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Chris VanderHyde transforms Park Center Girls' Basketball

For as long as he can remember, Chris VanderHyde dreamed of coaching. He literally grew up around the game since his father was a high school basketball coach for 30-plus years in Michigan.

Then in ninth grade, for the first time, Chris coached a team of sixth graders.

"I don't even know if we won or lost the game," he says, "but I remember them jumping on my back and wanting a hug. 

"I just got this feel."

Principal Heather Miller-Cink also can't exactly articulate what appealed to her about Chris when she was looking for a new head girls basketball coach at Park Center High School.

"He just had it," she says.


In the three years since, Chris has led the Pirates to three consecutive state championship games, including two victories. 

The thing is, he does not speak of titles.

"Never," Meghan DuBois says. "We just focus on what's coming ahead of us, and we focus on each other. He cares about every player in the program, and he wants to help each of us be the best version of ourselves. 

"Basketball is just the side part."

Fascinated with a coaching book dependent on Christian-based principals, Chris met Ron Backes, Minnesota FCA's Coaches Ministry Director, who handed him another book, 3D Coach: Capturing the Heart Behind the Jersey, a key to the FCA Coaches Academy. 

"It was what I was thinking," Chris says, "but I didn't have the tools to implement."

"In regular visits with Ron, Chris studied 3Dimensional Coaching and tailored his own "pillars."
 
This past offseason, his players wore shirts with the letters STTG: Selflessness, Togetherness, Toughness, Gratefulness.

"Things are bigger than basketball," Chris says. "You can always make a choice to be  selfless person, a selfless player. You can always make a choice to be grateful."

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