The voice of a community was humbly silenced earlier this week.
That’s when Roger Twigg was inducted into the Minnesota High School Cross Country Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame. Right before that award he was named the Class 1A state coach of the year.
In a phone interview Friday, Twigg said while his name is on the plaque a whole community of athletes, parents and assistant coaches were inducted with him.
“It’s truly humbling,” said Twigg. “My high school track coach is in the hall of fame. You see the list of people that you’re going in with and it truly is humbling. I really don’t have the words to describe it. You never start coaching thinking that’s going to happen or that’s what you’re there for. You think back to a lot of different teams and they’re all special. I really accepted that honor on their behalf. They’re the reason. All the kids that ran for us and everybody that helped. I didn’t do this. They did.”
The list of athletes who learned, trained and competed for Twigg covers 39 years in cross country and 28 years in track and field.
During Twigg’s tenure, C-I advanced nine girls cross country teams, three boys teams and 44 individuals to the state tournament. One of those individuals was his son Cley Twigg, who was in attendance for the ceremony.
“It was a lot of fun to see him get it,” said Cley. “It was a great honor for him, obviously, and so cool to see him finally receive that award. He is deserving. The few years that I have coached, I learned a lot from him. He is so deserving and it was fun for me to be there.”
Another of Twigg’s former athletes, Andy Forbort, who now coaches at St. Francis was also in attendance. But the number of athletes Twigg has influenced is too numerous to count said another former Ranger coach, who is also in the hall of fame.
“He was already in the spot before I became the athletic director, but he was a very dedicated person,” said former C-I head football coach John Davies. “Cross country was his game, but he also helped the football program when he first got to Crosby, if I remember correctly. I think he started the program.
“He’s got quite a legacy and he deserves the hall of fame recognition. He coached some great athletes, who became great athletes because of his coaching.”
Twigg’s accomplishments are many. He was selected as a section cross country coach of the year in four different sections (5, 6, 7 and 8) and was the Class 1A State Coach of the Year in 2004, close to about the time he first retired from coaching. Yet, Twigg never left the sport. It just kept calling him back.
“Erica Perpich is just doing a super job and she is one of the reasons we got coach of the year,” said Twigg. “I didn’t get that award. We did. She’s doing a wonderful job. We talked about my future at the end of last fall. I will be back this year and then next year I’m going to reduce my role and then that will be it. That will be a nice time to finally go.”
If and when Twigg’s retirement actually happens, the C-I running community will lose it’s father figure.
“This truly is just the best sport to coach because you get the most contact you can have with the kids,” said Twigg. “The support I got from my wife, my oldest son Mace was a manager and Cley ran for me. It was family and all the personal connections that you make and the journey we all went on together, those are the things that run through my mind. It’s not about awards and honors, just the journey. We were one big family and I think everybody has felt that way about this.”