Orr keeping busy in BloomingtonTom Orr has a lot on his plate these days. The 1996 Jamestown High School graduate recently added the title of author to an already impressive resume that included: head coach of Indiana University’s club hockey team and adjunct professor at IU’s School of Public Health.
By: David Selvig, The Jamestown Sun
Tom Orr has a lot on his plate these days.
The 1996 Jamestown High School graduate recently added the title of author to an already impressive resume that included: head coach of Indiana University’s club hockey team and adjunct professor at IU’s School of Public Health.
Juggling those duties, while trying to complete his PhD at the school, has made life very interesting for he, his wife Matty and their three young children, ranging in age from six to one.
Still, they recently had time to come back home and enjoy the Stutsman County Fair.
“It’s always fun to get back to Jamestown,” said Orr, 31. “I usually have a month or two in the summer where it’s not quite so busy. We try to get in some leisure activities and get some balance and normalcy back into our lives.”
It wasn’t all play, however. With Indiana transitioning from a club team in the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) to a varsity, non-scholarship hockey program, he’s always on the lookout for talent.
“There’s only a handful of top-tier programs, but there are so many good players,” he said. “We’re trying to open up a lot of recruiting avenues to come to IU and get a four-year degree from a great university.”
Orr would know, he’s been in Bloomington, Ind., since graduating from UND in 2001. He played hockey at IU before becoming an assistant under former head coach Al Karlander, a veteran of three seasons in the NHL, including as a teammate of the legendary Gordie Howe with the Detroit Red Wings. Orr was named head coach in 2008 and has undertaken a fundraising effort to build a hockey arena at the basketball-crazed school, which is no small feat.
“I like to joke that it’s like trying to sell basketball in Canada,” he said.
Orr says the school’s new athletic director Fred Glass has been supportive as has basketball coach Tom Crean, himself a hockey fan. He’s trying to install the things he learned at UND, where he unsuccessfully tried out for the Sioux, but went on to play intramural hockey.
“We’re trying to take the principles that have made the Fighting Sioux so successful and apply them at this program as best we can,” Orr said.
Orr’s lifelong experience in hockey also played a big part in his recently released book, co-written with Lynn Jamieson, called Sport and Violence: A Critical Examination of Sport. The book dives into the violence in sports.
The book hits on many of the stories in recent years that have made headlines, the Michael Vick case for instance. But also includes personal stories and experiences from Orr and his wife, Matty.
“We definitely have things in there we have experienced personally. Things that happened in Jamestown and other stories I think people would find interesting,” said Orr, who working on his doctorate in sports management and the public health area.
Despite the sizeable workload, he and his wife plan to co-coach his son Lyndon’s mite hockey team this year.
“Hockey’s taken me to a lot of places and given me a lot of great life experiences,” he said. “My wife loves the sport, I’m sure our kids will be involved.
“Our love for the game and our foundation in hockey was formed in North Dakota and its fun to bring that (to Indiana) and show everybody what we learned and try and pass our knowledge along.”
Sun sports writer Dave Selvig can be reached at (701) 952-8460 or by e-mail at email@example.com