Friday, November 2, 2012

Hall of Fame

Jane Peterson, Central Lakes College head women’s volleyball coach, on Thursday, Nov. 8 will be inducted into the Hall of Fame of the NJCAA Volleyball Coaches Association. She holds the distinction as having coached the most wins among active coaches in the National Junior College Athletic Association. Peterson, who this season surpassed 500 wins, will accept the honor at the national tournament banquet at the Kahler Grand Hotel in Rochester. The Division III championship event is held in Rochester, where three Raider teams coached by Peterson have earned national titles and made nine appearances as the regional champion. Peterson’s volleyball coaching record at CLC is 507-226 through 22 seasons. She reached 500 wins on Oct. 3, a milestone equally as significant as the 2007 award from the American Volleyball Coaches Association: Coach of the Year.

Her resume’ includes all-conference honors in high school and college, along with Most Valuable Player recognition from the East Coast Conference in 1985 to cap a four-year, Division I collegiate career that began with a volleyball scholarship. In 2005 she was inducted in the College of William and Mary Athletic Hall of Fame.

            She has been NJCAA Division III Coach of the Year three times, Conference Coach of the Year four times, and Region Coach of the Year nine times.

            “It all makes me feel old,” said the forward-looking coach who has coached All-Americans 19 times and led six Minnesota College Athletic Conference championship teams. “It seems like those are things that old coaches achieve.

“I am not very good at history, but I remember national championships as big wins and a couple state championships that were big wins, or when we played really good teams and had to work hard against them to win, but I can’t remember my first win.”

            Peterson feels like she is at the peak of her curiosity for her craft. The teaching and learning of skills and strategies, the psychology of sport, the way a brain learns and practices movement, group dynamics and communication skills – all these things are things she is still curious about and anxious to learn and teach more about.

            “I feel strange about going to Rochester without my team this year,” she admitted. “We had such a great season of improvement and for whatever reason didn’t play like we should have (in losing the regional championship match to Northland). The 2012 team had climbed to No. 4 in the national rankings after winning the MCAC Northern Division regular-season title. The team finished with 22 wins, 7 losses.

            Every year she still looks forward to fall and the beginning of a new volleyball season. Every day she still looks forward to going to practice – to try to create a “great” moment for someone.

            Her love for the game began as a high school sophomore in La Jolla, Calif., when athletic competition came naturally to her. By age 12 she had watched enough games to know how to make an unassisted triple play at shortstop in “booby sox softball.”

            The minute she went to her first volleyball practice she knew that she loved this game – this game that has been an integral part of her life since then. She said the game allowed to her feel “great” about herself and others.

That great feeling, that incredible high, is what she continues to strive for – daily. Her first “great” moment was when the coach told her she should call her mom to come pick her up later because she wanted her to stay and practice with the varsity. Her second “great” moment in the game was when she earned the nickname “Dr. Dink” – when as a sophomore she was a little unsure of pounding the ball and instead just “dinked” it everywhere in her first playoff game.

There were many “great” moments since then, but most of her memories of the game are about the relationships that were built with teammates and coaches at La Jolla High and the William and Mary (Williamsburg, Va.) and players she coached at Wayland Academy (Beaver Dam, Wis.), St. Cloud State University, and Central Lakes College.

Memories of all those people center on the fun that was had on and off the court. To this day Peterson loves a good road trip. “Nothing better than a long bus ride and some good laughs,” she said.