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Hoek brings 'positive energy' to DWU sideline: Tiger golf coach assisting with women’s team

Tom Hoek's passion for basketball never left. Now in his second year as the Dakota Wesleyan University golf coach, Hoek would occasionally watch the women's basketball team practice in his spare time. It eventually sparked a conversation between ...

Dakota Wesleyan University assistant coach Tom Hoek talks to guard Kynedi Cheeseman (30) while Makeala Karst, left, and DWU assistant coach Celeste Beck watch the action during the Tigers game against Morningside earlier this month at the Corn Palace. (Matt Gade / Republic)
Dakota Wesleyan University assistant coach Tom Hoek talks to guard Kynedi Cheeseman (30) while Makeala Karst, left, and DWU assistant coach Celeste Beck watch the action during the Tigers game against Morningside earlier this month at the Corn Palace. (Matt Gade / Republic)

Tom Hoek's passion for basketball never left.

Now in his second year as the Dakota Wesleyan University golf coach, Hoek would occasionally watch the women's basketball team practice in his spare time. It eventually sparked a conversation between he and head coach Jason Christensen about joining the coaching staff as an assistant coach, which came into fruition this season.

"He just brings a lot of positive energy," Christensen said. "I've known Tom for a lot of years and he's a basketball junkie. Not only is he a heck of a golf coach, but he loves the game of basketball. He just brings another flair, another set of eyes to look at things."

His role with the basketball team is straightforward-help in any way he can. Hoek said he likes to break down film and prides himself on being a defensive-minded coach.

He also helped "keep the sanity where it needed to be," according to Christensen, when he was forced to miss a few games due to health reasons.

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Hoek's positive energy is evident around the team, as well, with DWU guard Rylie Osthus saying, "I love the energy he brings to our team. It's nice to have him on our bench. He's such a knowledgeable person about basketball and I know the girls love him."

However, the busy schedule leads to a balancing act for Hoek, who has a wife and three children at home, along with the start of golf practice overlapping with the end of basketball season. It helps that he and Christensen have an understanding that his family comes first, which is why he won't travel with the team to Morningside College on Saturday, though coaching still keeps him busy.

This time of the year, Hoek's coaching schedule consists of swing practice in the morning and basketball and another swing practice in the afternoon. He credits assistants Russell Pick and Chas Hurd for keeping the golf team afloat when he misses a couple hours of practice, but the team won't have to travel until late March.

It keeps him busy, but Hoek wouldn't want it any other way.

"There's always that delicate balance, but if you care about it, you'll make time for it," he said. "Golf is my full-time job and that's not going to change, but I'm having a lot of fun with the basketball team ... Then you got family time, but what's great about it is that's DWU. They encompass your family."
Hoek was part of DWU prior to coaching. He graduated in 2008 with a degree in history education after a successful golf career which saw him become a two-time first team all-GPAC golfer and PING/GCAA Midwest all-region player as a senior.

After graduating, he immediately got into coaching, citing his love for the camaraderie and intensity of basketball. He ended up spending two years as Ethan's assistant boys coach before taking over as the boys head basketball coach of his hometown De Smet for six years.

Building relationships with players has been his favorite part of coaching, which includes developing a friendship with Osthus and her family while at De Smet.

"Our families are really close together and it's pretty special," Osthus said. "It's like almost having another dad, basically, here to watch over you and bring home to you, so it's pretty cool."

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As an assistant again, Hoek said there's a lot less pressure and he enjoys being able to help players work on fundamentals rather than focusing on the Xs and Os. He's also content with his current roles in golf and basketball, saying he doesn't envision himself becoming a head basketball coach again.

"I'm happy with this role here, especially being the head coach in golf," he said. "It's a great side gig. I feel extremely fortunate just to be part of this program and help out with whatever I can."

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