After 45 years at Flathead High School, Paul Jorgensen retires as the most decorated cross country coach in Montana history, beloved by generations of runners. With two national coach of the year awards, 25 state coach of the year honors, 24 state team titles, 22 individual state champions, a national No. 1 team, and, in Nelson, a national champ.
While Nelson is one of the bigger names to emerge from Jorgensen’s program, she is but one of hundreds to witness firsthand his unrelenting dedication, which neither darkness nor age nor knee injury could diminish. Jorgensen, 72, might be stepping away from the program that he built into a powerhouse, but it will forever be stamped with his unmistakable imprint.
“I just enjoyed working with the kids,” Jorgensen said in explaining his longevity. “They keep you young.”
The more his teams won, the harder Jorgensen worked, motivated by a desire to build a lasting culture of success. He developed an even-keeled coaching style, based on his personality, through which he reached kids with few words and no shouts. Soft-spoken by nature, he wanted to give his athletes enough skills and motivation to succeed, but he was careful not to push too hard, believing that runners should find their potential on their own, guided by the foundational tools he provided.
Read complete Flathead Beacon article by Myers Reece here.