Former Falcons basketball guard, state competitor and local product, and former girls basketball head coach, Bill Bardal has returned to coach the girls team after three years on hiatus, not from the game but just from coaching.
“I actually just took a little time off and went and watched my son coach for a few years,” Bardal said. “I did eight years before and then didn’t know if I was going to get back into coaching. And then, with a little persuasion, and getting the opportunity to coach with a couple of great coaches that I’m familiar with, [I decided to return].”
Coaches Jenna Wetzel and Sam Jasinski, both former players for Bardal, will be his assistant coaches. The two “have stuck with this group for a couple of years, and the players really seem to like Jenna and Sam a lot.”
“It’s nice to have good coaches around you,” he said. “They’ve stayed dedicated to these girls for a long time.”
Bardal graduated from Faribault High School and was the head girls basketball coach for eight years previously. He is local as a player and a resident of the community.
“I’ve been in Faribault my entire life and grown up in Faribault,” he said. “I’m well aware of the Big 9 Conference, and I’m very familiar with the conference, and I’m just starting over again with the team.”
He was a basketball player at Faribault in 1986 when they made it to the state tournament. He played guard on a team when his dad was actually head coach at the time.
His dad, Burt Bardal, was the Faribault boys basketball coach for 25 years. That is also a family tradition of sorts for the Bardal family. His brother was a head coach in Iowa and won two state championships in Iowa boys basketball. And his son Jordan is now the assistant coach of the Eagan boys basketball team.
“So yeah, it’s a family thing. We all love basketball,” Bill Bardal said. “It’s a bit of a passion of ours. It’s definitely a family thing that we’ve all been involved in coaching.”
How does the girls team look like this year?
“We’ve got some girls back that have had varsity experience, and that’s going to help us,” Bardal said. “They’re coming to practice every single day, and they’re absorbing a lot of information right now that we’re throwing at them.”
He continued, “Ideally, we would have loved to have been together this summer. I would have loved to have had the opportunity to have been with them this summer, but that was not the case for us,” he said. “The girls have come to practice with terrific attitudes and their effort has been just terrific so far.”
Right now, they have three seniors on the team and about six juniors.
“We do have some younger players that are going to help us this year, so it’s a little mixture. There’s a wide variety of ages that we have,” Bardal said, including an eighth grader who will be contributing to the team. “And we have a senior, Isabel Herda. She’s a very, very good player and a great scorer for us. So Isabel’s gonna be somebody that we look to that we can rely on for having that consistency every single night, as far as scoring.”
He said Halle Rice and Rylee Sietzma, both juniors and both post players, are going to get a considerable amount of playing time.
He said junior Hailey Revers will also get quite a bit of playing time, and Josie Herda came out this year.
“[Revers] really did well in volleyball this year and she has not played basketball for a year or two. And she decided to come out and join her sister this year,” Bardal said. “She’s a senior, and Josie’s a sophomore. It’s great to see Josie come out for basketball this year, because she can definitely help us as well.”
He plans to use a continuous pick-and-roll offense, which he calls one of the hardest plays to guard in basketball.
“The one thing that these girls need to really invest in, we really need to do well, is play defense,” Bardal said. “Defense is going to be everything for us. Our effort on defense is something that we have to have.”
He added, “We’ll play a lot of man-to-man defense but I do believe in switching defenses occasionally,” he said, with some zone. He said they are working right now in practice on traps and corners.
Bardal said he remember the girls on the team from when he was running his summer skills and drills camp a few years ago. They were in fifth, sixth or seventh grades.
“And now it’s kind of cool to see that they got older, and they got taller, and they got stronger,” Bardal said.
It was a rejuvenation for him to come back to the team.
“I just said to myself, ‘Let’s go do this again and let’s get Faribault girls basketball back to being respectable and competitive.’ And we will eventually get there.”