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Junior leading the way for Lexington boys basketball

UNK junior Tyler Slechta served as varsity boys basketball coach at Lexington last season. Here he draws up a play for the Minutemen during a timeout. Photo courtesy of Paul Pack

For many young college students wanting to get into coaching, they often only get volunteer or assistant coaching opportunities. However, for junior Tyler Slechta, he spent the last year as the head varsity boys basketball coach for the Lexington Minutemen. 

The education major led the Minutemen this year, and even with a struggling record, saw many improvements throughout the season. 

“I was pretty confident in my career and life choice, but after coaching Lexington this year, that took any doubts out of my mind and I had an absolute blast,” Slechta said. “I made many mistakes, but also I got to experience a lot of good basketball.” 

In high school, Slechta was a multi-sport athlete, excelling in his basketball play. That experience along with this first year with Lexington has helped him in this role at such a young age. 

“It’s just kind of like having a college job but a lot more fun,” Slechta said. “I do think my reputation as a basketball player did kind of enhance my name a little bit.” 

There were many applicants for the open Lexington boys basketball job headed into the season, but Slechta stood out from the rest, said Phil Truax,  Lexington high school athletic director. 

“His optimism was contagious and our players believed, he put us on a really good trajectory,” Truax said. “Tyler came in with a really clear vision and had a really clear road map as to how he was going to get us there.” 

With Slechta balancing both school and coaching a basketball team, he had to figure out how to balance both.

“I learned a lot from quickly making sure that my time management skills were effective,” Slechta said. “They (professors) were really kind and understanding and kind of welcoming my goals and I thought I was able to handle it pretty well.” 

With Slechta balancing both school and being the head coach of a basketball team, the Lexington athletic department had to trust he could handle both headed into the season. 

“He proved every single doubter wrong and every single believer right,” Truax said. “I’m really glad that we trusted him because he did not lie. He came through perfectly and was able to handle things on both ends.” 

This experience has given Slechta a head start as he finishes college and gets ready for life after school.

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Jon Willis
Jon Willis, Reporter
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