Duval named next St. Joseph-Ogden boys' hoops coach

Duval named next St. Joseph-Ogden boys' hoops coach

ST. JOSEPH — The Duval surname is a well-known one pertaining to St. Joseph-Ogden High School sports.

Much of that has to do with Dick Duval, who ran the Spartans’ football program from 1988 through 2015. But now, Duval’s son is getting a chance to helm an SJ-O squad of his own.

Kiel Duval was confirmed Monday night as the next SJ-O boys’ basketball coach by the St. Joseph-Ogden Board of Education. He’ll take over for Brian Brooks, who stepped down from the post earlier this month after 15 seasons.

“I’m excited about the opportunity, (and) I’m excited about the kids we have coming back,” said Duval, a 2005 SJ-O graduate. “I’m just ready to get started.”

Duval has worked under Brooks the last nine seasons, and Duval also competed for Brooks during his high school career with the Spartans.

Brooks, the superintendent of the SJ-O school district since 2015, said at the time of his resignation he planned to recommend Kiel to the school board as his successor.

“He’s definitely ready for the opportunity,” Brooks said. “I would hate to lose him to somewhere else, not only because he’s an outstanding young coach, but also an outstanding young teacher.”

The 31-year-old Duval, who teaches math at SJ-O, will be tasked with following in some sizable footsteps.

Brooks guided the Spartans to a Class 2A state championship in 2016, as well as nine regional titles, three sectional crowns and two super-sectional victories while compiling a 324-121 record beginning in the 2003-04 season.

Both Duval and Brooks said any new coach must run the show in his own way, but Duval also noted Brooks is among the only basketball leaders he’s ever played or worked for.

“A lot of the stuff I do will continue what he did,” Duval said. “We won’t stray from that too much. We’ll do a few things differently here and there, but that should help with the transition.”

Brooks feels Duval brings plenty of strong qualities to the sidelines, with the biggest positive being Duval’s passion for both basketball and helping youngsters. 

Then there’s the added benefit of Duval getting to see what it takes to create a dominant high school program — not only from Brooks, but also from Dick Duval, who led the SJ-O football team to five state title game appearances.

“He knows the expectations are high (with SJ-O athletics),” Brooks said. “He saw what his dad went through as a football coach and has seen the ups and downs of that. You have to be prepared for that when you go into it, and he is.”

Kiel Duval also has other levels of familiarity at his disposal. 

Duval said he anticipates two of Brooks’ assistants — Mike Bialeschki and Dalton Walsh, who are both SJ-O grads themselves — to stick around despite the change up top.

He’s also mentored several current Spartans at both the varsity and JV levels, and he’ll keep nine of 13 athletes from a 2017-18 crew that captured a regional title.

“I’ve developed a pretty good relationship with those guys over the years,” Duval said.

Brooks said he was pleased his advice was considered by those involved in selecting Duval for the position, especially considering Duval has been “aspiring to be a head coach at some point, either here or somewhere else.”

But if you look back nearly a decade, Duval said, that vision wasn’t quite so clear. He’s certainly not complaining about how things have shaken out, though.

“To be honest with you, when I started nine years ago, I didn’t even think about it,” Duval said. “As I started going on, I started to see it more and more. Coach Brooks started to put more and more responsibilities on my plate, just to see if I could handle things. Maybe that was his thought process the whole time.”