These are the words Osakis boys’ basketball coach Matt Hoelscher used on Monday morning, May 10, to describe his friend, assistant coach and colleague Kyle Imdieke.
Hoelscher and many others in the community of Osakis are working through the grieving process and the shock of Imdieke’s unexpected death at his home on May 6 at the age of 45. His cause of death has not been disclosed.
Visitations will take place from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, May 12 at the Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception in Osakis. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, May 13 at the Silverstreaks football field at LeRoy Mackove Sports Complex.
“He’s one of the most genuine people I’ve ever met,” Hoelscher said. “(Sunday) night I was going through my text journal that I had with him for three and a half, four years. He always asked me questions about my family. His classroom was right across from mine, so when he knew we had an AAU tournament, he always wanted to know how it was going; how did my daughter do?
Imdieke graduated from Osakis High School in 1993 and obtained a teaching diploma from Bemidji State University.
He worked as a special education teacher in Osakis public schools and as an assistant coach of men’s basketball, in addition to being an assistant head coach and offensive coordinator of the football team. This is in addition to helping athletic trainers at the elementary levels.
His songs Logan Wolf and Luke Imdieke are recent Osakis graduates; a third son, Drew Imdieke, is a freshman in high school.
Kyle Imdieke chats with his son, Luke, on the sidelines of an Osakis football game. Luke was a 2020 Osakis graduate who, with Kyle’s help as an assistant coach, ran over 3,000 yards for the Silverstreaks during his career before moving to Minnesota State University-Moorhead where he was. a first year this school year. (Photo contributed)
“He was a great father. He was so passionate about their education and their life, ”Osakis college football coach Bill Infanger said.
Imdieke, his children, their friends and family endured the grief of losing his wife, Dayni, in 2016. Dayni died at the age of 42 after a five-year battle with a rare form of pancreatic cancer .
It was during Dayni’s illness that Hoelscher got to know Imdieke really well.
“When his wife passed away, I was completely amazed at the role he took on,” Hoelscher said. “It was all about her kids and making sure they were able to have the experience they needed… I know how important my wife is to our family and everything she does. I couldn’t imagine what I would do without her. For Kyle to do this, I was really impressed and had a lot of respect for what he did for his children after his wife passed away.
Having Imdieke as a coach was like having a second head coach, Hoelscher and Infanger said.
Both have spent countless hours over the years texting and talking about game plans with Imdieke knowing they could be trusted with his contribution.
“He brought a very calm demeanor to the group,” Hoelscher said. “We’ve had instances where if I was upset, Kyle was the one to pick up the parts with these kids.”
Osakis head football coach Bill Infanger (right) shares a hug with assistant coach and friend Kyle Imdieke after the Silverstreaks won the Section 6AA championship against Pillager on November 1, 2019 (photo published)
Osakis’ Lee VanNyhuis saw Imdieke’s selflessness firsthand as they worked together in recent years with the junior varsity athletes in the men’s basketball program.
Imdieke has taken on additional duties to free VanNyhuis to have time to watch his daughter, Mara, play for the Osakis women’s basketball team this winter. And Imdieke was there again when VanNyhuis’ father passed away in February.
“(O) n the day after school, (Kyle) came over and spent a lot of time talking to me about what it was like for him and his wife going through this process,” VanNyhuis said. “I asked him for advice on this. He really supported me at the time. When my father passed away, he was there for me for this part too. He was ready to listen and gave very good advice on grieving. “
Now, the Osakis community will attempt to offer the same support to those closest to Imdieke as they come together to remember him on the Osakis football pitch on Thursday.
“A lot of his blood, sweat and tears went to that football field with his boys who went through the program,” Infanger said. “Even his dreams for the future. I just know by being his friend and training with him how eager he was to coach Drew and Drew’s classmates and the teams we have to come. To have (the memorial service on the football field), that seems really appropriate to me.