The varsity basketball teams from Minnetonka High School will play several girl/boy doubleheaders this season, doing so Dec. 20 at Benilde-St. Margaret’s and twice more in February against Eden Prairie. The Lake Conference, in fact, is considering having its five member schools – including Minnetonka – someday going to a girl/boy varsity format for all conference basketball games.
Nobody is more strongly in favor of that concept than the Minnetonka head coaches … who just happen to be married to each other. Tom and Leah Dasovich would enjoy nothing more than being on the same travel schedule and seeing each other’s teams play while having their five-year-old daughter Emma in the gym.
“It’ll be fun for us,” said boys coach Tom Dasovich. “We’ll get to be in one spot on the same night.”
They may be the only husband and wife in Minnesota who are head boys and girls basketball coaches at the same school.
Tom is in his second year as the Minnetonka boys coach after previous head-coaching stops at Columbia Heights and Henry Sibley. Leah, a former Minnetonka assistant, is in her first year as the girls head coach. It’s a match made in basketball heaven, or at least at St. Cloud State University.
Tom and Leah were athletes at St. Cloud State when they met, as Leah joked, “in the training room over a bucket of ice.” Tom played football and basketball at Hopkins High School and football at St. Cloud State. Before Leah (then Leah Thomsen) began her St. Cloud State career, she played center on a St. Cloud Apollo basketball team that lost to Rochester Mayo – led by future WNBA players Kelly and Coco Miller – in the 1995 Class 2A state championship game.
After graduating from college, Tom and Leah (both are 33 years old) were hired as teachers at Minnetonka. Leah has been there ever since, teaching language arts and working as an assistant to former girls basketball coach Bart Inniger until Emma came along. Tom, a social studies teacher, left Minnetonka after one year when he was named head coach at Columbia Heights, and later at Henry Sibley. His Henry Sibley teams went to the Class 4A state tournament in 2008, 2009 and 2010, losing to Minnetonka in the 2008 state championship game.
They were reunited at Minnetonka a year ago when Tom was named boys basketball coach, and Leah became the girls head coach when Inniger stepped down after last season. She had been offered the girls coaching position at Henry Sibley when her husband was there, but the timing wasn’t right with a new baby in the family.
“When this came up, already being a teacher at Minnetonka and Emma starting school this year, it was the right time,” Leah said. “We don’t have another baby right now and it all just seemed to click. It was time to make it work.
“I knew Bart really well and he made it really easy to transition in. Plus, I know all these girls and I’ve had almost all of them in class.”
The Dasoviches hired a nanny to help out with Emma, “so a lot of the coaching salary goes to the nanny,” Tom said with a smile.
It’s no surprise to learn that basketball is a major topic of conversation in the Dasovich household.
“We watch film, we watch games, we talk basketball all the time,” Leah said. “It was nice when Tom was coaching and had those really nice years and making those runs, he’d talk about what they needed to do in practice and we would bounce ideas off each other. It kept me into it a little bit and now he’s been helping me out quite a bit, too.”
Tom said, “She’s definitely a good sounding board. I used to make bad jokes that she was my unpaid assistant. But she really was. She helped me break down film and she helped me scout. It’s nice to have somebody who really understands basketball at a high level … better than me, at least.”
The two Minnetonka teams played back-to-back on the same court at Saturday’s Breakdown Tip-Off Classic at Hopkins. The girls defeated Richfield 68-57 and the boys beat Rogers 93-83. The boys have a 2-0 record and will play at Bloomington Kennedy on Tuesday; the girls will take a 3-0 record into a Thursday home game against Orono.
Everyone at Minnetonka is looking forward to the upcoming girl/boy doubleheaders, especially the head coaches.
“I love that idea,” Leah Dasovich said. “It makes it easier for Emma to come and our parents to come, and it’s a good support system for the girls and boys to support each other. Why not give it a go?”
BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 169
*Miles John has driven: 5,111
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