FAIRVIEW – Luke Kloker is returning to the sidelines in Fairview.
After a three-year hiatus, Kloker, who led the Warriors to the program’s first and only boys basketball state championship in 2012, is set to coach the team during the 2018-19 school year. The schoolboard approved Kloker’s hiring at a Monday meeting.
“When coach Ryan Kopp decided to step down and the position was opened, I just decided to throw my hat in the ring,” Kloker said Tuesday. “The biggest reason is, I just miss coaching and especially miss being around the players and working with players.”
Kloker helped build Fairview into one of the best Class C programs in the state during his last tenure. He was named the head coach in 2004 and ultimately took the Warriors to the state tournament in six of his 11 seasons at the helm. They won the title in 2012 and played on Saturday night each of the next three seasons, finishing fourth twice and adding a second-place trophy in 2015.
Kloker compiled a record of 221 wins and just 67 losses at Fairview before stepping down in 2015 when he was named the school’s superintendent.
“That was part of it – the new job and new responsibilities,” Kloker said of his reasons to resign in 2015. “The other part was family, obligations to my kids and things — to focus on my superintendent position and to help out more at home.”
Kloker, 43, will still have those obligations. His coaching duties won’t interfere with his role as the school’s superintendent, and he still has two kids at home: Lak, who will be a junior, and Kambre, an upcoming sixth grader. Jae, the oldest Kloker sibling, graduated this spring and will attend college at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City.
Lak Kloker started on last year’s team alongside Cody Asbeck, Josh Herron, Carson Cayko and Alex Schriver.
“The first thing I did before I applied was talk to my wife and then talked to my son. We’re both excited about the opportunity to work together,” Kloker said. “I’ve coached him and his teammates when they were younger, so, of course, I’ve known all of the boys since they were very little. But I am excited to work with him and the rest of the boys. These are all his friends, the kids he’s grown up with. I’m excited about that. It could obviously be a challenge, but I think he and I are both on the same page with expectations for each other.”
When Kloker and the Warriors’ basketball team take the court this winter, they’ll begin the season with high expectations. They reached the state tournament each of the past two years under coach Ryan Kopp, who was an assistant under Kloker before taking over the program in 2015, and didn’t have a single senior on this year’s team.
“I would expect the boys to carry on the tradition that’s been established by former players: first-class on the court, give great effort,” Kloker said. “We understand, I think – I haven’t talked to the boys – but we understand the expectations. Eight of the last 13 years, I think we’ve gone to state. I don’t think it’s anything new.”