New coaching staff

The newly-hired assistant AD and coaches are (top, from left) Assistant Activities Director Aaron Jasperson, Boys Head Basketball Coach Blake Nicols, Girls Head Basketball Coach Luke Swedberg, Football Head Coach Jake Norby; (bottom row) Boys Soccer Head Coach Gospel Kordah, Girls Soccer Head Coach Matt Anderson, Dance Coach Frankie McIntyre, Girls Hockey Head Coach Taylor Ries. (Submitted Photos)

The leadership and head coaches of many of the sports teams at New Prague High School will see big changes in the fall. An assistant activities director was recently named, along with new hires to lead the basketball, football, soccer, dance and girls hockey programs.

Assistant activities director

Aaron Jasperson is the assistant activities director at New Prague High School, pending board approval. He has taught for 20 years at various schools with his last 12 being at New Prague High School where he is a business education teacher. He has coached multiple sports for 25 years, including basketball from third grade traveling through the collegiate level with highlights at New Prague High School which included two trips to the state boys basketball tournament. In addition, he was an advisor for the co-curricular organization DECA for 10 years where he also served on the Minnesota DECA Board of Advisers.

Jasperson is a graduate of Pine Island High School where he played multiple sports, and continued his education at Winona State University. His wife, Emily, is a high school science teacher at New Prague High School and a former volleyball coach. Currently, Jasperson is serving on the board of the New Prague Boys Basketball Traveling Association and coaches both youth basketball and baseball. The couple resides in New Prague with their two boys: Sawyer and Cooper.

Basketball

The most recent hires are Blake Nicols in the boys’ basketball program, and Luke Swedberg for the girls’.

Boys: Nicols will replace Bryce Tesdahl, who was the boys head coach for two years at New Prague High School. Nicols is a native of Lakeville, where he graduated from Lakeville South High School in 2008. At Lakeville South, Nicols was a letter winner in basketball, baseball, and cross-country on section and state tournament teams. After graduation Nicols attended Bethel University where he played basketball for the Royals. He graduated from Bethel in 2013 with a B.A. in health education and a B.A. in physical education. For the past four years Nicols has been an assistant boys basketball coach for Andover High School and a physical education teacher in the Anoka-Hennepin School District. In addition to coaching at New Prague High School, Nicols will also teach health and physical education at the high school.

Girls: Swedberg will step in for Coach Ron Gunderson, who has coached the girls’ team for over 40 years. In April, Gunderson requested a one-year leave of absence from the program.

Swedberg is a native of Howard Lake where he graduated from Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted High School in 2011. While at HLWW, he played football, basketball, and golf on successful teams and made conference, section, and state tournament appearances. He was also a captain for basketball and golf. After graduating from high school, he went on to study physical education at Bethel University. It was in college that he got his first taste of coaching, being the Bethel men’s basketball student assistant. While in that role he was responsible for on-court instruction, film exchange, and recruiting. While in that role both seasons, the team made the MIAC playoffs.

Swedberg has been at Park Center High School as an assistant for the girls program there for the last three years, making it to the state tournament each year. This includes a 2015 Class 3A state championship and 2017 Class 4A consolation championship. Swedberg also has experience coaching boys during the AAU spring and summer seasons for the last five years. Swedberg currently works as an office assistant in Plymouth, and is a basketball trainer for Wear Out The Net Basketball Academy in Lakeville. Aside from basketball, he enjoys fishing, golfing and spending time with his family.

Both coaches have accepted the offers and are pending school board approval.

Football

Earlier this spring, it was announced that Jake Norby was hired as the new head coach for the New Prague High School football program. Norby is a native of White Bear Lake where he graduated from White Bear Lake Area High School in 1999. While there, he played football and ran track and field for the Bears on conference, section, and state tournament teams; he was a captain for both the football and track teams. After graduating from White Bear Lake, Norby went on to study physical education and health education at the University of Wisconsin — River Falls where he also played defensive back on the football team for the Falcons. After graduating from UW-RF, Norby took his first teaching and coaching position at Cary High school in Cary, North Carolina where he was a physical education teacher and defensive coordinator for two seasons. After two years, Norby returned home to teach and coach at his alma mater where he coached linebackers and defensive backs along with being a co-special teams coordinator. While at White Bear Lake, he decided to pursue a Master’s Degree in Special Education and accepted a position at New Prague High School as a special education teacher and an assistant football coach.

Norby has been a varsity football assistant for the past seven seasons and has been the offensive coordinator for the past four seasons at New Prague High School. During Norby’s tenure as an assistant coach, he has worked with and coached the offensive line, the quarterbacks, the defensive line, the defensive backs, and has overseen various special teams units. In addition to teaching special education and coaching football, Norby is also an assistant track and field coach where he specifically works with the boys and girls pole vaulters and sprinters. Norby resides in New Prague with his wife, Melissa, and their three children: Payton, Colton, and Teagan.

Soccer

Boys: Gospel Kordah is the new head coach for boys soccer at New Prague High School. Kordah grew up in St. Louis Park where he graduated from St. Louis Park Senior High. While there he played soccer, football and participated in track and field. After graduating from St. Louis Park, Kordah earned a dual scholarship for track and soccer at Lincoln College in Illinois. After graduating from Lincoln, he furthered his education and athletic career at Augsburg College, majoring in psychology.

Kordah is an equity specialist for Shakopee Public Schools. He has been coaching high school soccer and track and field for four years, and has experience coaching both girls and boys. He is a former head coach for Community of Peace Academy and was most recently the junior varsity/varsity assistant girls soccer coach at Shakopee High School. Kordah resides in Brooklyn Park with his wife and two kids: Sofia and Isabel.

Girls: Matt Anderson is the new head coach for girls soccer. He grew up in Eden Prairie where he graduated from Eden Prairie High School. While there he played four years of soccer for the Eagles on conference and section teams. After high school, Anderson went on to study social science and education at Saint John’s University in Collegeville. He played soccer for the Johnnies as a goalkeeper for four years. Anderson graduated from SJU with a degree in social science and a secondary education minor.

After graduating from SJU, Anderson taught at Rosemount Middle School for two years where he coached boys soccer and boys and girls track. This fall he will be in his fifth year teaching eighth grade social studies at New Prague Middle School. Anderson spent one year coaching girls soccer at NPMS and for the last three years, he has been a varsity assistant in the girls soccer program at NPHS. In addition to teaching social studies and coaching soccer, Anderson has spent the last four seasons as an assistant track and field coach for the Trojans where he works with boys and girls horizontal jumpers and hurdlers. Anderson and his wife, Lindsay, reside in Eden Prairie with their daughter Julia.

Dance

Frankie McIntyre is the head dance team coach for the 2017-2018 season. She is a graduate of Bethlehem Academy in Faribault, and is currently pursuing her associate’s degree in nursing. She has been a part of the Faribault Emeralds Dance Team coaching staff for the past three seasons, and spent the last two years working strictly with the varsity program. While a part of the varsity coaching staff, she made four Minnesota state tournament appearances: two in the high kick precision category with second- and third-place finishes, and two appearances in the Jazz category with fourth- and fifth-place finishes.

Along with her commitment to the Faribault program, McIntyre was also the New Prague Dance Team coach for the 2016 fall performance season. She is currently in her second year with Ovations Dance Company in New Prague as an instructor for competitive groups in high kick, hip hop, and jazz. McIntyre is replacing Christine Plambeck, who started the program in 2009.

Hockey

Taylor Ries was hired as the head coach for girls hockey for the 2017-2018 season. He is a graduate of Mankato East High School where he was a four-year letter winner in hockey, and received all-state honorable mention and all-conference honors his senior year. He also played two years of varsity baseball where he received all-conference honorable mention honors.

Ries attended Gustavus Adolphus College and then Minnesota State University, Mankato where he received a degree in health and physical education. Upon transferring to Minnesota State after his freshman year, he began his coaching career as an assistant coach for the Mankato East girls hockey team. He worked under head coach Nate Fuller who started his girls hockey coaching career in New Prague as an assistant from 2004-2006. Team accomplishments during Ries’ time at Mankato East include a section championship (2016-17), a conference championship (2012-13), and two-time section runner-ups (2012-13, 2013-14). Personal accolades during that time include being named section assistant coach of the year twice during his six years of coaching at Mankato East.

Ries is currently finishing up his first year teaching at Prairie Winds Middle School in Mankato and is working on his Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership at Minnesota State University. He has been offered a position to teach physical education at Eagle View Elementary where he will begin teaching in the 2017-2018 school year.

Lori Nickel is the publisher and editor of the Lonsdale News-Review. Reach her at 507-744-2551.

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