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Bismarck Tribune Online - Bismarck, ND
After 27 years of coaching basketball, John Backhaus felt it was time for a break.
After a six-year break, Backhaus
felt it was time to get back into coaching.
The long-time Garrison coach is making a comeback of sorts this season, resuming a career that now spans four decades.Although the Troopers have opened the 2004-05 campaign with losses to Berthold and Parshall, Backhaus
is thrilled to be back.
didn't intend on returning to coaching after he
resigned following the 1997-98 season.He continued to teach at Garrison High School and was an assistant football coach (until 2000), but was not involved in the school's basketball program.
...Backhaus said the school's athletic director offered him the job after receiving a letter and petition from parents and boosters asking him to do so.
After giving the matter some thought, Backhaus
accepted the job in October.
"To be honest, it wasn't an easy decision to make early on," he
has certainly made his
mark in Garrison
, where he
began coaching boys basketball in 1975 after five years in Rolla.In 22 seasons (he didn't coach in 1984-85), his
teams won 310 games and appeared in the 1976 and 1993 state tournaments, placing fourth and seventh, respectively.
Backhaus' next victory will be the 400th of his
career, which would make him one of the few North Dakota high school basketball coaches to have achieved that milestone.
"The state tournaments are definitely the highlights of my career," he
said."As for getting the 400th win, that would be nice, especially now.But I give a lot of the credit to the kids for the other 399.I've coached a lot of good athletes over the years.They made it happen."Backhaus
, a former Linton High School basketball standout who played in three state tournaments (1964-1966), has seen numerous changes in Class B boys basketball since he
entered the coaching ranks in 1970.Declining enrollment is responsible for several, like fewer schools, fewer teams and fewer districts.
"It's sad to see, but those are the times we live in," said Backhaus
, who also excelled at Jamestown College
Garrison home page
It's been 20 years since former Garrison boys' basketball Head Coach John Backhaus stepped onto the court to conduct his first basketball camp.Twenty years later, he is enjoying it as much as ever, and is still getting satisfaction from seeing kids learn the basics of the game he loves.
The former Linton Lions and Jamestown College Jimmies star said that the reason he
began the camps was because he
could see local players were not attending basketball camps.
"Out-of-town camps were expensive," he
said."And our program was in trouble at that point."