SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The Washington boys basketball team returns most of their production from a team that entered last years state tournament as the top overall seed before losing to O’Gorman in the semi-finals. While they do have plenty of fire back within the roster, Craig Nelson, who coached the Warriors the past 9 seasons, left to take over at Brandon Valley, opening the door for a familiar face.
The city’s oldest public high school has a brand new coach.
“Goosebumps. I had to ask them again just to make sure it was real and I had no reservations about saying yes that I wanted to be the next head coach,” Washington head coach Jeff Tobin said.
Growing up in Langford, South Dakota, about 45 minutes northeast of Aberdeen, Jeff Tobin came to Sioux Falls eight years ago accepting a teaching job at Washington High School and then would spend the next four seasons as an assistant under former Washington boys head coach Craig Nelson.
“I looked around and was like man I don’t know if I know enough, I don’t know if I’m ready for that opportunity but Craig kept telling me you’re going to be a head coach, you’re opportunity is going to come you just have to be ready for it and the way it trickled all down, it’s funny how the way things happen in the way they do that this was the job that came available,” Tobin stated.
After getting his start through Nelson, Tobin would then switch over to the girls side, coaching the past three seasons under Jamie Parish.
“Last year with a really talented group sometimes as coaches you just have to figure out how to get out of the way and let them play and that was a change from what I was used to in the past with really intricate details” Tobin said. “But it was a great thing for me to learn and gave me better perspective of the game from coach Parish.”
At just 30 years old, Tobin becomes on of the youngest coaches through out the entire state.
“He’s pretty approachable, he’s fun. He’s younger so it’s nice, hes pretty easy to talk to,” Washington senior guard Joe Uttecht said.
“I’m going to try and grow with the players and learn from the players, try and play to their strengths and how we like to play and I’m going to learn and grow myself. I know how we’re going to look these first five to seven games of the season hopefully won’t be who we are in February or March. But I’m going to try and grow through those opportunities and grow through those down times as well,” Tobin said. “We will as a coaching staff to make our players better in the end because that’s what it’s all about.”