It was 25 years ago when Minot High School assistant boys basketball coach Bill Uscensky opted for a larger setting.
Uscensky had just led Edinburg High School to its lone Class B boys title.
"I was looking to move on to a larger school system for better opportunities for me and my family," Uscensky said. "I had two young daughters and we wanted more opportunities for extracurricular activities and more classes.
"(Edinburg) was a wonderful little town, but it was a little town and there weren't as many opportunities for advancement."
Uscensky, 53, was honored this week as the 2012-2013 winter season recipient of the North Dakota High School Coaches Association's Assistant Coach of the Year award.
"A lot of times, assistant coaches don't get nearly enough credit for the work they do," said MHS boys head coach Dean Winczewski, who nominated Uscensky. "Just in my five years here, he's been invaluable for giving a different perspective on pre-game planning, practice planning and in-game adjustments."
Uscensky led the MHS junior varsity team to a 16-3 record this year. His squad was the only team to beat Bismarck High's JV. He quickly realized he was content in a support role when he moved to Minot and served for 19 seasons under Gene Manson before Winczewski took over in 2008. Uscensky was a member of the coaching staff for three Class A state titles ('90, '95, '99).
"It's nice to be recognized by the North Dakota High School Coaches Association for Assistant Coach of the Year because I've been coaching for 31 years and over 600 basketball games," Uscensky said. "It's nice when someone else recognizes that you've done a good job."
Said Winczewski: "Because of his experience, he's seen just about everything in basketball, so he is a such a great resource."
Uscensky graduated from Lancaster (Minn.) High School in 1977 and played junior college football and baseball at Minnesota, Crookston. He graduated from the University of North Dakota in 1982 and has coached football, basketball and track. He teaches technology education at Ramstad Middle School, where he serves as athletic director and boys track coach.
Uscensky is married to Marla Rae and the couple has two daughters, Alison and Kaley.