Rugby’s Bill Jansen named National Coach of the Year for girls’ track & field

Local Sports

Being a coach, you’ll more than likely find you have more than one hat you have to wear. But it’s more than just about the next play or the next meet.

The Rugby girls track and field coach has had his head in the game for nearly four decades. And now, all of the hard work has earned him a new title: national coach of the year

“Such a humbling experience. Such a great experience and we have a lot of great coaches in North Dakota that I think we don’t realize it because we kind of take it for granted,” said Scott Grochow, Rugby athletic director.

Grochow is talking about Coach Bill Jansen being named national coach of the year for girls’ track and field.

Coach Jansen is heading into his 37th season of coaching and 29th as head coach of the Rugby girls track and field team.

After arriving in 1998, he says it took a decade to win a state title.

And while some may have thrown in the towel, he didn’t give up.

“It was kind of my destiny to coach because I had seen such a good coach over the years and my dad had plenty of success over the years and I saw the passion. I kind of felt like that’s where I needed to be or what I should be doing,” Jansen said.

Jansen says this is the third time he’s been nominated for national coach of the year.

He says the committee looks at many things like the number of state titles, wins and losses and the service to the organization.

“I think I have; my record is 3,400-something, you know, wins and 1,000-some losses,” Jansen said.

Coach Jansen was nominated alongside coaches from around the country.

“Throughout the week, you visit with these coaches that are in your category and you see all the stuff they’ve done: the state titles and the kids that have gone to big league schools and you think, ‘Oh my god. I’m from Rugby, ND. There’s no way I can win an award like this,” Jansen said.

“That’s when you start thinking about, you’ve got people from Connecticut, Florida and all over and it’s kind of like, ‘We do, do some things right!'” Grochow said.

But this isn’t the first time Rugby has been recognized nationally.

Grochow earned the title in 2014 as the boys’ track and field coach.

“To have two of us is kind of just…amazing,” Grochow said.

“Coach Grochow, has been an awesome partner in coaching. I mean, this wouldn’t have happened without him. I can tell you that right now. All of our assistants have been awesome. Our kids respond to them. The kids that we have that come out, we always have numbers. They come out and they work and all of that has been just great. our community has supported us over the years just so well that I couldn’t ask for more,” Jansen said.

“I can’t think of another guy I’d rather be coaching with, to be honest with you,” Grochow added.

Coach Jansen shares what his reaction was when they announced his name.

“Surprised and then happy! And then I thought about my dad,” Jansen said.

His dad, William J. Jansen received the same award in 1979.

Sadly, he passed away in 2003 from leukemia.

“I think he would think it’s really cool, you know? I so wish he was here. I know he’s watching and I know he’s seen our success and I know he’s proud that I have achieved something he did. Now, it wasn’t really a goal but I thought it would be neat! Jansen said.

Coach Jansen retired from teaching last year..but says he plans to continue coaching for as long as he can.

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