DSU hires Graupe as women's basketball coach
After three weeks of searching, the Dickinson State athletics department has found its new women's basketball head coach.
On Friday, DSU officially announced the hiring of Mark Graupe as the interim coach for the 2013-14 season. This hire comes after former head coach Caleb Harrison resigned earlier in the month due to issues renewing his visa.
"Mark is someone who is very familiar to basketball in North Dakota because of the time he has spent not only at Lake Region State College but he spent time at Williston High School, so he's very familiar with the state," DSU athletic director Tim Daniel said. "He has Division I experience, he was at Colorado State ... We had some familiarity with Mark."
Graupe, a Crosby native, last coached in 2009-10 as the interim men's basketball head coach for Dartmouth College (N.H.). Prior to that, Graupe spent a year with Colorado State after having seven successful seasons Lake Region State College. In 2007 and 2008, he won the National Junior College Athletic Association Region 13 title with his men's teams. He also earned the regional coach of the year honors both seasons.
Before coaching college, Graupe spent two seasons coaching boys basketball at Williston High School, four at Devils Lake High School and six at Unity High School, now known as Dakota Prairie. While at Unity, Graupe spent three of the six years with the girls' team as well.
After three years of absence from coaching, Graupe is eager to get back into the court with DSU.
"I'm excited," Graupe said. "There's a lot of new faces on the team but sometimes that isn't all bad when you have a new coach so I'm looking forward to that. Everyone's got to learn a new system and my system will be different."
Graupe's coaching style is one which has worked well for him with both men's and women's basketball and at all levels.
"I try to give the players a little bit of ownership and I've been doing that for quite a while where you'll see our girls huddle up and I let them call the plays," Graupe said. "I try to do all my teaching in practice and then I have enough confidence in them that they kind of feel for what's going on ... They'll also be calling their defense once in a while."
Practices will be run differently as well. To keep up the motivation, Graupe creates an "ultra-competitive" atmosphere where instead of just running drills with fundamentals -- he tries to incorporate competition into each drill by keeping scores and having winning and losing teams. Teams which win get a free pass out of condition at the end of practices. Graupe said his teams in the past loved the setup of practices and were always excited to go to practice.
"Mark's a great tactician of the game he really knows the game, studies the game, spends a lot of time with the X's and O's part of the game but that's only partly what makes him a great coach," Daniel said. "He has a great rapport with the athletes. He does an outstanding job being able to convey what he wants to accomplish on the floor to his athletes and that's crucial."
Between Harrison's abrupt resignation and the death of sophomore power forward Janae Moore in August, the team has been through some tough times. Graupe's goal for this year is to let his team have fun, relax and find ways to succeed.
"I want to make this year a real enjoyable year," Graupe said. "There's been some hiccups of course with the Janae deal and then a coaching change, so these girls have been through quite a bit. I just want to make it a great experience for them I think you can count on us playing hard."