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Now-retired Walczyk was respected coach, teacher in Madison, DSC
July 18, 2011
These days you won't see Jon Walczyk in a suit and tie much in Boone, Iowa, but you did see the 1963 graduate at General Beadle State (Dakota State) in that suit along with fellow wrestling coach Dr. Neal Hattlestad from 1970 to 1975 and before that at Madison High School after he graduated from General Beadle.
In the fall, he was dressed in sweats when he helped coach football for Al Weisbecker and Dean Koster at Madison High and Dakota State.
He coached with Weisbecker when Weisbecker coached at Madison and then Koster from 1967 to 1969. He rejoined Weisbecker at Dakota State in the fall of 1970 and remained at the Madison college until 1975.
Walczyk was the first wrestling coach at Madison, coaching the Bulldogs for three years. He later hooked up with Hattlestad and coached the Trojans until '75.
Both Madison and General Beadle mat programs were in their families.
"While they were both young programs, they were both competitive," said Walczyk.
At Madison High, Walczyk developed such wrestlers as Rocky Shoenrock into state tournament talent. Hattlestad and Walczyk at General Beadle coached wrestlers like Hall of Famers Bill Larsen and Kent Kersten into tough South Dakota-Iowa conference (SDIC) wrestlers.
"Looking back at it, I always respected him and the way he acted," said Kersten. "He also respected us wrestlers. He was always well-mannered - and dressed well. I realize now that both Coach Hattlestad and Coach Walczyk were really professional and respected by us guys."
In football, Walczyk and Weisbecker are key people in Madison football history. They, along with rest of the Madison coaching staff and the Bulldogs worked for and won the school's only Eastern South Dakota (ESD) conference football title in 1965 when the 'Dogs went 7-2.
"Jon had a strong personality," admitted Weisbecker. "The kids like him really well. He was always willing to learn. He realized that some kids had to work harder to become better athletes, which helped him to become a great coach."
Walczyk also was a committed teacher of foreign languages at both Madison and Dakota State.
He taught both French and Spanish at both places.
In 1975, he carried that dual direction to both teaching and coaching to Boone, Iowa, where he became Boone's head wrestling coach and assistant football coach. He also bolstered the school's foreign language program. He become Boone's head football coach in 1976 and kept that position into '79 when he resigned that position to coach the sport on the junior high level.
In 2000, Walczyk was brought back on board to be the school head football coach again. He stayed in that position until 2003 when he retired from coaching and teaching.
Boone, at the time of Walczyk's retirement in 2003, had six foreign language teachers.
Walczyk has been married to the former Jeanette Jacobsen since 1963. His wife was also an educator in the Madison school system at the time of their marriage.
They have two children. Their daughter Nicole (43 years old) is a full-time homemaker and married to Jim Gelina. They have a daughter Megan (14) and son Christopher (12). Nicole is an Iowa State graduate.
Their son Gregory (42) has been a realtor for the past five years. He is married to the former Darlene Bucholz. They have a daughter Zoe (7) and Jon Henry (4). Gregory is a graduate of the University of Iowa, having attained a master's degree in psychology.
"I liked Madison very much," said Walcyzk. "It was fun coaching and teaching at Madison. Both the high school and college had excellent staffs. Dakota State was very dear to my heart. My wife and I met and formed many friendships while we were there in Madison."
Dan Holsworth, Dakota State University Athletics Assistant
Edited by Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director