Lenny Sedlock was 50 years old when he was asked to coach a prep girls basketball team for the first time. The veteran football coach saw it as an opportunity to partner with his daughter, then a college junior.
“I called Alicia and asked what she’d think about coaching girls basketball,” Sedlock said. “If she hadn’t wanted to do it, I probably wouldn’t have taken the job.”
Father and daughter have been a tandem for five years now, the last three at Spectrum, where they started the program and built it up. The Sting are currently 11-5 with five straight wins, led by lone senior Rachel Stevenson and sophomore Noelle Diekman.
They had two wins and a handful of players the first year. Twenty kids turned up last year. The Sting were 12-15 (with two forfeit wins). This year, 37 kids came out.
“So I guess there is something positive going on,” said Sedlock, with a 53-46 win over Minneapolis Edison on Monday.
He lauds Alicia’s role: “You can see that she pretty much runs the show. She does the offense, I do the defense, but she does most of the work.”
Alicia, whose married name is Hannan, smiles and shakes her head at that compliment.
“It works out pretty well,” she allowed. “He is more of the go-getter who likes to take chances, and I like to play it safe, so we complement each other.”
Sedlock has been Minneapolis South’s football coach for 13 years. He was a three-sport athlete there, and played football in college. While teaching physical education and health in Minneapolis, he raised his family in Cambridge since 1992.
Hannan, 25, a public health nurse based in Milaca, also lives in Cambridge. After playing Amateur Athletic Union with her dad coaching, she attended Blake and played in a strong program under Ray Finley. A JV player and sub for three years, she was a captain her senior year but missed the season with a soccer knee injury. Her dad’s invitation three years later got her back in the gym.
Sedlock especially relied on his assistant during a Jan. 9 game at Cambridge Christian when the Sting trailed 20-11 at halftime.
“This is terrible,” Sedlock said. “What can we possibly say to the girls to change this?”
Hannan’s response: “Dad, nothing we can say will make it better. We run them and do drills at halftime.”
Instead of resting and listening in the locker room, the girls spent the break doing drills and sprints, then opened the second half with a 12-2 run and won 48-34.
The Sting play a schedule of tiny schools but also a number of Minneapolis Conference schools due to Sedlock’s connections.
“The girls play pretty well against inner city schools,” Sedlock said. “They said it’s because they know what to expect, that it’s going always to be up-tempo, aggressive, pressure basketball.”
Activities director Rick Peterson has hired Sedlock and Hannan twice, first at Meadowcreek Christian, and at Spectrum.
“Having him start the new girls basketball team at Spectrum was an easy decision, since I had already seen him build a strong program,” Peterson said. “His daughter would make a very fine head coach, too, but right now we would like to keep her right here.”
The coaches have a hectic schedule and long commutes, but, as Sedlock reflected: “I couldn’t ask for a better situation. The girls here are so respectful and work their tails off. And coaching together is really neat.”