Prischmann a true role modelPublished 10:51am Thursday, October 25, 2012
Many young athletes in Fergus Falls look to professional athletes, former players or older siblings as role models for their sport.
But there is one man that has helped change the landscape of youth sports in recent years and left a lasting impression on the players, coaches and parents that he works with: Dan Prischmann.
Known as “Prisch” by former players, Prischmann heads both the youth football program and the Babe Ruth baseball program in Fergus Falls.
Growing up as a farm kid in Elizabeth, Prischmann wasn’t given any formal instruction in sports until he came to the Fergus Falls School District in eighth grade. As a strong, energetic and athletic kid, Prishmann’s first experience being coached on a team was life changing. “I ate it up like a plate of spaghetti,” he said. “I couldn’t believe how much fun I was having.”
After graduating, Prischmann began a career as a Minnesota State Trooper in 1972. He started in the Twin Cities before moving to New Prague in 1977 and finally returning to work in Fergus Falls in 1979.
Prischmann began coaching in 1999, when then head football and baseball coach Phil Link hired him on as a junior varsity assistant in both sports. Working as a state trooper for more than 30 years, Prischmann was allowed to adjust his work hours so he could be at most practices and games.
When Richard Risbrudt took over as Fergus Falls’ head football coach, Prischmann continued to work in Coach Risbrudt’s staff.
“Dan has been vital to our youth football program since the beginning,” Otter football coach Richard Risbrudt said. “When I got hired in the spring of 2005, I knew we needed to start a youth football program to build a solid foundation of players for the future of Otter football. Dan and his brother Carl were the first people I interviewed to run the youth football program.”
Since then, Dan has run the Fergus Falls youth football program with the help of several volunteers.
Prischmann and his brother were even honored by the Otter football team with an award. The Prischmann award is given to a football player that exemplifies dedication, integrity, sincerity, responsibility, hard work, diligence and discipline.
In 2007, Prischmann would be approached by Dave Gaustad to help put together a traveling 12-year-old baseball team. After accepting, Prischmann would later find out that Fergus baseball legend, Harley Oyloe, would be stepping down as the head of the summer Babe Ruth baseball program. Answering the call, Prischmann dove into both. Since taking over, the Fergus Falls Babe Ruth baseball program has expanded from two 14-15 year old teams to adding a 12-year-old team, two 13-year-old teams and adding a VFW team in 2012.
Former players still walk up to Prischmann and thank him for the great memories that they shared during their time playing for him.
“In football he always believed in me,” former player Ryan Jacobson said about Prischmann. “He knew I could achieve more than I thought I ever could in the sport. He was also a great role model. Prisch always put forth a great example for kids to grow and develop into a better human being.”
“I relish those moments and life long friendships of kids I coached and mentored through out the years,” Prishmann said. “Many of these young men are coaching themselves and doing great things in their communities and that makes it all worthwhile for me.”
Thinking back on who influenced him, Prischmann brings of the name of Oats LeGrand, his junior varsity football coach Dennis Anderson and his father Carl Prischmann Sr. “He was a godly man, who taught me the important values and virtues of life by the way he lived and served his family and community.”
The youth programs are a labor of love as Prischmann believes that in order for an athlete to learn and understand the game, they need at least three to four years to develop good technique and learn the concepts of the sport.
“I call it the ‘sports learning curve,’” Prischmann said. “Until one fully engages and gets to that point, I don’t care how strong and athletic they are, they are going to be an average athlete and teammate on the field or court.”
Prishmann doesn’t keep track of the time he puts into both sports from May through October, but he estimates that it is around 450 to 500 hours both on and off the field.
He has also been approached by others to tackle other programs, but states that his plate is “pretty full” with the two programs.
While not helping out with youth sports, Prischmann enjoys traveling with his wife, JoAnn, and spending time with his grandchildren. When he is not spending time with his family, Prischmann enjoys hunting and fishing and spending time with friends.