By Brad Blume
Coble a fixture in Lady Hardrocker basketball for 25 years
Sports Information Director
South Dakota School of Mines
RAPID CITY --- For the past 25 years the South Dakota School of Mines women’s basketball program has been renowned, not only in the area as a hoops powerhouse, but also in the NAIA.
One of the main reasons for the Lady Hardrockers’ success has come from its coaching staff.
Many are familiar with the SD Mines head coach Barb Felderman and her long tenure at the helm of the program. She has had great success and fortune and there is no doubt that she bleeds royal blue and old gold.
Another factor that attributes to the Lady Hardrockers’ accomplishment also comes from a veteran of the SDM coaching staff in assistant coach Lori Coble.
Coble has also been with the Hardrockers for a great deal of time, in her 25th season with the Rockers, and can also be looked at to account for all the accolades that the Mines women have earned.
“Lori is every bit as much a coach as I am. A lot of the times I get the glory but she is very good with the strategies (of the game). She enjoys that part,” said Felderman of her assistant coach. “She has a love for the game and the kids.”
Former standout player (1994-99) and fellow assistant coach Ann Konechne agreed.
“She’s been coaching for over 20 years and understands the game. There is no doubt she could be successful as a basketball coach where ever she was,” Konechne said.
Konechne added that while playing, Coble acted not only as a coach, but also as a mentor and councilor.
“The best part of coach Coble is that she helps both on and off the court,” Konechne said. “She takes time to understand the players outside the game of basketball and she understands the academic challenges being a professor on campus. She understands what the students go through and is able to relate.”
Coble is also a professor at South Dakota School of Mines, teaching courses in anatomy and physiology. She has been teaching those course for about five years.
When Felderman first came to South Dakota School of Mines in 1983, her first assistant, Bob Holloway, decided to leave the team after a year of service to spend more time with his family.
“I was looking for (an assistant) and Lori asked if she could apply,” Felderman said. “I really didn’t know her that well, but knew she had a history of competitive basketball and played on some very good teams, so it sounded good to me.” Coble was raised in Vivian, S.D., and went to high school in Presho, S.D. She attended college at Dakota State University in Madison, S.D. and was a standout player for the Lady Trojans. Coble earned all conference honors during the 1979-80 season and still holds a few steals and assists records. Coincidentally, Coble’s final collegian game was at the South Dakota School of Mines, where her team was defeated by the Hardrockers for the conference championship. To top off her playing career, Coble was inducted into the Dakota State Hall of Fame in 2003.
After college, Coble spent a year coaching at the high school level in Plankinton, S.D., before joining the Lady Hardrocker coaching staff. After a year in Rapid City as an assistant, Coble left to go to graduate school at the University of Minnesota.
“We thought she was done assisting when she left and by chance she got the city rec. job when she came back,” Felderman said. “When she worked for city rec., she use to have to take vacation days to go on our road trips.”
Coble worked for the YMCA in Rapid City and was the head of the Rapid City Recreation Department while still assisting for SDM.
How many people would give up their vacation to travel to Minot, North Dakota (for example),” Felderman added.
After a quarter of a century together, both Felderman and Coble have been able to work with one another very well despite having different styles and approaches to the game of basketball. One could say that Coble is the ying to Felderman’s yang.
“She has a quieter demeanor compared to me,” Felderman said of Coble. “So you could say I am kind of the acid and she’s the base. (Lori is) very forgiving. She has a perfect personality. She lets everything run off her back, but when she feels strong about something she speaks up.”
As a player, Konechne knew she could go to either Felderman or Coble and get good and sound advice whether it be basketball or just life in general.
“There is a huge base of trust and loyalty. I think that coach Felderman and coach Coble exude that --- and they, in turn, exude that in all their teams as well,” Konechne said. “That is what makes (Lori) such a good assistant coach.”
And is because of that fact that Coble has established so many relationships with current and former players over the years.
“I would venture to guess that all the former players that Lori has coached would consider her and call her a life-long friend,” Konechne said. “She stands for and compliments everything that the School of Mines should be.”
Whether it be two years or 25, Coble is certainly good in both the intricacies of basketball as well as life.
Felderman added by saying “Lori always kids that, yeah, she has been here for 25 years, but she started when she was 10 ( that’s why she is so young).”
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