OSAKIS, Minn. — Humble. Giving. Selfless.
Those are the words Osakis boys basketball coach Matt Hoelscher used Monday morning, May 10, to describe his friend, assistant coach and co-worker Kyle Imdieke.
Hoelscher and many more in the Osakis community are working through the grieving process and shock by Imdieke's unexpected death at his home May 6, at the age of 45. His cause of death has not been released.
Visitation will be 4-8 p.m. Wednesday, May 12, at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Osakis. A memorial service will be 11 a.m. Thursday, May 13, on the Silverstreaks’ football field at the LeRoy Mackove Athletic Complex.
“He’s one of the most genuine individuals I ever met,” Hoelscher said. “(Sunday) night, I was going through my text log that I’ve had with him for the last three-and-a-half, four years. He was always asking me about my family. His classroom was right across from mine, so when he knew we had an AAU Tournament, he always wanted to know how it went; how did my daughter do?”
Imdieke graduated from Osakis High School in 1993 and completed a teaching degree through Bemidji State University.
He worked as a special education teacher at Osakis Public Schools and as an assistant coach in boys basketball, along with being the football team’s assistant head coach and offensive coordinator. That’s in addition to helping coach sports down into the elementary levels too.
His songs Logan Wolf and Luke Imdieke are recent graduates from Osakis; a third son, Drew Imdieke, is a freshman in high school.
“He was a great dad. He was so passionate about their upbringing and their life,” Osakis varsity football coach Bill Infanger said.
Imdieke, his children and their friends and family endured the heartbreak of losing his wife, Dayni, in 2016. Dayni died at the age of 42 after a five-year battle with a rare form of pancreatic cancer.
It was during Dayni’s sickness that Hoelscher really got to know Imdieke well.
“When his wife passed away, I was completely amazed at the role he took on,” Hoelscher said. “It was all about his kids and making sure they were able to experience the stuff that they needed to experience ... I know how important my wife is to our family and all she does. I couldn’t imagine what I would do without her around. To have Kyle do that, I was just truly impressed and had a lot of respect for what he did for his kids after his wife passed away.”
Having Imdieke on a coaching staff was like having a second head coach, Hoelscher and Infanger said.
Both spent countless hours over the years texting and talking about game plans with Imdieke knowing they could trust his input.
“He brought a very calm demeanor to the group,” Hoelscher said. “We had instances where if I got upset, Kyle was the one to come in and pick up the pieces with these kids.”
Osakis’ Lee VanNyhuis saw Imdieke's selflessness firsthand as they worked together in recent years with the junior varsity athletes in the boys basketball program.
Imdieke took on added duties to free VanNyhuis to have time to watch his daughter, Mara, play for the Osakis girls basketball team this winter. And Imdieke was there again when VanNyhuis' father died in February.
"(O)ne day after school, (Kyle) came in and spent a lot of time talking with me about what it was like for him and his wife going through that process," VanNyhuis said. "I asked him for advice on that. He was really supportive of me then. When my dad passed away, he was there for me for that part, too. He was willing to listen and gave really good advice as far as dealing with grief.”
Now the Osakis community will try to offer that same support for those closest to Imdieke as they meet to remember him back on the Osakis football field Thursday.
“So much of his blood, sweat and tears were put into that football field with his boys going through the program,” Infanger said. “Even his dreams for the future. I just know from being his friend and coaching with him how much he was looking forward to coaching Drew and Drew’s classmates and the teams we have coming up. To have (the memorial service at the football field), it seems really fitting to me.”