Having guided the Erie Red Devils boys basketball team to its second straight state tournament, head coach Nick Pfeifer is this year’s Parsons Sun High School Boys Coach of the Year.

“He definitely has a huge impact on us. He can be an intense coach and he pushes us to do our best,” said Dawson Lehman, one of Pfeifer’s players and the 2020-21 Parsons Sun High School Boys Athlete of the Year. 

“He works hard for us and he always preaches defense. That’s why we’ve had success for two years. We’re always getting up in our opponents’ space. That’s what works for us.” 

Erie went 21-2 this winter, with the only losses coming in the championship of the Lancer Classic and the first round of the state tournament.

The Red Devils went undefeated in Tri-Valley League play to earn the school’s first TVL title.

“We worked hard in practice every single day. Whenever we had those long drags throughout the season, we still had some close games,” Lehman said. “We didn’t have to persevere through a lot of losses. We had a lot of ups, and that kept the momentum going throughout the season.” 

Twelve of Erie’s 21 wins were by double digits while the Red Devils held opponents under 40 points 11 times.

“It was awesome. The two trips to state with first- round exits were rough, but it was still fun. We worked hard throughout the season,” Lehman said. 

Prior to the the back-to-back trips to state, Erie hadn’t earned a bid since the 1990s. Pfeifer’s guidance has turned Erie into a perennial power in the region.

“The lesson I learned form him that you need to always work harder than everybody else. I’m not sure there’s another coach that puts more work into scouting and preparing. I’ll always take that with me,” Lehman said. 

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