No. 10 Sports Story of Year: Gordon steps down after tremendous careerThe past 26 years, the Dickinson Trinity football team had three state titles, 201 wins and one head coach.
By: Royal McGregor, The Dickinson Press
Editor’s Note: The Dickinson Press’ Top 10 sports stories of 2012 countdown begins today and continues through Sunday, Dec. 30.
The past 26 years, the Dickinson Trinity football team had three state titles, 201 wins and one head coach.
Randy Gordon, the head football coach at Trinity and Killdeer for 36 years, stepped down as Trinity’s football coach in November.
His retirement from coaching football is The Dickinson Press’ No. 10 sports story of the year.
“It’s been crossing my mind simply because of my son (Ben) being a senior,” Gordon said in a Press article on Nov. 29. “That’s what probably started it. It really doesn’t have anything to do with anybody or anything. I think it’s just time. It was a good time to leave because the program is solid. It’s got some good shape with players, numbers and coaching staff.”
Gordon compiled a 241-102 career record and led the Titans to three Class 2A state championships, including back-to-back titles in 2000 and 2001. Kyle Steffes, a 2002 Trinity graduate who ranks second on the North Dakota State football all-time rushing list with 3,952 yards and 43 touchdowns, said the team couldn’t have won state titles without a strong head coach.
“After one state championship, I think it takes a lot for a team and a coach to come back next year and do it again,” Steffes said in a Press article on Nov. 29. “That’s just a testament to him. It’s one thing to have good players and good athletes, but it takes a good coach to bring everybody together. That’s what he did.”
Steffes isn’t the player who spoke highly of Gordon. Travis Olson, who played under Gordon at his first head coaching job at Killdeer, is now the head football coach at Richardton-Taylor.
“I graduated in 1981 and still remember some of the things coach Gordon said to me when I was playing,” Olson said in a Press article on Nov. 29. “I still use them today. He’s been a very important person in my life, because of football.”
Gordon’s last two years at Trinity didn’t result in a trip to the playoffs, but Gordon was able to finish out his career coaching his youngest child, Ben, who was named an all-state quarterback after the season. The Trinity senior said it has been amazing sharing memories on the football field with his father.
“Growing up, I was always around the team,” Ben said. “It was always my dream to be a varsity player. It was a little more special that I got to go through the ups and downs with my dad. It’s something that I wouldn’t trade the world for.”
Through the ups and downs, Gordon’s had fun. When the coaching days are over, he’s still going to treat every day like he was still standing on the sidelines and that’s why Randy Gordon opens The Dickinson Press’ Top 10 stories of the year.
“There’s never one day that is the same,” Gordon said. “It’s going to be different every day and that’s exciting.”
McGregor is a sports reporter for The Dickinson Press. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at SirRoyal.
There were some great stories that didn’t crack our Top 10 this year.
Hazen’s playoff run
Hazen’s road to the Class 1A state football championship wasn’t an easy one.
After defeating Region 4 rival Heart River on a snow-covered field in the state quarterfinals, the Bison had to go through defending state champions Stanley-Powers Lake. The Blue Jays were ranked at the top of the Class 1A media polls throughout the regular season.
The Bison had been the last team to defeat SPL during the 2010 playoffs. The Blue Jays from there went on a win streak resulting in 22 straight wins.
After the win against SPL in the state semifinals, the Bison dominated the Class 1A championship game at the Alerus Center with a 55-28 win against Westhope-Newburg-Glenburn.
Fossum repeats in all-around
As a seventh-grader, Dickinson’s Acacia Fossum won the Class A state gymnastics all-around title.
She was posed to repeat as an eighth-grader. However, she found herself in a head-to-head battle with Bismarck High’s Mackenzie Keidel on the Midgets’ home court at the state meet.
Fossum nailed a 9.867 on her floor exercise to defeat the Bismarck High senior by less than seven hundredths of a point. Fossum finished with an all-around score of 38.283, while Keidel had a 38.217 and she walked away with her second state title in as many years.
The previous day, the Midgets didn’t achieve their goal of a state team title. Dickinson finished runner-up to Minot for the fourth year in a row.
Trinity makes state appearance
After a momentous win over Beulah in the Region 7 title game, the Titans were off to the Class A state volleyball tournament.
Trinity didn’t have the best of luck against Beulah. The Miners had won all previous meetings in the regular and postseason.
But, the Titans defeated the Miners 25-20, 16-25, 20-25, 25-12, 15-13 in a classic match capped by Alyson Schieno’s final kill. The senior outside hitter finished with 25 kills and 32 digs.
The win also marked former Dickinson State volleyball player and second-year head coach Rayma Braaten’s first trip to the state tournament.
Despite having some issues regarding a plane ticket for a scheduled vacation back to her native Puerto Rico, Braaten was able to join her team in Minot. The Titans, however, didn’t have the same offensive firepower they did in regionals, finishing in eighth place at the state tournament.