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Falcons AD Novak takes in all the change going on in Brown Deer

League title, improvements, enrollment all under watch

Feb. 1, 2013

Just so everyone knows, Brown Deer Athletic Director Mike Novak's mom is still an ardent Falcons basketball fan.

It's been about five years since her son, in his last year of coaching the Falcons boys, famously made everyone in the media wait after his team beat New Berlin West in the regular season closer, a win that clinched a share of a four-way tie for the title in a season that is by consensus considered to be the Woodland Conference's best ever.

He made them wait because he had wanted to take a congratulatory call from his mom, who had watched the game on cable back at home in Green Bay.

Fast-forward five years, and Mike Novak is again celebrating a conference boys basketball title (see separate story), this time he's just a step or so removed from the action and the crown was won by a different coach and a different set of players in not quite as dramatic a fashion as Novak's charges did back in 2008.

"Kelly (Appleby) is doing such a good job," Novak said of his second-year coach. "It's a team with a little bit of everything. They've got quick guards who can handle the ball and dish well and they got the long guys who are good around the basket on both ends of the floor."

"The really nice thing about it all, is that these are good kids, enjoyable as people. When you have good kids who are talented it makes for a peaceful season for the AD (laughs)."

Novak's got other things on his mind, too, as change is in the air everywhere around the district. Brown Deer is declining in enrollment (its 590 or so students make it the smallest school in the Woodland) and as a result, the Falcons will slip down into Division 3 in WIAA tournament play after years of playing in D2.

That change will make getting to state or even a sectional final that much more challenging, as the Falcons are placed in a sectional half-bracket with such roaring divisional titans as Racine St. Catherine's and East Troy.

But as senior forward and one of the team's several leaders Trayvon Palmer asserts, this team hasn't reached its potential yet. Indeed, the 2008 squad kept rising and rising late in the season and saw its door barred to the state tournament only by a miraculous last-second shot from a New Berlin Eisenhower player.

Who knows, maybe these 2013 Falcons will find a miracle of their own, too? The district certainly has, as recently financial measures were passed and various substantial improvements were approved for the district's various buildings. It'll make for a better educational environment overall and a more sprightly athletic complex.

It includes updating the high school in a great way including adding a field house, a feature many classes beyond the current 10-man senior group will get to enjoy and utilize fully.

"It's really been a blessing," Novak said. "I didn't think it would take that long because our gym was always so small in comparison to others in the area. It just didn't keep up. It's been a longtime coming. We all know that economic situations slowed us up, but now it's here.

"Anytime is a good time for it to come, but this is coming at a particularly good time. It really shows that Brown Deer is a community that cares."

The field house is scheduled to open at the end of March. Novak said contractors are putting on striping and other detail work on the floor this week so everyone (especially basketball players) are being kept off it until everything can cure.

All the improvements, both in the physical plant and on the basketball court, are welcome signs to the veteran educator.

"It's really a beautiful thing," Novak said. "Just great to see. We've been pleased with everything so far."

And just think, his mom will probably enjoy seeing the new digs when she tunes into the games next season.

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