One of Chanhassen High School’s original varsity head coaches, Nate Pelowski, announced he is stepping down from the boys basketball position.
Pelowski led the Storm in all 11 seasons, reaching the section final in 2012 where Chanhassen won 23 games. The Storm totaled 17 victories in 2018-19.
“It has been one of my greatest joys building our Storm program into what it has become today. A program that instills the highest qualities in our players, both as athletes and men. I have watched our players grow as students, strong student leaders and contributing citizens, all of which I am extremely proud of. The pride I feel for this program that has gifted me so much joy, lifelong relationships, friendships, family, personal growth, and excellence,” Pelowski said.
Pelowski is the son of former Chaska High School state champion coach Dan Pelowski.
He thanked administration, including former athletic director Dick Ungar, for giving him the opportunity in 2009. Pelowski said having Ungar offering him the position to lead the new program was a “day I never forget.”
“To my players, both past and present, thank you for bestowing upon me the honor of ‘coach.’ I was able to live my passion of basketball with you, and I am so honored to have led all of you on your basketball journeys. Your willingness to show up ready to work and improve not only yourself, but your teammates on a daily basis was truly respected. It makes me proud to know you gave it your all, every single day,” Pelowski said.
The head coach said he will always be a fan of Chanhassen Basketball and will forever have Storm Pride.
Tommy Hutton, head JV coach in the Storm basketball program for the last seven years, was named head varsity coach at Southwest Christian High School, replacing Kit Avery, who stepped down after eight seasons.
“I’m excited for the challenge. I want to make certain things were fine at Chanhassen. My kids went to the school. My heart was at the school,” Hutton said. “In the back of my mind, these last three or four years, I kept my eye on Southwest Christian High School. It’s a smaller school, right in our back yard. I’ve got friends in the building, (Dean of Students) Rob Wassenaar, we’re good buddies from back in the day.”
Hutton, a Hopkins High School graduate, was a walk-on at University of Minnesota-Duluth in both basketball and tennis, earning a full scholarship in basketball his sophomore year. He was selected as a basketball captain and awarded the E.L. “Duce” Rasmussen Award as the school’s top male scholar athlete.
Hutton and his wife, Marilee, have been residents of Victoria for more than 20 years. Their boys, Maxon and Ryder, both had successful football and basketball careers at Chanhassen High School. Both boys went on to play football in college at Concordia-St. Paul and Hamline, respectively.
“I want to build an identity. I want people to hear Southwest Christian basketball and know exactly what they’re facing. I’m going to bring energy and passion. We’re going to get after it,” Hutton said.
Joining Hutton will be longtime friend, Larry Witthus, as an assistant coach. Witthus, a Chanhassen resident, had three children play collegiate athletics including son Joey, a recent Division II national basketball champion, as well as daughter Ali and son Eric. Ali is a graduate of SWCHS and was a head softball coach at the school for six years.
“I always teased Larry, if I get a head coach job, you’re going to be assistant. Going back to when our kids were younger, when we coached together, we had so much fun. We have similar styles, similar beliefs in what we want to see of the kids on the court. We both have a goal of everyone getting better. From the best player on the team down. What I tried to do at Chanhassen was push the little things and how that can make the difference. Larry and I played at a higher level, we’ve been around the game, and we’re excited to share what we have learned,” Hutton said.