Belle Plaine’s head cross country coach Steve Schroeder was unanimously selected as the Minnesota River Conference Coach of Year.
Schroeder is entering his 22nd season as a coach for the Belle Plaine High School Cross Country Team. Before that, he coached in North Dakota for six years, Western Minnesota for five years, and the Twin Cities for several years. In addition to coaching, he currently teaches science in the Belle Plaine School District.
“Steve has been a phenomenal coach, mentor, and educator during his time in Belle Plaine,” said Activities Director John Bergs.
The girls cross country team has competed at the state championship for the last five seasons. They have finished as the section runner-ups in 2016 and 2017 and were section champions from 2018 through 2020.
The girls were also crowned Minnesota River Conference Champions eight times over the last decade.
For the past four years, at least one boy has competed at the state meet, with two boys going to state for three out of four of those years. The boys team was named Minnesota River Conference Champions in 2015 and 2020.
“I’ve had the privilege of coaching some awesome athletes and being surrounded by some very passionate and knowledgeable coaches,” said Coach Schroeder.
Schroeder will be recognized at the MRC Coaches Social on Wednesday, Sept. 22. The school district also plans to honor him at an event this fall.
Schroeder said he knew he wanted to be a coach since he was a student athlete in high school.
"I had such fabulous coaches. They were just so much fun that I thought, 'Boy, I’d really like to do that,'" he said.
He describes himself as the “nice coach” and said he enjoys putting in the time necessary to watch his students develop new skills as athletes and people.
“The accountability to themselves and to each other is what makes a great team, and that’s what we strive for every year,” he said.
He said cross country is a unique sport that teaches students to always try their best, even when their efforts are not always recognized.
"You’re going to run up against road blocks, you’re going to suffer, it’s going to be hard, but by practicing that ahead of time, we all know you can come out the other end in a better spot," Schroeder concluded.
Schroeder thanked his assistant coaches - Brad Pederson, Lisa Jamison, and Amy Fahey - for all of their hard work and dedication to the team.
“I’ve been fortunate to be surrounded by incredible athletes and incredible assistant coaches,” he said.