Ben Johnson adds former DeLaSalle legend Dave Thorson to Gophers staff

Dave Thorson DeLaSalle head coach gave instructions to his team during Wednesday March 22, 2012 boys AAA semifinal basketball action between DeLaSalle and Grand Rapids at Target Center in Minneapolis, MN.(Photo By Jerry Holt/Star Tribune via Getty Im ((Photo By Jerry Holt/Star Tribune via Getty Images) / Getty Images)

New University of Minnesota men's basketball coach Ben Johnson has hired a pair of assistants to his staff, and one of them is former DeLaSalle legend Dave Thorson.

The Gophers on Friday announced newly selected coach Ben Johnson added Thorson, and Jason Kemp as assistant coaches.

In a tweet, Thorson announced he and his family are excited to return to Minnesota.

Thorson was an assistant coach for Minnesota in the early '90s before spending 23 years as the coach at DeLaSalle High School where he created a basketball powerhouse. At DeLaSalle, he led teams to nine state championships - including six consecutive - and had an overall record of 527-130.

Thorson also coached Johnson at DeLaSalle; they won two state championships together. Thorson has spent the past three seasons as an assistant coach at Colorado State University, under Minnesota native Niko Medved.

Thorson was named the Minnesota Class 3A Coach of the Year two times, and was inducted into the Minnesota Basketball Coaches Association's Hall of Fame in October 2019.

"I am thrilled to add Dave and Jason to our staff," Johnson said in a statement. "These are two exceptional coaches who have strong connections to Minnesota, the Midwest and unique pockets throughout the country. They are outstanding men who care deeply about student-athlete success on and off the court, and they will be tremendous ambassadors for our program, department and University. They believe in our vision – one that is built upon toughness, grit, pride and love of competition – and I look forward to building this program with them."

Kemp comes most recently from spending two seasons as an assistant coach at William & Mary. He has been an assistant coach for 15 years at various universities, including Ohio and Toledo. He began his coaching career at Minnesota State University - Moorhead.

Kemp spent one season at Toledo and helped the Rockets to a school-record 27 wins and a regular-season MAC Championship in 2013-14.

His first Division I coaching stop came at North Dakota State, where he spent eight seasons, including the final six as an assistant coach. After getting his start at MSU-Moorhead in 2004-05, Kemp moved to Fargo and was a graduate manager in 2005-06 and 2006-07 for the Bison.