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Girls basketball: Muelken promoted to lead Red Wing program

After two years as an assistant with the Red Wing girls basketball program, Dave Muelken was hired to replace Kraig Ulveling who resigned after the 2010-2011 season.

Red Wing athletic director Matt Schultz said he was sold on Muelken's calm demeanor and personality during the interview process. Jon Bohmbach saw the same traits during their two years together on Ulveling's staff.

"Great disposition with the girls," Bohmbach said. "I think he handles them real well. He's going to be much more laid back than Kraig. I think the girls respect his knowledge and understand he's still very, very competitive even though he maybe (has) a more laid-back style."

Muelken was hired Wednesday and he said one thing that won't change is the brand of basketball the Wingers play.

"(Ulveling) was a big man-to-man defensive guy, liked to apply a lot of pressure, liked an up-tempo game when you can and we'll continue to do that," Muelken said. "... We're gonna push the ball and try and create layups, create the highest-percentage shots we can. It's pretty simple when you break it down like that."

Muelken, who played four years at Bemidji State, also has coached ninth-grade boys basketball at Prior Lake and spring basketball teams for Wear Out the Net Basketball Academy in Lakeville, Minn. In addition, he's been a girls coach for the Red Wing Basketball Association the last six years.

"I really enjoy teaching the game to kids," Muelken said. "That's the bottom line. When I got the opportunity to do it, I just love it."

Bohmbach said Muelken's experience as a player and a coach has helped him become a strong strategist.

"He's come up with some excellent drills that are different than what I've seen," said Bohmbach, adding, "Out of bounds plays, certain situation plays that he's brought, that's the kind of stuff -- the X's and O's -- he knows quite well."

Red Wing returns four key players including junior-to-be Tesha Buck from a team that reached the Class AAA state tournament; however, the 2011 team also featured four seniors, three of whom started.

"We need some kids to step up that basically didn't play varsity last year," Muelken said. "We've got that nucleus and there's I think some kids that will (step up), but this is a big summer for them. Losing those four seniors it just creates opportunities for other kids and I hope they look at it that way."

Muelken's daughter McKenzie will be a freshman in the program in the fall.

Jesse Nelson, the Red Wing cross country and girls track and field coach, was the other finalist for the job.

"We had the opportunity to pick between two really outstanding people and we could only pick one," said Stan Slessor, Red Wing's superintendent and a member of the search committee.