Like Father, Like Son

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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) -- "He gave me a ring and he said, 'would you be interested in doing it?' And I said, 'yea I think I might! It might be fun," Gene Manson recalls of a conversation with his son Bart.

And just like that Bart Manson had hired his dad as an assistant boys' basketball coach at Fargo Davies.

"We don't agree on everything but we agree on a lot of stuff," said Bart. "And I think the basis of the whole program is what we agree on the most."

"Sometimes I can just tell him. If he doesn't like it he doesn't have to do it," adds Gene. "That's up to him. Because it's his program."

"I'm just here to help out and have fun," he said with a smile.

He also adds a lot of experience.

45-years of coaching experience in the state of North Dakota, Gene Manson knows a thing or two about coaching.

And it isn't lost on his son. Even with more than 20 years of his own experience as a coach.

"It's always good to have that sounding board. There's nobody else who has that," Bart said his father's coaching experience.

But that's not entirely true anymore.

Because now, at least twice a year, the Manson's meet the Kirchoffner's on the hardwood.

"It just makes sense to have him right next to me and spending more time with him," says Tom Kirchoffner. Or rather Tommy, as he's called in his house.

When Tommy got the job as head boy's varsity coach at West Fargo Sheyenne he says there's no one he respected more than one of his own high school basketball coach, his own father.

"Each year it's been better and better," says his father Tom. "He's got good kids coming, more enrollment and he's got a good coaching staff. That's half the battle."

It's a little easier though when you can count on your old man.

And Tom Kirchoffner can go toe to toe with Gene Manson in experience. And while they may have their difference in size they both offer a similar, alternative perspective to their younger counterparts.

"I think offensively he's probably got more imagination than I ever had," said Gene of his son Bart's coaching style. "I was kind of the simple Simon."

"I'm an inside guy. And I believe the ball should go inside," offered Tom. "But right now, we go outside."

A product of the times, both the sons have veered from their father's example.

In some ways.

But both agree some things will never change.

Both on the court.

"That half court trap has been, in 40 years of high school basketball teams still have a hard time figuring it out," said Bart as he and Gene chuckled. "So we'll continue to run that too. So there's some good things that have stuck around for a long time too."

And things won't certainly won't change off the court.

"You're only amounted so much time on this planet and to spend more time with your father, it's great," said Tommy.

The two families met on the court last Friday. It was the first time the Kirchoffner's have beaten the Manson's on the basketball court since both families moved to Fargo.

They'll meet again February 20th at Sheyenne.