DeLaSalle High School is excited to name Travis Bledsoe `05 as its new varsity boys’ basketball coach. Bledsoe comes back to his alma mater after five seasons coaching at Centennial High School, first as an assistant in the girls’ program and for the past three, as head boys’ basketball coach. He has also served as an AAU coach and, since 2013, he has also served as Director of Nike basketball camps in Minnesota. No stranger to the Island, Bledsoe is one of the most successful and best-known boys’ basketball players in DeLaSalle history, a three-year starter, graduating in 2005 as a Mr. Basketball finalist, and all-state first team guard for the Islanders.
DeLaSalle’s Director of Student Activities, Adam Pribyl, noted that, “We received applications from several outstanding candidates, but in the end, Travis stood out for several reasons. He’s been a head coach at the varsity level. Everyone we talked to spoke highly of Travis. He’s a strong teacher, an advocate for the individual skill development of his athletes as well as the personal and spiritual development of young men. He has himself been a stellar high school and collegiate athlete and in that context, fully understands the commitment necessary to achieve excellence.”
After graduating from DeLaSalle, Bledsoe became one of the best players to ever play at the University of North Dakota. Following a medical redshirt year, Bledsoe played regularly at UND from 2006-2010. He became the 30th player in UND history to reach the 1000 point level, served as team captain, led the team in scoring and was named first team all-conference in his senior year, and graduated as the single season and career 3-point field goal percentage leader. He earned his degree in Communications from UND and played professionally for one year in the Czech Republic before returning home to coach in Minnesota.
He began his coaching career shortly thereafter on the AAU circuit and continues as an AAU coach in the Team Tyus program. Bledsoe served as assistant varsity girls’ basketball coach at Centennial from 2012-2014 and was named head coach of the boys’ program in 2014. Serving as Director of Nike basketball camps, Bledsoe also has assisted the skill development of hundreds of players in Minnesota and across the country.
Going back to the 1930s, to the eras of legendary coaches George Roberts, Johnny Kundla, and Dick Reinhart, DeLaSalle has built one of the most storied high school basketball legacies in Minnesota (23 total state titles – 12 in Catholic or independent tournaments from 1930-1974 and 11 MSHSL state titles since 1975). The 1931 team won the National Catholic School Championship. When the MSHSL opened its tournaments to include private and parochial schools in 1975, fittingly, DeLaSalle qualified for the tournament in its first year of eligibility. Currently, DeLaSalle is on a streak of six straight Class AAA championships (2012-17), a Minnesota high school record for most consecutive state titles.
Bledsoe played in the 2003 and 2005 state tournaments under his predecessor, former Islander coach, Dave Thorson. Thorson accepted a new position as assistant men’s basketball coach at Drake University in April. Thorson coached at DeLaSalle for the past 23 seasons, capturing including nine state championships in his tenure, including the past six Class AAA titles.
DeLaSalle is the third largest Catholic high school in Minnesota, finishing its 117th year on Nicollet Island, adjacent to downtown Minneapolis. Enrollment has grown steadily for the past 27 years and now stands at 760 total students in grades 9-12. Almost 400 eighth graders have applied for one of the 200 available places in the Class of 2021. The curriculum is college preparatory, with over 98 percent or more of recent graduates matriculating to college each year. More information about DeLaSalle or its boys’ basketball program may be found at www.delasalle.com.