Whether it's been on the court or in the classroom, Nathan Welstad has seen Century girls basketball up close and personal.
Now, he'll see it from a new point of view -- as head coach.
Welstad was hired as Century's new girls basketball coach on Tuesday. Originally from Glenburn, N.D., and a University of Mary graduate, Welstad has been a math teacher at Century High for the last 14 years and assistant boys basketball coach for the Patriots the last 12 seasons. From 2003-09, he was an assistant men's basketball coach at U-Mary, where he also played four years of college basketball and earned academic All-American honors.
"For me personally the challenge of taking over a program and being able to stay at Century in that building, I felt like it was a really good fit for me," Welstad said. "Obviously, the success of the program speaks for itself. I'm hoping to keep that going."
Welstad replaces Ron Metz, who stepped down as head coach last month after 14 seasons, a 310-50 record and six Class A state championships. Century has played in eight of the last 11 state title games.
"Success in any program typically comes from worrying about the little things day by day and the big things at the end will come," Welstad said. "The expectations for the girls basketball program at Century are very high. You see that in how hard the girls have worked through the years and the coaching staff as well."
Welstad said his time working alongside Century boys coach Darin Mattern prepared him for his new opportunity.
"Darin not only teaches his players how to be ready for life but also prepares his coaches to be successful," Welstaid said.
Century will return a strong core next season, including the best player in the state in Logan Nissley, who will be a junior. The Patriots went 26-0 en route to the title.
Welstad will bring a familiar approach to what Metz preached.
"The girls program is known for defense and I'm definitely a defense-first guy," he said. "A lot of things will stay the same in that regard. I'm sure there will be things that will be a little different just in terms of my personality and how I run things."
His background with current players should make for a smooth transition.
"Most of the girls are former students," he said. "I look forward to getting to know them better."
Welstad, who is married (Kari) with four children, interviewed for the job last week and was told Tuesday he was the guy. Up next is preparing for the summer.
"A lot of the stuff we've been doing on the boys side is really similar to the girls side in terms of team camps and summer workouts," Welstad said. "A lot of our girls play volleyball and other sports. At Century, we're all about developing those multi-sport athletes and that will continue to be a focus for us."
Reach Tribune sports editor Dave Selvig at (701) 250-8246 or email@example.com