BENSON — Mike Felt’s wife is from Benson and getting closer to his roots in Redwood Falls made him apply when there was an opening in the Benson school district.
And with his hiring, Felt is replacing his brother-in-law as head boys basketball coach for the Braves.
“It’s a family deal,” Felt said by phone. “My wife’s from Benson and we always wanted to be closer to family.
“We want our kids to be able to play sports with their cousins and be by family.”
Felt replaces Adam Jensen, whose sister Mallory is Felt’s wife. The Felt family includes Ellis, 5, Wilhelmina, 3, and Dagney, 1.
Adam Jensen led the Braves to an 8-11 record last season and a 15-12 finish in 2019-20, a recent high-water mark for the program. Benson was 0-26 in 2017-18.
Felt has been the head coach the past four seasons at Parkers Prairie, where his teams went 83-20, posting records of 21-7, 24-5 and 23-3 from 2017 to 2020 after going 15-5 last season.
“It’s definitely a little bit different than Parkers,” Felt said of Benson, where he teaches physical education. “Actually, we’re both in Section 6A, which is a really tough section.”
Felt’s area roots run deeper than Benson. He is a 2009 Redwood Valley High School graduate. He is one of the most prolific scorers in state history, leading the state in scoring his junior and senior years, when he averaged 30.3 and 30.4 points per game, respectively. He finished with 2,450 career points in 99 games, which is second-most in the area behind Hancock’s Noah Kannegiesser, who scored 2,723.
He also was Redwood Valley’s starting quarterback for two seasons and ran cross-country his senior year, qualifying for state. He was a five-time qualifier for the state track meet.
Felt, a 6-foot-3 guard, then played at Division I North Dakota State, where he was a regular in their rotation for four seasons, playing 132 games and starting eight. He averaged 7.4 points per game, scoring 978 career points.
At Benson, he sees his role as building up the program and trying to increase participation numbers.
“As far as philosophy, I believe you try to adapt to the players you have,” he said. “You try to do things that they are the best at and hopefully that’ll help you be successful.”
It worked well at Parkers Prairie, which is about 75 miles north of Benson.
“(Leaving) was very difficult,” he said. “There were a lot of good kids, good ball players.”
Felt is currently an assistant football coach for the Braves.
Willmar athletes honored
Willmar’s LaBlue Moo, Ella Swenson, Sully Anez and Sydney Schnichels have all been honored as Central Lakes Conference performers of the week.
Moo was named the top defensive football player of the week in the conference, recording three tackles, two pass breakups and an interception in the Cardinals’ 65-0 win over Big Lake last week.
Swenson is the top girls soccer defensive player after making seven huge saves in a 2-1 victory over Alexandria on Sept. 24.
Anez, a boys’ cross-country runner, took fourth place in 16 minutes, 29 seconds at the Metro Invite in Eden Prairie.
Schnichels, a junior outside hitter on the volleyball team, had 21 kills in one match for the Cardinals.
Other CLC Performers of the Week are:
At Sauk Rapids, football player Dominic Mathies;
At Sartell, boys soccer player Ethan McClellan and boys cross-country runner Eli Hanson;
At St. Cloud Apollo, boys soccer player Dylan Coulter;
At Brainerd, girls soccer player Gabby Eckman and girls diver Izzy Olson;
At Fergus Falls, girls swimmer Alexis Wellman and girls tennis players Mia Marsh and Ashtyn Lill;
At St. Cloud Tech, girls tennis player Ella Marohl and volleyball player Mattie Vought.
Montevideo star honored
Montevideo volleyball star Avery Koenen has been named a West Central Conference Performer of the Week.
Also honored by the conference were: Melrose swimmer Meghan Pundsack, Melrose cross-country runner Austin Kelzer, Morris/Chokio-Alberta girls cross-country runner Meredith Carrington and Morris/CA girls tennis player Cate Kehoe.
Annie Sandry is a senior on the University of Wisconsin-Stout tennis team. Sandry is a MACCRAY graduate from Clara City. She’s a senior majoring in interior design/construction.