Stangs Under New a Reign

How the MN mustangs work together under a new head coach


The shrieking of basketball shoes fills the MN gym and the swooshing of nets from players sinking threes. There is great pride in the basketball team and the back-to-back State titles they defend. This upcoming season, they’ll continue this successful run with a new coach in charge. The Stangs are under a new reign. 

After being an assistant coach at MN for over a decade, new head coach Michael Etzelmiller looks forward to what the season will bring.  

“Hopefully I’ll be ready when the season starts, but you know, just trying to continue to be a lifelong learner,” Etzelmiller said.

 It has been a lifelong dream of his to be a head coach just like his dad.  His dad, Mark Eztemiller, was his high school basketball coach at Hastings. Etzelmiller takes with him the principles his dad taught him.

“He was like a Bobby Knight guy, very fiery yelling, probably pushing the envelope on some language. But I would try to think I’m a little different in that area. But still, again, I think gaining the respect of your players and having them build that trust and then they’ll play hard for you,“ Etzelmiller said. 

Etzelmiller has an extensive background playing the game, too. First starting his journey in basketball, Etzelmiller played for four years at Hastings High School. He went to North Platte Junior College and played there for a year. Then went back to Hastings College, he then played there for three years and graduated in 2008.

Taking what he learned from his dad and his background in basketball, Etzelmiller will strive to bring  the new team together, which includes setting high expectations for them this season.

“I go to clinics, like to go to college practices, and just keep trying to learn and talk to other coaches. We’ve got a really good base,” Etzelmiller said. 

His assessment of the upcoming team is positive. 

“I think our selflessness is huge at least that we’ve seen in the fall. Nobody’s being selfish. Everybody shares the basketball and we’ve got some good leaders. I think that we are looking forward to stepping into that role, something different from what they’ve been in the past,” Etzelmiller said.

Etzelmiller views delegation as one of the struggles with being the new head coach, trying to figure out where coaches and players fit best is hard.

 “My biggest issue is delegation. Kind of, I like to do a lot of things myself, so delegating and trying to get some people and put jobs on different coaches, players. It’s one of the things that I need to do a better job,” Etzelmiller said.

Returning player, Junior Neal Mosser has been preparing for what comes new with this season with Etzelmiller as their new coach. 

“I think it’s really like he was a great fit for us because he’s been with us and been doing stuff within the program. And it was probably time for him to step up in a bigger role,” Mosser said. 

He not only is excited for the new coach, but for the season as well. He hopes the new players help lead them to victory just as they did last year.

Another returning player is the senior Sky Williams. Being a senior with a new coach is hard, especially with new changes all around them. 

“I feel it’s gonna be a big adjustment, but also feel that he’s had a lot of experience under the old head coach. I feel like it wouldn’t be much of a change as far as plays-wise, but I like him. He’s a good head coach,” Williams said.

Though he has concerns about the new players and how they mesh, he knows Etzelmiller will be a good leader. 

“Honestly, I don’t see any struggle with our new coach, as far as practice-wise and everything that’s been going on since we started this summer in the spring. I feel like we’ve been doing pretty good together,” Williams said 

With the season not far away, the Stangs are already preparing for what’s ahead. 

“Be on the lookout,” Williams said.