Archived Story

PR basketball continues its legacy of success

Published 11:03am Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Doug Bruggeman has some big shoes to fill. The head coach at Pelican Rapids School took over this year when long-time coach Brad Strand left to coach in Fergus Falls. Strand will forever be remembered in Pelican Rapids for bringing a state basketball championship and an undefeated season in 2009 to Lakes Country. But things are still looking pretty good for the Viking Pride under Bruggeman.

“We’re having a good season after our first loss to Fergus in our opening game,” said Bruggeman. “Coach Strand did a great job when he was here. I’ve been working on building trust with the players so that they know we can still win without Coach Strand here.”

The team is currently six and one after dominating Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton High School on Friday. The DGF Rebels and Vikings were neck and neck up until half-time with the Vikings leading 31 to 30.

The second half was a completely different game with the Vikings taking home an 81 to 48 win against the Rebels.

“Traveling to Frazee on Tuesday and playing back to back games on Thursday-Friday really challenged us to stay focused,” Pelican Rapids’ head coach Doug Bruggeman said on

“We’re definitely trying to get away from the X and O winning pressure and frustration of the game and be encouraging and focus on fun side of things,” said Bruggeman.

That positive outlook helps when coaching his own sons, first Casey, and now Ryan, who is a junior on the PR basketball team.

Ryan Bruggeman led scoring in Friday’s game, garnering 27 points while teammate Tucker Forsgren scored 23 points.

Bruggeman’s kids are one reason he switched his coaching role, and started volunteering under Strand six years ago.

“We really try and keep things separate at home,” said Bruggeman. “But like do like to think I help build their confidence. Casey is playing for Concordia, and Ryan certainly has potential to play at a higher level. I like the relationship side of sports a lot, caring about the kids and motivating the team.”

The boys follow in a long athletic history of their dad, who played football, golf and basketball in high school. He also married his high school sweetheart who was a team cheerleader.

After his first head coach position in Fertile, Bruggeman coached three years in Worthington, before settling in Pelican Rapids where he is in his 21st year, teaching social studies, being a student council advisor, and being the girls head coach for seven years before switching over to coaching the boys sports.

And he has a good partner in Assistant Coach Blaine Ristvedt.

“Blaine has been our defensive coach for many years- I like to figure out ways to score, he likes to figure out ways to stop the other team from scoring,” said Bruggeman. “Our game against Perham last week was a really good indication of our great defense.

One challenge the coach’s face at Pelican Rapids School is lack of adequate gym space.

“When the new athletic director from Underwood was here, he couldn’t believe we have practices in our cafeteria,” said Bruggeman. “We only have one full court gym.”

While there has been discussion of going after a building referendum this spring, the athletic teams have done a great job of adapting and building success with what they have to work with.

Pelican Rapids boys basketball under Coach Bruggeman is definitely a team to watch, in a school that has garnered two state championships, two other state places and six section championships on its scorecard.

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