Messerly named new Dodger girls coach
Former Gael leader returns to the sidelines
Fort Dodge Senior High didn’t have to go far to find its next head girls basketball coach.
Scott Messerly, who helped lead St. Edmond to three consecutive North Central Conference championships and 171 wins during a successful 12-year stint with his alma mater, officially became the eighth hardwood director in FDSH history with the school board’s approval on Monday evening.
The 50-year-old Messerly replaces Julius Michalik, the former Iowa State University star who left the FDCSD to become a teacher and a coach in the Ridge View school district.
Messerly was born and raised in Fort Dodge, graduating from St. Edmond in 1986 and Iowa Central Community College before attending the University of Iowa. He joined the SEHS middle school coaching staff in the late-1990s, then worked his way up as a high school assistant.
Messerly replaced Craig Carlson at the helm before the 2005-06 Gael campaign, and accumulated an overall record of 171-97 before stepping down in 2017. St. Edmond clinched conference titles in 2012, ’13 and ’14, when it went a combined 50-8.
The Gaels were 96-14 overall and 81-9 in the NCC during an impressive five-year run from 2009-14.
“I’m really looking forward to the challenge,” Messerly said. “This is exciting for me. It’s an opportunity to not only get back into coaching, but to do so at the (Class) 5A level, where you see the best programs and talent on a nightly basis in the CIML.
“Being a Fort Dodge guy, I know all about the tradition and the history of (Dodger athletics) and what the girls basketball program accomplished in the ’80s. I want to help change the culture and get kids and fans motivated again.”
FDSH athletic and activities director Matt Elsbecker received plenty of positive feedback about Messerly during the interview process — both as a coach and as a person.
“It’s great that Scott is so well-known and respected in our community,” Elsbecker said. “That’s a solid first step: I’ve heard nothing but good things about him and the kind of leader he is and can be for our program.
“You could just see it in his eyes — he’s really ready to get back into coaching (after taking a year off). I think the kids and the community will rally behind his energy and enthusiasm toward the game. He has a passion. It’s going to be quite a task, but there are a lot of encouraging things I have seen right off the bat that tells me we’ll be headed in the right direction.”
Messerly hopes to implement a “fast-paced, up-tempo, pressing style” with the Dodgers, who saw all five starters graduate from last season’s squad. Seniors Ebonee Altman, Olivia Camamo and Morgan Beisch are scheduled to return from the varsity roster, along with sophomores Cheyenne Miller-Hameed and Jacy Daniel.
Miller-Hameed, Daniel, Jebreauna Clark and Tristin Doster helped the FDSH freshman team post a 12-7 record a year ago.
“I want the girls to buy into what we want to accomplish, and what’s expected of them both on and off the court,” Messerly said. “We’ll have fun. This is an honor. I’m just ready to coach again.”
Fort Dodge’s last state appearance in girls basketball came in 1998. The Dodgers have made eight trips in all during their 45-year history.
Michalik went 21-48 in three seasons at the helm. Scott Timmerman (2010-15), Bryan Friedrichs (2008-10), Kim Vaughn (1998-2008), Tom Kinseth (1986-98), Ray Svendson (1983-86) and Ed McNeil (1973-83) have been the other girls hoop head coaches at FDSH.