Dordt College News

Senior Basketball Manager Leaves Big Shoes To Fill

May 7, 2014

Sports Information Director's Note:  This is the final story written by Sam Ekstrom, Dordt College Sports Information Student Assistant.  I'd like to publicly thank Sam for his work over the past four years.  My wish for him is the same as my wish for all of our graduates--nothing but God's richest blessings in their future endeavors. As we're in the heart of gradution and exam week at Dordt I think it's only fitting this final story be not about someone who seeks the spotlight, but yet, the spotlight has found him.  

The whistle blew as players fell to the floor under the basket, and the game came to halt.

As Dordt men’s basketball manager Bryce Schelhaas walked onto the floor, the crowd roared, applauding him as he used to his foot to maneuver a towel that soaked up the sweat on the court.

Schelhaas doesn’t ask for the spotlight, but the third-year varsity manager sometimes gets it anyway.

“The fans definitely make me feel a part of the bigger picture,” he said.

Rarely does a manager develop the kind of reputation Schelhaas has earned. It could be partly that Dordt’s fans are excitable in light of the team’s recent success. But it’s more likely that Schelhaas is genuinely good at what he does.

“Bryce has a servant’s heart,” said Head coach Ross Douma. “He’ll continue to serve the rest of his life because that’s just who he is.”

Another thing that sets Schelhaas apart is his experience. He was varsity basketball manager for two seasons at Southwest Christian High School in Edgerton, Minnesota, before being recruited to manage at Dordt.

Schelhaas applied for the position the summer before his freshman year and got the job. As a freshman, he worked with the junior varsity squad to learn the ropes. The demands of managing a college team were greater than in high school, but Schelhaas settled in quickly.

The Defender players helped Schelhaas feel at home.

Schelhaas quickly bonded with Kyle Lindbergh and Austin Katje, members of Schelhaas’ 2014 graduating class and thousand-point scorers in their respective Dordt careers. The three of them currently room together.

Lindbergh was drawn to Schelhaas’ humble attitude.

“Bryce has always been the kind of guy who never complained about anything,” said Lindbergh. “His humility is something that everyone wants to imitate. He truly has the heart of a servant leader.”

Schelhaas worked every step of the way with Coach Douma, who the senior considers something of a father figure.

 “I respect him, and I think he’d say the same,” Schelhaas continued.

It’s easy to understand why Douma holds the manager in such high regard: Virtually everything Schelhaas does for the team takes pressure off the coaching staff, from floor preparation, to setting out equipment, to laundry, to uniform care.

“He covers everything. His title is manager, but you’d be more apt to say he’s program assistant,” said Douma.

On a typical practice day, Schelhaas begins preparing up to an hour before practice begins.

He sets out the practice jerseys for the players, then proceeds to get the court ready. He’ll bring out the basketballs from the equipment closet, set up the scoreboard clock and place props such as clones or dummies the coaches need for practice.

After practice, Schelhaas collects the uniforms and gets them washed and ready for the next day.

They say the best players in basketball are the ones who show up to the gym first and leave the gym last. However, Schelhaas usually has that distinction at Dordt.

“He’s the first to the gym and the last to leave without ever – okay, sometimes – getting to shoot a shot during practice,” Lindbergh said.

Schelhaas was honored alongside Lindbergh and Katje during the Defenders’ Senior Day celebration on February 22. And on February 26, Schelhaas, a four-year member of Dordt’s choir, opened the Defenders’ quarterfinal playoff game by belting the National Anthem, something he hadn’t done since high school.

Schelhaas, who’s been a part of several very successful teams, has become greatly invested in this year’s squad.

“If I had to pick a favorite, it would probably be this team,” said Schelhaas. “Seeing how all the freshmen came together… . Going into this year, we were a little nervous.”

Though Schelhaas does not stand as tall as the towering players he works beside every day, he does leave huge shoes to fill.

“He is a great example of how to live your life selflessly for others,” said Douma. “People really become attracted to him because of who he is and what he does. We’re going to miss him more than we realize.”

Schelhaas will graduate in May to work at an accounting firm in Pipestone, Minnesota.

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