HARTINGTON — After leading Southern Valley to the 2020 Class D1 boys basketball championship game, head coach Tylor Fincher decided it was time to move on following his team’s loss to Laurel-Concord-Coleridge and move to Northeast Nebraska.
So, Fincher headed to the Hartington-Newcastle school district to teach sixth grade and become the new assistant coach for the Wildcats varsity boys basketball team.
“Last season was a great experience for me as a coach,” Fincher said. “My team at Southern Valley was a great team that I had coached since they were in seventh and eighth grade. They trusted me and they trusted each other. Their goals at the beginning of the season were not only to make the state tournament but also win the whole thing. I felt like all season they were always on the same page as the coaches and other teammates.
“Even though we didn’t quite win the championship, I felt so happy and accomplished with the team and season.”
Fincher taught five years at Southern Valley and for four of those, was the head varsity coach.
But it was time to head back home.
“The reason my wife, Kelsey, and I chose to move to Hartington is because we are both from northeast Nebraska,” Fincher said. “I’m from Wausa and my wife is from Coleridge. We just had our first baby boy and it just seemed like the right fit us, our family, to live closer to the grandparents.”
The transition from the big chair to right-hand man will be something Fincher is used to doing since he made a similar move after heading the Wausa boys program for five years before moving on to Southern Valley as an assistant for a season under prep coaching legend John Willer – who moved on to Stuart.
“Now, moving to Hartington and being assistant seems like the right fit for me,” Fincher said. “I like how head coach Nick Haselhorst has established good basketball knowledge and fundamentals with the players we have. I don’t mind at all not being the head coach, especially now that I have a three-month-old at home.
“I ultimately just want to help any age level with my basketball knowledge and help this school be as successful as possible.”
Haselhorst is also very glad the relationship has been established within the coaching staff.
“Tylor’s addition is huge: He has a wealth of experience and has proven to be successful from his playing days and coaching career,” Haselhorst said. “He is a tremendous asset for the boys to learn from and it is a blessing for them to have essentially two head coaches on the staff.” Fincher grew up in his early years
Fincher grew up in his early years within the Hartington school system before moving to Wausa in the first grade.
“The move back has been really nice,” Fincher said. “I have met many people that knew me as a little kid and also remember when my mom (Dawn Friedrich) taught at both Hartington Public and Cedar Catholic back in the day.
“I really like the community and am happy it is such a nice town to have a family in.”
Hartington-Newcastle athletic director Blair Kalin is glad to have Fincher and his wife on board.
“They have been very successful educators and should bring good contributions to our extra-curricular activities,” Kalin said.
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