Mike Dreier accepted congratulations from his assistant coach, his son Joey, after the 1,000th victory Friday. Photos by Mike Moore, West Central Tribune
New London-Spicer girls’ basketball coach Mike Dreier, who is in his 44th season as the Wildcats coach, has been the leader in career victories by a girls’ basketball coach in Minnesota since the 1994-95 season.
Since then, milestone victories have been reached with consistency. Career victory No. 500 was in 2001, followed by No. 600 in 2005, No. 700 in 2009, No. 800 in 2014 and No. 900 in 2018.
On Friday at New London, Minn., Dreier added another milestone victory when the Wildcats pulled away in the second half to defeat Watertown-Mayer 60-36 and give Dreier his 1,000th career victory.
With the victory Dreier, who has a career record of 1,000-185 (.844 winning percentage), joined Chisholm boys’ basketball coach Bob McDonald (1,012 victories in 59 seasons) as the only high school coaches in state history to reach 1,000 victories.
Dreier is the 15th girls’ high school basketball coach in the nation to reach the milestone.
The Wildcats, who are ranked No. 7 in Class 2A and have reached the state tournament the past two seasons, outscored the Royals 41-23 in the second half to improve to 15-2 on the season. The Wildcats led by three late in the first half, before a three-pointer by Dakota Rich at the buzzer gave the Wildcats a 19-13 halftime lead.
The victory came three days after the Wildcats lost to Litchfield in Dreier’s first opportunity to reach the milestone.
“The team felt bad after that loss,” said Dreier. “They shouldn’t have. I think they put extra pressure on themselves and tried too hard. They played very well tonight, and we had a very good second half. This has definitely been a distraction, but it’s exciting.”
Dreier has directed the Wildcats to the state tournament 19 times — the most state tournament appearances by a high school basketball coach (boys’ or girls’) in Minnesota.
Earlier this season, the National High School Basketball Coaches Association named Dreier a recipient of the organization’s inaugural John Wooden Legacy Award.