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Our Opinion: Jane Peterson milestone highlights a remarkable career

Jane Peterson doesn't remember her first victory as Central Lakes College volleyball coach, but she does remember her first loss as the Raiders' new coach in the fall of 1991.

Jane Peterson doesn’t remember her first victory as Central Lakes College volleyball coach, but she does remember her first loss as the Raiders’ new coach in the fall of 1991.

In that memorable match, CLC won the first two sets and were leading in the third set when Hibbing rallied for a five-set win.

“The opposing coach caught my team after the game and told them how impressed she was with their effort,” Peterson recalled. “I then took my team in the locker room and told them to pay no attention to her comments. We lost a game that we should have won, and don’t be satisfied with almost good enough.”

Peterson’s squad finished with 13-16 record in 1991, but the message to her players would set the tone for years to come. The Raiders would quickly improve - winning the Northern Division in 1995 and finishing second at the national tournament the following year.

In fact, CLC would only have just three losing seasons in the 26 years that Peterson has coached as her volleyball program would be synonymous with winning - claiming three national championships and making 11 national tournament appearances as Peterson became the winningest active coach in NJCAA Division III volleyball.

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On Saturday, Oct. 15, the Raiders defeated Dakota County Technical College in Devils Lake, N.D., for Peterson’s 600th career win - a milestone that no NJCAA Division III volleyball coach has ever attained.

That’s a truly remarkable feat for an equally remarkable person.

Peterson has been state and region coach of the year numerous times and was awarded national coach of the year honors in 2000, 2001, and 2007 after her Raider teams captured national championships.

"I've been doing this a long time and I've been very lucky to have good teams,” said Peterson, who was inducted into the NJCAA Volleyball Coaches Hall of Fame in 2012.

Peterson’s consistent success, which includes finishing in the top two spots of the Northern Division in 14 straight seasons, can also be credited to hard work. Peterson, along with long-time assistant coach Ken Miller, have gone the extra mile to building the program, including hosted summer volleyball camps.

Sometimes coaches enjoy a couple good years as a result of the good fortune of a having a run of talented players. But when the success goes on for many years it's usually not just the players, it's the coach. In this case a truly remarkable one.

The Raiders are winning again this season - compiling an 11-1 division record and a 17-11 overall mark while being ranked seventh.

"People ask me 'How much longer are you going to do this?' I'm only 52, so it might be lot a more (years) but I don't know for sure,” she said. "It's still fun for me to do. I feel grateful that I have a job that I look forward to going to.”

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We congratulate Peterson on her latest milestone. Besides winning on a consistent basis, Peterson has also had a positive impact on the hundreds of athletes she has coached over the years.

While she remains humble about her achievements she deserves a huge amount of credit, not just for her personal accomplishments but for the lives she has touched and changed for the better during her career.

 

Related Topics: VOLLEYBALL
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