After a season with only three total wins and a 1-19 conference record, it was clear the Concordia men’s basketball team needed a change in direction. That change came on April 2, 2020, in the form of Tyler Bormann being named the new head coach of the team.
Bormann began his coaching career while he was still a sophomore at Concordia in 2003. After he graduated in 2006, Bormann worked as an assistant coach while in grad school at Augustana in South Dakota. After graduating with his master’s degree in education, Bormann went on to become the top assistant coach for Lakeland College in Wisconsin for 3 seasons, and then for one season at the University of Jamestown.
Bormann got his first opportunity as a head coach in 2012 when he accepted the head coaching position at Breckenridge High School. Bormann was named the Section 8AA Coach of the Year in 2015 and led the Cowboys to their first state tournament appearance in 36 years in 2016. He then accepted the head coaching job at Moorhead High School in 2016 where he experienced much of the same success he had in Breckenridge. Bormann led the Spuds to back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time in school history in 2019 and 2020. And, after being offered the head coaching job by his alma mater in the spring of 2020, he became Concordia men’s basketball’s twelfth head coach in program history.
Bormann said the reasons he chose to take the job at Concordia were the same reasons he chose to further his education there.
“I just liked the community feel, the community aspect here. That’s what brought me back,” he said.
On making the leap from coaching high school basketball to coaching in college, Bormann said “the Xs and Os are the same from high school all the way to the highest level, it’s all about fostering strong relationships.” One of the only differences Bormann noted between coaching high school and college was the ability to recruit and being able to find the type of player he thinks would fit in with the culture he is trying to establish.
This season is not only unique for Bormann because this is his first year coaching the Cobbers, but COVID-19 has caused the team to have a limited number of opportunities to practice as a team.
“We had to start the year in small groups. We’ve had little to no team activities,” said Bormann. The inconsistency of actually being able to play basketball has also been one of the largest thorns in the first-year coach’s side. Thus far, five of the men’s team’s first six games have been postponed due to COVID-19-related reasons.
“It’s completely affected every decision we make as coaches. And it’s really negatively impacted the experience our guys have been able to have,” said Bormann.
Bormann stressed the importance of not only practicing and improving their basketball technique, but building interpersonal relationships and community outreach too. But, with the looming specter of COVID-19, that may not be possible for the foreseeable future.
“We not only want to teach these young men how to win on the court, but off the court as well,” said Bormann.
Bormann said he is not concerned about the team’s record this season as much as he is establishing a culture and taking advantage of the opportunities they do have in this unique first season at Concordia.