MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Hopkins High School’s varsity boys basketball team is playing at a high level.
“You know, they’re going through the stages,” said Coach Ken Novak Jr. “They’re taking care of business, doing what they’re supposed to do. And, you know, things have kind of started to rattle off a little bit.”
Each day, Novak Jr. is afforded the support of a coach of 67 years: Ken Novak Sr., who is his son’s biggest fan.
“He’s so exacting on when he sees in people and see in practice, and what they have to be doing,” Ken Sr. said.
Actually, Ken Sr. is a fan of every player in the program.
“He thinks every kid’s the greatest guy,” Ken Jr. said. “If you’re going to Hopkins, man, you’re the greatest kid that ever lived!”
He does have a bit of a favorite — the kid who made “the shot.” Blake Hoffarber happens to be his grandson, and Grandpa was on the bench in the 2005 state tournament game when he made the miracle shot while lying on his back. But Ken Sr. did not see it, because a tall member of the coaching staff stood up in front of him just as it happened.
Ken Sr. has seen plenty, though, and this is what makes life full: a sense of purpose.
“I really enjoy it,” Ken Sr. said. “I don’t do much anymore at all, but we go scouting together and so forth, and I watch practice.”
As Ken Sr. approaches an 89th birthday, he understands that life, and basketball, are precious.
“I’ll tell you something: This place, and working — or not working with Ken [Jr.] because I just sit around and watch and so forth — I really had a great life,” Ken Sr. said.