Photo by Kirby Neumann-Rea
BLAZER broadcaster Lamar Hurd, center, introduces Rip City Academy coaches, including Travis Erdmann of Parkdale, third from right.
As of Tuesday, March 13, 2018
Travis Erdmann of Parkdale was among 20 youth basketball coaches honored last week by the Portland Trailblazers’ Rip City Academy, in which Hood River HOOPS participates.
Erdmann was among 220 Hood River Community Education players and parents to attend the Blazers’ victory over the New York Knicks on March 6 as part of the honor.
Before the game, Erdman and friends enjoyed a buffet dinner and awards ceremony sponsored by the Blazers’ Rip City Academy in the Rose Room at the Moda Center in Portland. He was accompanied by Gus Hedberg of Hood River, who is Parkdale Elementary principal. Oscar Erdmann, son of Travis and his wife, Genevieve, grew up playing Hood River HOOPS basketball with his dad as coach.
The coaches were nominated by athletes, and Erdmann joined other coaches from Lane County, Vancouver, Hermiston, Ridgefield, and Woodburn. “Coaches, partners, and Rip City Academy affiliates were on hand to celebrate the work our coaches do each day to ensure youth have a positive early experience playing basketball,” said John Rust, Hood River Community Education director. Erdmann works at Google in The Dalles, and was formerly in sports broadcasting, doing aerial camera engineering for college and professional sports.
Coaching is “easy because it’s kids,” Erdmann said. “My philosophy in coaching is playing sports as a kid can either be the best experience in the world or the worst. You can have those great coaches that you remember forever, which I definitely do — I can remember my fourth-grade baseball coach.
“I’m big on fun and fundamentals. I don’t care abut the score. If the kids care about the score, that’s what I want. It’s for them to buy in. I want them to have fun so they continue, and develop their skills and keep having fun,” he said.
The Rip City Academy Coach of the Year award went to Matt Morrison of Tualatin Hills Parks and Recreation. Blazer broadcaster Lamar Hurd handed Morrison the trophy and thanked all the coaches for their service. Morrison was honored on court at half time by Blazer Coach Terry Stotts and is eligible to become NBA Junior Coach of the Year.
Hurd, who played for Oregon State University from 2002-06 and is a youth coach in Portland, told the coaches, “Growing up, my coach gave so much to me and I’m sure he didn’t think one day I would be following in his footsteps and working with kids in the same way, but if it weren’t for him and they way he gave to me, I wouldn’t be here.
“There are a lot of things you’re doing right now that you might not see the fruits of it right away and maybe some kids who take a little extra work, you gotta dig in a little deeper to work with them, but it’s worth it. If they’re showing passion for the game and you can work with them and guide them in their life, I encourage you to keep working with them.”