Decker to coach at St. Charles

By Paul Christian

Rich Decker knew he would be coaching again. What he didn't know was who, what, where, when and why.

Of course, the why is easy.

"I have a passion for coaching basketball,'' he said.


It's that passion that brings Decker to St. Charles where he accepted the "B'' squad coaching job under Terry Knothe.

"I looked at a couple of other positions but this is a good fit for me,'' Decker said. "Life has changed, I'm looking forward to this.''

Decker was fired last May from his head boys basketball coaching post at Rochester Lourdes after 20 years. he has a 527-203 record in 31 years as head coach and was 322-146 at Lourdes. Decker was educted into the Minnesota State Basketball Hall of Fame last November.

"This was an easy choice on our part,'' said Knothe, who will start his 24th year at the St. Charles helm when practices start on Nov. 15. "We had four openings in our program and with Rich we get a coach who can teach the fundamentals. We talked in passing last spring and I contacted him this fall about the job.

"I don't know what happened in his previous situation at Lourdes. We did talk about it and did our research and I have no doubt that he is going to do a great job for us.

"We're lucky. How many times can you add a hall of fame coach to your staff?''

Besides coaching the "B'' squad, Decker will be on the bench alongside Knothe and varsity assistant Jason Perry, who is in his second year. He will also scout, something he did with a passion at Lourdes.

Knothe is not worried about Decker's acceptance of a lesser role after being a head coach.


"Who would know better than Rich what it takes to make a good assistant,'' said Knothe.

Decker and Knothe have known each other for years.

"St. Charles has a great program and really doesn't need me,'' said Decker. "Hopefully I can add something and help the kids out a bit. Chris (Miller, who was Decker's longtime assistant at Lourdes) taught me how to be a good assistant. I'm looking forward to this.

"I'm looking at it as a win-win situation.''

Decker is not teaching fulltime, but is staying busy. He is subbing at different schools in the area and is also working with a travel agency and has a trip lined up next June. He also spent the spring and summer umpiring and has worked on gardening projects and construction.

Scott McCready, the athletic director at St. Charles, said the school board has to officially approve the hiring. They will meet again on Nov. 8. McCready, Knothe and school superintendent Tom Ames will give their recommendation of Decker to the board.

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