Born to Coach

Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 12.41.09 PMBy: Kellen Westering ’16

Repetitive claps and thunderous roars fill Olson Auditorium as the Lutes Men’s Basketball team have more lightbulbs on the scoreboard then that of their opponent. They make the short walk back to the locker room where they begin to celebrate knowing they are going to make the playoffs. Each player and coach with smiles from ear to ear. Head Coach Steve Dickerson begins to praise his players for their valiant effort on the court. He then begins to praise a familiar name in the PLU basketball community. But this time he is not being praised as a player, but as a coach. This young man is named Arvid Isaksen.

From an early age Arvid knew he wanted to be a head basketball coach. “Basketball has always been my favorite sport. My hero was the head coach for the Chicago Bulls Phil Jackson, and I knew I wanted to be just like him.” Arvid went to Lake Stevens High School and made the decision to play basketball for Steve Dickerson back in 2010. He had a stellar career at PLU where he was a four year letterman and a captain for the basketball team. “Arvid is one of the best captains I’ve ever been associated with,” Dickerson said. Arvid also won a prestigious award his senior year for his great leadership skills in winning the Frosty Westering Award.

After graduating PLU in 2014, Arvid knew he wanted to get into coaching as well as further his education. What better way to
do that then to be a grad assistant for the Men’s Basketball


Coach Arvid at UW.          Credit: Amy Lessig

program at the University of Washington. According to, Arvid’s role as a GA at UW consisted of creating scouting reports, video breakdown, recruiting projects, player development and operational duties. Arvid believes his year spent at UW really helped him transition to being an assistant coach at PLU. “Being a GA at UW has really helped my basketball IQ as a coach. It was basketball all day long and I learned so many things that I didn’t know as a player. A lot of the coaching duties I had at UW I now have at PLU.”

Once Arvid graduated with his Masters degree, he knew he wanted to come back to Parkland to help his alma matter. Being close to his newly engaged fiancé also may have factored in. Arvid approached Coach Dickerson at the end of last year to see if Dickerson would allow him to be an assistant coach. “It was a no brainer for me. Once Arvid graduated I knew he was going to be dearly missed in the program, so to have him come back just a year later was awesome,” Dickerson said. Coach Dickerson was also impressed with how much Arvid had learned while over at UW. “I trust Arvid with all of our scouting reports and he’s just two years from being removed as a player. Now that’s saying something. He truly has an amazing future as a head basketball coach someday.”


Arvid’s senior basketball picture.       Credit: Arvid Isaksen

The Lutes Men’s basketball program is back in the playoffs this year for the first time since 2010. They have looked night and day different compared to last year. The team’s energy and effort is up and their confidence is the biggest thing that stands out. Junior star Erik Swartout had this to say about coach Arvid. “He knows the game so well and he has a confidence about him that rubs off on everyone. That confidence and positive attitude is what will make him an effective coach in the future.” With Arvid only being two years away from being separated as a player, it’s very evident to see that the players on the team can relate to him a lot more. Sophomore phenom Dylan Foreman says, “It’s a nice change of pace being coached by Arvid because he understands what it’s like to be a player on the team because he played a couple years ago.”

As coach Dickerson praises Arvid for his great scouting report for the game tonight, Arvid can’t help but defer the success right back to the players as they are the ones that executed it. The PLU men’s basketball locker room is full of cheerful, sweaty, and hungry young men as they are exhausted after a great team win. Farrelli’s Pizza is where the young men are headed to celebrate. As the players begin to exit the locker room, Coach Dickerson stops Arvid


Arvid attempting a jump shot.   Credit: Arvid Isaksen

in his tracks and lets him know he needs to get started on the scouting report tonight for next weeks opponent. Arvid can’t help but smile as he knows two years ago he would be eating pizza with the boys but now he has work to do. Yet he wouldn’t want it any other way as he knows he was born to coach.

Click here to watch interview with Arvid and Coach Dickerson

Categories: Basketball, Other, Parkland, PLU, Sports

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