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Tuesday, April 13, 2004
Janzen named FPU Athletics director

Fresno - Dennis Janzen is the new athletics director at Fresno Pacific University. The announcement was made today by FPU president D. Merrill Ewert.

"I am absolutely delighted that Dennis has accepted our invitation to lead Fresno Pacific's athletic program," said Ewert. "He brings a vision for athletics, a passion for excellence, and a deep commitment to this university. His skills match our needs."

mug dennis janzen

Janzen joined Fresno Pacific in 1983 as a physical education faculty member and coach of both the women's volleyball and basketball teams. He is FPU's most successful coach. Janzen guided the Sunbirds basketball team to a four-year 77-34 record, including a 28-3 campaign in 1987 that concluded with a Golden State Athletic Conference championship and first-ever trip to the NAIA national championship tournament.

Following the 1987 season Janzen focused his coaching energy solely on the FPU volleyball team. In 19 seasons he has guided the Sunbirds to a 582-157 record, 10 GSAC, eight Region and two NAIA national championships (1989 and 2003). His teams have earned a 60-18 record in 13 trips to the NAIA national championship tournament with eight Final Four appearances. He has twice been named the NAIA national coach of the year (1989, 1994) and this past December was inducted into the NAIA hall of fame.

"Dennis' roots run deep in this community," continued Ewert. "He grew up in Reedley and spent most of his professional life here in Fresno. He understands the role of athletics in higher education. Not only do his teams win on the court, his players excel in the classroom and succeed in life. Grounded in a deep and abiding faith, Dennis brings high expectations, a solid background of experience in athletics, and great personal integrity to this position. I look forward to his leadership."

Janzen graduated from Reedley High School in 1970. After two years at Reedley College, he transferred to Tabor College, FPU's sister school in Hillsboro, Kansas, where he earned a bachelor's degree in physical education and health in 1975. He completed a master's degree in physical education at the University of Northern Colorado in 1980, and will complete a doctorate in sports psychology from the University of Southern California in May.

Janzen is expected to add the athletic director duties to his coaching responsibilities, beginning May 17. He follows Gary Nachtigall, who retires after completing 43 years of service at FPU, including 19 as athletics director (1961-75; 1999-04).

"We offer a unique opportunity to our student-athletes," said Janzen. "It goes well beyond the typical university athletic experience and is much more than wins and losses. It's about building people through significant and meaningful challenges and experiences. It's about exploring who you are athletically, academically, socially and spiritually. It is being a part of providing this unique opportunity for our student-athletes that I love and appreciate. It is why I came in 1983 and why I am still here."

"Gary (Nachtigall) was the chair of the original search committee that brought me to Fresno Pacific. I will always be grateful to him for giving me an opportunity to coach. Over the past 20 years I've been fortunate to work with some of the best folks I could ever imagine. The future of FPU athletics is a bright one, due in part to Gary's efforts. I hope to build on the foundation that he laid. There is more work to be done, but the challenge energizes me."