BIGFORK — As track and field season is under way, a living legend, Susan Loeffler from Bigfork High School, was just selected for induction into the National High School Athletic Coaches Association hall of fame.
"That probably was the most humbling thing to know, that I was their choice to represent Montana," said a grateful Loeffler.
After being a part of the first year of high school girls track in Montana as a Havre Blue Pony sophomore in 1968, Loeffer’s national hall of fame induction now provides a full circle moment. However, she isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.
"Mrs. Loeffler goes hard if she’s doing it. It’s like track right now in her 49th year, going on 50, I mean it’s unbelievable," said Bigfork athletic director Matt Porrovecchio. "She runs her program as hard as when she first started it, she’s constantly learning, constantly wanting to be the best and super competitive. She wants to win with the kids, I mean she’s awesome."
And as she enters her 49th year as a track and field coach at Bigfork, Loeffler cites the kids as the main factor that keeps bringing her back.
"That’s why I coach. Because I love the relationships that I get to form with them," said Loeffler with a smile. "And that’s probably the big reason why I coach, because then they come back and text me or say hi. Like when I got my award they came back and texted me, and that’s important to me more than anything else."
Outside of the seven state championships Loeffler has brought to the school over the years, it’s the impact she has had on the community that Porrovecchio knows makes her the irreplaceable perfect package of a coach.
"Yes she’s got the years of experience, but if you’re not a quality human being and care, kids see right through that and so she’s got both," said Porrovecchio. "She’s got 40 plus years of experience, and the passion, and the drive. That’s just beyond anything you could ask for in a coach, I mean she’s a blessing."
While Loeffler recently retired from teaching she has no set time on when she may finally call it a career for coaching.
"I don’t know, I still love it, and I think as long as you love doing something and you’re able to do it, then you need to keep doing it," said Loeffler.
Loeffler will have her hall of fame induction ceremony on July 25 in Lincoln, Nebraska, and only time will tell how much longer she’ll be coaching and cheering on students on the Bigfork track.