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All in the family: Hegerles, volleyball go hand-in-hand

Chris Aarhus / The Sun Volleyball has always been a big part of the Hegerles’ lives. Jon (left) is head coach at the University of Jamestown. Josie (middle) was named West Region player of the year on Saturday. Sara (right) is the head coach of the Blue Jays, who have qualified for the state tournament in consecutive seasons for the first time in school history.

On Sunday night, Jon, Sara and Josie Hegerle — the head coaches of the Jimmies and Blue Jays, and the West Region player of the year, respectively —were on the couch with the two youngest daughters Grace and Edie watching film in preparation for the state tournament.

It’s not all volleyball all the time for this family, but it’s close.

“Just another night at the Hegerle house,” Sara joked. “Well, we’re probably dorks, but it’s always kind of been that way.”

Josie doesn’t remember things any other way.

“I grew up with a ball in my hand,” she said. “I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Volleyball is a big part of our family’s life. It always has been.”

The formula has worked quite nicely, whether the colors are blue and white or orange and black.

Sara has piloted the Blue Jays to consecutive state tournaments for the first time in school history.

Jon has a 119-52 record in five years leading the Jimmies.

Josie, who has amassed 818 assists, 130 kills, 47 blocks and 36 aces this season, has one last weekend playing for her mom, then will head off for college, although that is unlikely to be in Jamestown.

“It’s tough having your mom, or your dad for that matter, as your coach,” Sara said. “You have to try and separate it out to some degree, so there’s a fine line you try to walk.

“That’s not to say we haven’t enjoyed it, because we have. But we’ll enjoy it when it ends, too.”

Having a parent as a coach isn’t a big deal because it’s always been that way, Josie said.

“Maybe it means there’s higher expectations, but I’d want to do well no matter who my coach is,” Josie said. “I guess the difference is when we go home my coach is going to be there.”

There is a balance to strike, and they try to separate it as much as possible.

“There are times where Josie needs a parent and not a coach. She’s a pretty well-adjusted kid, but it doesn’t need to be — and it shouldn’t always be — about volleyball,” Jon said. “You have to be able to keep things in some perspective and we work on doing that.”

Occasionally, that means they agree to disagree in certain situations.

“We talk about things and sometimes they might disagree more with each other than I would with them, but we all want the same thing and that’s what’s best for the team,” Josie said. “We always come to agree on that.”

The Blue Jays take a 32-4 record into the state tournament, but they lost the West Region championship match to Bismarck St. Mary’s in five sets Saturday night. The loss snapped a 24-match winning streak, but a big prize is still up for grabs in Minot. They open against Grand Forks Red River (18-13) Thursday at 2 p.m.

“They have a great opportunity in front of them,” Jon said. “They shouldn’t feel like they have to go there and do anything other than compete as hard as they can. If they do that, I think they’ll be just fine.”

Sun sports editor Dave Selvig can be reached at (701)                   952-8460 or at

Dave Selvig
Selvig has been a sports writer at The Sun since 1999 and sports editor since 2009.
(701) 952-8460