Nodaway Valley’s Darrell Burmeister was humbled and appreciative after finding out he had been named a National High School Athletic Coaches Association (NHSACA) finalist for boys cross country on Sunday.
Looking at three consecutive state title banners in the gym, Burmeister couldn’t take much credit for himself.
In fact, he thanked everyone around him who continued to support him and help him grow as a coach over the 39 years he has spent teaching in Greenfield, Bridewater and Fontanelle.
“The communities have been loyal to me and the athletes,” said Burmeister. “It’s been a nice run.”
He wasn’t quick to forget anyone else, either. The award finalist mentioned his assistant coaches that have been beside him, multiple athletic directors that have supported him and, of course, the athletes.
“I’ve had a lot of coaches help me. My assistant coaches, Dave Swanson been with me for over 20 years now. Phyllis Eshelman and Alyse Herr,” said Burmeister. “ I’ve had a lot of different athletic directors support me and help me grow as a coach. It’s been a nice run.
“We’ve had a lot of good athletes that work hard and are dedicated.”
Burmeister has been a recipient of national awards before. The National Athletic Coaches Association named him the 2010 coach of the year in girls cross country. He also received recognition from the National Federation of High School coaches for girls cross country.
But he knows this one carries just as much weight, if not more.
The NHSACA was founded in 1965 and is the oldest national high school coaches association in the United States.
The award names eight finalists each year across the country in their respective sport. Each candidate is graded in a number of categories with the eight finalists being scored one by guidelines and re-scored by the vice presidents of the NHSACA.
Burmeister’s continued success is not lost on many. Even first-year Atheltic Director Michael Dale knew what the nearly 40-year instructor brought to the table.
“I’d say the best thing about Darrell is just the preparation and things that he puts in,” said Dale. “He’s a tireless worker. He’s always looking for ways to improve regardless of what sport he is involved in.”
The coaching veteran didn’t spend too much time talking about the accolade before admitting the Wolverines were thinking about a fourth-straight boys state title run next season, noting he will be ready.
“I’ll be back for four, so we will see what we can do,” Burmeister said. “We got a good nucleus coming back.”
But he couldn’t do that without talking about how much his boys team surprised him this year at the state meet.
The boys cross country team won the Class 1A title with three seniors, a junior, two sophomores and a freshman. Burmeister knew that having a younger team would make it difficult to three-peat.
“We challenged them about halfway through the season. I said, ‘I don’t know if we can do it this year,’” said Burmeister. “I kind of told them what I thought about it and I think they kind of took that as a challenge. To their credit, they really did show up.”
Nodaway Valley’s boys cross country teams have not only won state titles, but done so in record setting fashion.
In 2016, the Wolverines set the record as the lowest scoring team since the state meet went to a four-class format.
Coaching philosophies often aren’t complicated, but Burmeister’s is simple and straight-forward.
“We just don’t think anyone should outwork us.”
And over the last three years, it doesn’t appear anyone has.
“It’s just a testament to all the hard work his kids have put in, and the commitment he’s had to this community over his years,” West said.
Burmeister has also won a state title in girls cross country and basketball while coaching at Nodaway Valley.
“Just thankful to be able to do what I do for a living,”Burmeister said before getting ready to coach his boys basketball team against Mount Ayr.
The coach of the year award will be presented in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on June 27.