Written by Devon Boen
Maryland native Dan Horsmon has a knack for teaching — whether it is in the classroom or on the court. He is currently the varsity coach for the Wolf Point ladies’ tennis team and a seventh-grade life sciences teacher for Wolf Point Junior High School. Before that, he was a grant director for Gear Up.
He said he moved into his teaching position after his family and friends encouraged him.
“I always knew I wanted to teach, but I never pursued it until people started telling me to pursue it,” Horsmon said.
Before choosing a career path, Horsmon grew up playing baseball and soccer and played tennis in high school and the Air Force. His athletic background helped him adjust to his coaching position when he became the varsity coach in 2008.
Horsmon said he expects good things from the current team. The girls have defeated Williston, N.D., Forsyth and lost just one match to Baker.
He commended the girls for their success, especially considering the players are limited to practicing and playing only three months out of the year because of the weather. The short time frame is a disadvantage for teams on the eastern side of the state because teams on the western side of the state play year-round, but Horsmon has methods to counteract the stiff competition.
“They’re usually heavy-hitters. They like to hit the ball hard, so I prefer my girls to do the opposite,” Horsmon said. “I coach a finesse game.”
He’s been preparing the girls with two skill set practices and two scrimmage practices each week. Horsmon also puts emphasis on the girls bonding on the court as well as off. He said they have a tradition at the end of each practice and before matches called “All In” where one teammate has to give a motivated speech.
He said they also do the human chain, where the girls are split into teams and have to crisscross their arms and find a way to form a straight line without letting go.
Horsmon’s leadership and the girls’ dedication to the game and to each other has ultimately created a foundation for an excellent team.