By Matt Hendrickson

No, I’m not going anywhere… unless you know something I don’t!

One of the things I’ve learned in my nearly 10-years in radio is that I have a lot of friends who are coaches. I know, being a sports director I’m not supposed to be friends with coaches or even LIKE them. But when you spend a third of your evenings every year at a football field, basketball court, track, volleyball court, tennis court, baseball diamond… etc., you can’t help but become friends with a few coaches. Call it an occupational hazard.

Which is why last night was a bit bittersweet for me as a radio announcer. I had to say goodbye to a coaching duo in Madison that I consider friends: Mat and Wendy Nelson. After several years of teaching and coaching the young people in the Madison School District, Mat and Wendy are pulling up stakes and heading to Minnesota, where Mat will become a high school principal.

I remember when Mat took over the girls’ basketball team from Chris Shaffer. He was a young guy, in fact he was still a player for Tim Schuring at DSU when I started at KJAM. But we built up a rapport quickly and while we didn’t always hang around we found some things in common, especially in our love/anguish over the Twins and Vikings.

When Wendy became the head volleyball coach a year later, we also built up a rapport. She liked to joke that she had the girls for the first few months of the year, then she handed them off to Mat for the winter. Both Mat and Wendy had fairly successful careers as coaches as their players continued to show improvement throughout the seasons.

But even more important than their successes on the court was their successes in the classroom. Wendy was (and still is) a very respected third-grade teacher, while Mat has won several accolades in the classroom as a science teacher. With their skill in the classroom, and their abilities in the coaching ranks, Mat and Wendy are leaving some very large shoes for others to fill.

So Mat, Wendy, I just want to wish you the best of luck in your new ventures. And thank you for all your work for Madison High School… but most importantly, thank you for your friendship.