Year Inducted 2007
John grew up on a farm in Western Minnesota and learned to ski on wooden skis. He and friends would ski from farm to farm. They would take inner tubes and use them to strap the skis around their feet and behind their ankle. John went to New London High School located on the shores of Norway Lake. John graduated from St. Cloud where he earned both his undergraduate and Master's Degrees. He taught biology for 39 years, starting at Jordan for 6 years and then at Roseville Area High School for 33 years. He retired from teaching in 1999. John was a head baseball coach for 30 years and also coached JV Basketball, Junior High Football, and 9th grade Volleyball. Although John has been retired from teaching since 1999, he has continued to be the head Nordic Ski Coach at Roseville Area High School.
John coaches because he loves Nordic Skiing and he loves to teach. John has a wonderful personality for working with student skiers, and he puts in countless dedicated hours. He treats every skier equally; spending time with everyone, and showing concern for the development of each member of the team. Each season Roseville has 60-90 skiers participating, with a grand total of over 1400 skiers. John creates an atmosphere that makes skiing fun. As Roseville' s only head Nordic Ski coach for the past 26 years, John's knowledge and expertise has led the team to 18 section championships, 154 All Conference skiers, and 65 All-State skiers. Yearly, Roseville is ranked or places very high in the State Meet. Roseville Girls were State Champions in 1995 and 2000.
In addition to being Roseville's head Nordic Ski Coach, John has helped organize and run the Holiday Relays for many years. He has arranged back up sites at Trollhaugen for meets which would have otherwise been cancelled due to lack of snow. This has literally saved the sport in the years of snow droughts. John has been an active member in the Coaches Association as it has grown over the years. John was selected Minnesota Coach of the year twice.
John has skied in 24 Birkies, 4 Korties, 25 Mora Vasaloppets, and many other ski events. John and his wife Eleanor live in White Bear. Their son, Alan, also lives in White Bear. Their son, Paul, and his wife, Paula and children, David, Aaron, and John Paul live in California. John Strand is an excellent grandfather whose eyes light up when talking about his grandchildren. He visits them as often as he can.
John Strand is retiring from coaching this year, 2007. Because of his love for the sport of Nordic skiing, his love for teaching, his dedication, and his kind heart and generosity to everyone he meets, John is an outstanding candidate for the Nordic Ski Hall of Fame.
Submitted by Fred Kueffer