours on the bus talking about canoe races, running to and from work, competing in triathlons, marathons, and any other conversation having to do with athletics.

Outside of the athletic realm, Robin frequently donated to organizations within the school system in an effort to help youngsters.

Nomination from Tess Drotts, former Deer River HS Nordic coach