Coach Rob Johansen has just finished his third year coaching the 8U Dallas Center-Grimes girl’s softball team, and his team won the Altoona Classic tournament this year.
He began coaching the first two years in the recreational league and upgraded in the third year to a tournament league.
Johansen grew up in Audubon. He attended the University of Nebraska, Omaha where he earned his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. He earned his master’s degree at Iowa State University in public administration. He has been with the Urbandale Police Department for 20 years.
“Dallas Center-Grimes had organized a softball association that supports both the recreational leagues and the tournament leagues, with girls of all grades,” Johansen says. “They are all volunteers and are very supportive of all the teams.”
When Johansen’s daughter, Aubrey, wanted to play softball, Johansen decided to become involved with her team and began coaching. As time went on, they needed someone to coach a tournament team.
“I applied to the association board and was accepted, and I love it,” he says. “The tournament league is more competitive. I’ve learned as much from those girls as they have learned from me.”
Johansen has had two assistant coaches, Lance Burke and Paul Uhl. They will stay with the U8 team when Johansen moves to the next age level.
“One of the greatest things about volunteering with a team like this is the people that you meet,” Johansen says. “The parents all become close as we get to know each other. We spend a lot of time together and they are a great group of friends.”
Johansen has gained the respect of the parents of the girls he has coached. This is evident in some of the comments that they shared with him near the end of the season.
“Rob is more than a coach to these girls. He is teaching them how to respect others, responsibility for their actions and the rewards of being a team,” says Carrie Reiling. “He has, and continues, to teach these girls that hard work and practice pay off in wins but also that winning is not the most important thing in the world. Life lessons are learned from people like Rob, and our young girls will look back and be grateful for his efforts and time he has given each of them.”
“The fact that every single girl on our team just tried out again for next year’s team shows how much of a positive impact he has had on the girls,” says Alisha Mulder.
“Rob is the perfect mixture of ‘pressure and patience,’ ” says Abby Anderson.