Klein, Smith named Coaches of the Year

Staff reports
In this March 12, 2020 Journal file photo, Devils Lake head girls basketball coach Justin Klein calls out a play during the quarterfinals of the NDHSAA Class A girls state tournament against Century in Fargo. Klein was named Class A girls Coach of the Year.

The final few awards for the abrupt ending to the North Dakota High School Activities Association basketball season was announced this past Friday, May 8, with Devils Lake’s head girls basketball coach Justin Klein and Four Winds-Minnewaukan head boys basketball coach Rick Smith named girls Class A and boys Class B Coaches of the Year respectively by the North Dakota High School Coaches Association.

For Klein, this is his second consecutive COY accolade after being named last year after leading the Firebirds to the 2018-19 Class A title game before losing to Bismarck Century. This past season, Klein once again led the Firebirds (25-1) to a spot in the Class A championship before the COVID-19 pandemic ended the tournament after the semifinals.

Smith, who was last named COY for the 2015-16 season, led the Indians (23-1) to the No. 1 ranking in Class B and a Region 4 championship. The Class B state tournament was never held.

Jordan Wilhelm of Bismarck was named the Class A boys basketball Coach of the Year.