Based on initial impressions, the good folks at Osseo High School won’t have any trouble getting new football coach Ryan Stockhaus up to speed. If anything, their biggest problem might be keeping up with him.
The 31-year-old Stockhaus is a former football and baseball player at Augsburg College in Minneapolis. His coaching résumé includes stints as an assistant at Bloomington Kennedy, Cooper and Minneapolis Southwest. He spent the past three seasons at Holy Angels, most recently as defensive coordinator.
This is his first head coaching job and it’s about as high-profile as it gets, taking over the defending Class 6A state champion Orioles.
That might seem a daunting task, but Stockhaus has hit the turf running. The dean of students at Bancroft Elementary in south Minneapolis has spent most of his free time since his hiring introducing himself to the Osseo football community.
On a recent sunny Saturday afternoon, Stockhaus got away for a few minutes from the youth basketball clinic conducted by the adult basketball league he runs, Triple Double, to talk with staff writer Jim Paulsen about his new job.
Q: Have you noticed how many high school football coaches have roots in the Augsburg football program? There’s [former Osseo coach] Derrin Lamker, Reed Boltmann at Edina, Jim Gunderson at Holy Angels, you, and a lot of assistant coaches.
A: My first year at Holy Angels, we played Edina right away. There were four or five coaches on Edina’s staff that were Auggie guys. That’s when I realized there are a lot of Auggies coaching. Every year, you see another guy or hear about someone you played with getting into coaching.
Q: Why so many?
A: We weren’t always the best team and didn’t have the most wins, but Augsburg is a community that celebrates diversity. There’s a lot of hard work that goes into getting comfortable with everybody. There’s a resiliency and grit from people who come together like that. We might not always look the prettiest, but Augsburg guys are going to show up and work their tails off.
Q: Speaking of diversity, Osseo is a program that brings together kids from a broad spectrum of socio-economic backgrounds. Do you feel you have the experience to deal with the issues that arise?
A: Absolutely. I truly feel that all of things I’ve done in the past — working in Minneapolis and the places I’ve coached — help me understand the outside factors. It’s a struggle sometimes just to get up and go to school, let alone go to a practice. I really believe that you can build in accountability and discipline, but at the same time, you have to be understanding.
Q: What has been the toughest part so far?
A: The biggest struggle right now has been to pull everything together and keep the player buy-in and level of expectations high, while commuting from south Minneapolis.
Q: How often does a person get their first head coaching job with a defending state champion?
A: I don’t think it happens very often. I know the pressure is there. On one side, you look and say this is a perfect situation. You look at the other side and say, “Holy cow, we better get to work.”
Q: Talk about the Osseo job.
A: You’ve got a state champion opening up at Maple Grove in Week 1, which is the biggest rivalry around for us. For me, the goal is to just bring the right people around that care about the kids and understand the students that are going to be there and that are really going to be motivating.
Q: What are your impressions about Osseo football?
A: People are excited about Osseo football. They believe in what Osseo can do. I think the community feel and community backing at Osseo is what makes it very special. I went to a clinic where I got a chance to meet a lot of youth coaches and family members there. We had 80 second-, third- and fourth-graders there, wearing their orange and black and running around, excited about Osseo football. It’s a feeling I haven’t had anywhere else.
Jim Paulsen • 612-673-7737