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Voyageur's Best Sports of 2004

Coach John Hadrich

Hadrich named Minnesota Assistant Coach of the Year
Local teacher and coach recieves coach of the year
by Dennis Meyer  | April 6, 2004

The awards keep piling up for local teams and coaches. The Cromwell girls basketball finished in fourth place in the state tournament, with coach Dave Foster receiving the Section 7A coach of the year award; the McGregor boys basketball team is Section 7A Academic champions; and now we have learned that long-time McGregor teacher and coach John Hadrich has been named the Minnesota boys basketball assistant coach of the year for Class 2A! WOW!

For 24 years John was the head coach in McGregor. In his years there “Hondo’s” teams won well over half of the games played, including a 20 win season (the only two losses that year were to state power Chisholm, the eventual state champions) and back to back undefeated Polar League championships.

Three years ago Coach Hadrich resigned his position and was immediately added to the Esko varsity coaching staff. According to Esko head coach Mike Devney, “This was an absolute no brainer. I could not believe my good fortune. I had coached against him for years. He is one of the most respected coaches in the Polar League and as soon as I heard that John was available I jumped at the chance and asked him to join us. It is one of the best phone calls I have ever made. We’ve been 76-13 in those three years, and Coach Hadrich has been a big, big part of our success.”

Mike went on (and on) with high praise. “At any good high school program the head coach will surround himself with good, loyal assistants and then give them as much responsibility as they can handle. I have done that here. With Hondo it has been easy. He has been in charge of post-player development, defensive coordination, summer league supervisor and summer program coaching. His first year here we were 27-1. Then we were 29-4, and fourth in state his second year. We won 20 games again this year. I am proud af all my assistants, but John has definitely been a main cog in our success. He has a great relationship with the kids. His ability to teach is a definite strength.”

I was able to sit down with Coach Hadrich and chat about the award. “This is really a most humbling experience. There are so many deserving coaches in Minnesota so it is hard to believe that I would be singled out.”

He added. “Hard work pays off. I have always told my teams that good things happen to people that work hard. I love to coach and I enjoy the situation I’m in so it is very easy to work hard at it. Mike (coach Devney) has given me a lot of responsibility and authority, which makes it very rewarding.”

I asked Hondo if this was his coaching highlight. “In a way it is, because it was so unexpected. Coaching at the state tournament last year was also a great joy, as were some of the great teams I coached at McGregor. But really, every year has its highlights, this one just happens to be very special.”

This article first appeared in the April 6, 2004 issue of the Voyageur Press.