The Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch
  • Hulke steps down as SEPS girls basketball coach

  • For the past three years, Ryan Hulke has formed a girls basketball team that others in the Tomahawk Conference feared playing against. And now, he is stepping down.
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  • For the past three years, Ryan Hulke has formed a girls basketball team that others in the Tomahawk Conference feared playing against. And now, he is stepping down.
    Hulke announced his resignation from the program on Monday with a letter to the community explaining his situation.
    “I took a supervisory role at the St Peter Regional Treatment Center in August and my hours are 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, so we would practice 5-7 p.m. almost every night,” explained Hulke in the letter. “As the year went on, practicing late everyday took a toll on me, the girls and their families as they were never home before 7:30 p.m.”
    Living in St. Peter, Hulke had to drive to and from his town and Sleepy Eye every day for practice. During away games, Hulke said sometimes he would leave as early as 6:40 a.m. and not get home until 11 p.m. or later.
    “I love it over there, I love everything about it except for my time commitment involved being in St. Peter,” Hulke said.
    Originally from Nicollet, Hulke took the position as head coach for the Nicollet boys basketball team seven years ago. He then served as the Sleepy Eye Public JH girls basketball coach for two years before stepping in as head coach.
    “I have built relationships within the school, Tomahawk Conference and within the families over the last five years that can’t be replaced and that I will have forever,” Hulke said. “These young ladies have made me a better person and coach and that can’t be changed and I will never forget each one of them.”
    Hulke said the girls are what he will miss most about the program.
    “Their personalties, the enjoyment with them, their work ethic, there’s not a thing that I won’t miss,” Hulke said.
    Since stepping in as head coach, Hulke has led the Indians to multiple successful seasons. Only four times in the last 22 years the Indians have won 10 or more games in a season, and two of those four times were in the last three years with Hulke as coach. Prior to the 2011-12 season, the Indians won 43 games over a time span of 13 years. In the last three years, they have won 44 games and had their first state tournament appearance, which took place in the 2011-12 season. Hulke’s total record is 44-39 over his three years as coach, making him third in school history in wins, behind Jim Young at 64 and Paul Carson at 55. Hulke said there’s no secret in his success as coach.
    “There’s no secret, it’s really actually due to the parents of those girls,” Hulke said. “They coached them from third grade on up and we just get to reap the benefits of them playing for six years.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Hulke said the next coach for the Indians is going to get a great team to work with.
    “He’s going to get a very nice group of ladies,” Hulke said. “He’s going to get a group that will never complain, will want to play every day in the summer if you allow them to.”
    When asked if he has any tips for the next coach, Hulke said you have to have a passion for the game.
    “Obviously you have to love what you do,” Hulke said. “You don’t get paid a lot for it, you don’t get paid a lot for your time as I found out what you put into it. But I love basketball, I love teaching the game, the game has taught me about life and that’s what it’s all about.”
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