Mitchell picks Dave Brooks as new Kernel girls basketball coach

Brooks, an assistant for five seasons for the Kernels, moves to top bench job

Mitchell High School girls basketball coaches Dave Brooks and McKenzie Mertens look on during a game against Pierre on Friday, January 14, 2022 at the Corn Palace.
Mitchell Republic file photo

MITCHELL — Mitchell High School has hired Dave Brooks as the Kernels' new girls basketball coach, the school announced on Friday.

Brooks, who has been an assistant girls basketball coach for five seasons, will replace Cole Knippling, who left the post to become an administrator at the Parkston School District.

In the midst of officially receiving his first head coaching job, Brooks said he's apprehensive about the opportunity.

"I'm pretty anxious about the opportunity and it's a new territory for me, but it's nice to know that we'll have our other assistant coaches there beside me," Brooks said. "Cole (Knippling) left a system that we will continue to implement and even though I don't anticipate many changes, it'll be different with being the head coach rather than an associate."

MHS Activities Director Cory Aadland and Brooks spoke during the first week of June about the possibility of Brooks being the Kernels' next head coach. Brooks took a couple of days to think on his decision and ultimately decided it was time to take this next step in his coaching career. He said part of that confidence comes from knowing the players and his fellow coaches.


"For the girls, it's a lot of familiarity," Brooks said. "Certainly, it's a big deal going from Cole to me, but good, bad or indifferent, at least they know me. As for me, I really enjoy coaching and working with the kids is always great, so this is a great opportunity to stick with this system and program. I appreciate Wes Morgan getting me involved years ago and I appreciate Cole keeping me on the staff throughout the years."

Brooks, an MHS alum who is the son of former longtime Kernel coach, teacher and administrator Bob Brooks, has been among the girls basketball coaches who have helped run the program's summer schedule and camps in the interim period while the school district sought a coach.

"He is a well-respected coach within both the program and our entire athletic department, made evident by him being awarded the Mitchell High School assistant coach of the year for the 2021-2022 school year," Aadland said in a statement. "Coach Brooks brings a passion and continuity that make him a great choice to be our next head girls basketball coach.”

When asked about the difference in coaching styles, Brooks said he's not a fiery guy, but he brings a laid back, calmer demeanor that he feels will serve the team well.

Knippling, who announced his resignation on March 27, 2022, was 33-33 in three seasons, with an appearance in the 2021 Class AA state tournament. In 2022, the Kernels were 9-12 and seeded No. 10 in the Class AA postseason, falling in the SoDak 16 game to Sioux Falls Lincoln by five points.

In the last five seasons, spanning back to Wes Morgan's tenure as head coach, the Kernels have been 54-57 with two trips to the Class AA state tournament.

The Kernels will have open gym at 8 a.m. Monday, where Brooks will address members of the team for the first time as their new head coach.

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