SIOUX CENTER, Iowa | It seems like only yesterday that Kyle Lindbergh was running up and down the court making big play after big play for the Dordt College men's basketball team.
Now, the past Great Plains Athletic Conference player of the year is head women's coach at his alma mater, albeit on an interim basis. Lindbergh will hold the spot for this season only before Bill Harmsen takes over for the 2018-19 campaign.
Lindbergh has no problem keeping the seat warm for Harmsen, currently the head boys coach at Hull Western Christian High School.
“I'm used to year by year contracts, that's how they did it overseas,” said Lindbergh, who played professionally in Australia for two years after graduating from Dordt (2015, 16). “It's not new for me and my wife, we're used to being places for a year. I don't think I'd want to be any place else. Dordt is a great place to be, great people, great kids and it's just a lot of fun.”
Lindbergh's squad evened its record at 2-2 with a 65-48 victory over Waldorf at De Witt Gymnasium here Tuesday night. His starting lineup consisted of three sophomores and two freshmen.
“It's a young coaching staff and young team so we're flexible,” Lindbergh said. “There's a lot of adjustments and learning but it's been kind of cool to see some of our sophomores step up and take some leadership roles. We've got some juniors coming back from soccer now so it will be nice to get a little more experience on the court, especially in practice to know what level it takes to play at the college level.”
Annie Rhinesmith, one of the sophomores, tossed in a game-high 22 points, shooting 8-for-13 from the floor and 4 of 8 from beyond the arc. Rachel Evavold, a 6-1 sophomore post, added 16 points while freshman Erika Feenstra chipped in seven points and seven rebounds.
Samantha Birkes, a 5-9 junior from Sioux City West, paced Waldorf (0-3) with 14 points and eight rebounds. Birkes, who came off the bench, had averaged five points per game in the first two outings of the season.
Dordt had similar leads of 11, 12 and 11 points at the first three quarter breaks, but Waldorf trimmed it to 48-43 with the first six points of the fourth quarter. The Defenders, though, reeled off nine in a row and held the Warriors without a field goal for the final nine minutes of the game.
Lindbergh's young team has broken even in its first four games.
“We had a tough stretch up in North Dakota (losses to Mayville State and Jamestown) but it was fun getting on the road and just letting our girls bond as a team,” Lindbergh said. “I saw a lot of things we needed to work on and even tonight there are more things that we continue to need to work on.
“This has been super rewarding. I get to work with a great group of girls and they have fun. It's cool to see their interactions on and off the court. It's a lot different on the coaching side of things than it is to go out there and play. It's nice to see them go out there and enjoy it and see it pay off tonight in a victory.”
Lindbergh, a Margate, Florida, native, was a member of three NAIA Division II national tournament qualifying teams for Dordt, earning first team All-America honors in 2014, when he was the GPAC player of the year. He was a two-time conference defensive player of the year.
He spent last season as an assistant girls basketball coach at Sioux Falls O'Gorman.