Prep football: Jorgensen leading Carbon again, this time as coach
Price • Jan Jorgensen always wanted to be a teaching coach.
He just didn’t think it would happen this quickly.
But the former BYU football star found himself in a portable classroom at Carbon High, his alma mater, this past Monday. It was the day before the first day of school. There were no desks, though a stack of geography books waited to be distributed.
Posters from a Rocky movie, mixed martial arts, Vince Lombardi and basketball decorated the wall as Jorgensen worked with his assistant football coaches moments before practice to prepare for the Dinos first game.
The new coach seemed intense. He spent the day in meetings, preparing to be a teacher. Now, as he prepped for his first game as head coach, he seemed to have a million things on his mind.
About Jan Jorgensen
» Lettered in football, basketball, baseball and wrestling at Carbon.
» Was part of the last Carbon football team to post a winning record — the 2000 team that went 10-3 and lost in the state quarters.
» Played defensive end for BYU and graduated in 2009 with a degree in teaching.
» Hired as Dinos coach in 2014 and brought back two former head coaches — Jeff Jorgensen (his dad) and Troy Moynier to be assistants.
"It’s kind of crazy," admitted Jorgensen, who participated in mixed martial arts fighting and dabbled in sports talk radio after graduating in 2009 from BYU, where he was a stellar defensive end. "It’s kind of one of those moments where you wonder, ‘How did I get there?’ Everything changed so fast. I got my degree in teaching. I always wanted to coach and eventually become a teaching coach. It just happened pretty fast."
Carbon isn’t the easiest place for a football coach to start. Except for 2000, when the team went 10-3 and lost in the state quarterfinals — Jorgensen was a sophomore on that squad — the Dinos have struggled. They were 0-10 last year and finished with only 23 players suited up for the last game.
Longtime radio broadcaster Frank Ori, who broadcasts the games on KWSA FM, recently did some research and discovered that Carbon has averaged just 2.5 wins a season since 1970. He said Carbon has gone through seven or eight head coaches since 2003.
Jorgensen knows this.
"We have got to find a way to win," he said moments before practice. "That’s a hard thing, because winning is something they haven’t done a whole lot of lately. People don’t understand, but it’s definitely a learned skill. You have to learn how to win. It takes a lot of people buying in, but people don’t want to buy in unless you actually do it."
At first impression, Carbon athletes are buying in. About 70 of them jammed into the team’s tiny locker room on the edge of one of Utah’s most scenic football fields. They hardly moved as Jorgensen gave them their marching orders for the day.
Coincidentally, or perhaps not, the team practiced on the baseball field. Maybe that was intentional. Baseball is one of the few sports where Carbon has experienced success. The Helper American Legion baseball team recently completed its second straight state championship season.
"This has been a baseball area for a long time," said Jorgensen, who lettered in basketball, baseball and wrestling in addition to football when he played at Carbon 11 years ago. "I would like it to be both. Small towns understand and know what it takes to be successful in all sports."
Jorgensen is going to get some help from a familiar face on the Carbon campus. His father Jeff, who was the head Dinos coach for 10 years and assisted for many other years, retired from teaching but agreed to return to help his son coach the offensive line and cornerbacks.
Jeff said he couldn’t tell his son no.
"When he asked if the grumpy old offensive line coach would come back out of retirement, I asked him who he was talking about," joked the elder Jorgensen.