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End of a hall of fame career

KCC coach to retire with 1,000-plus wins

November 10, 2011
Greg DeVillers Grand Forks Herald

HALLOCK, Minn. - Two years ago, Carol Visness retired from her teaching and coaching positions. The moved turned out to be temporary. When the school offered her an opportunity to return, Visness accepted.

This time, there will be no returning.

Visness, a member of two Minnesota athletic halls of fame, plans to retire at the end of the school year. As far as a coaching career that began in 1975, Visness coached her last volleyball match when her Kittson County Central team was eliminated in this postseason.

There will be no change of mind. Visness already has bought a house in Moorhead, where her three daughters and her two grandchildren live.

"I'm done," Visness said. "I'm going to stick to (retirement) this time. I want to be closer to my daughters and my grandchildren. I'm going to try to be a big helper to them."

It will be the end of an illustrious coaching career with the Hallock and Kittson Central programs, in which the 58-year-old Visness has recorded more than 1,000 career wins in volleyball and basketball combined.

Visness coached girls basketball from 1975 through 2004, with her husband, Ron, her assistant coach for many of those seasons. Visness had a 555-145 basketball record.

In volleyball, she was head coach in the late 1970s, then took over the program again in 1986 and has been there since. She has a 467-214 record entering the Section 8A tournament.

"I know I'll miss coaching," said Visness, who also was track coach for 11 seasons. "I never thought I'd miss coaching basketball, but I did when I got out of it. I still do. And I know I'll miss volleyball, too. I'll miss the friendships with other coaches and working with the kids every day. And I'm kind of a competitive person; I'm sure I'll miss that part of it, too."

Long-term career

This isn't the career route Visness once had anticipated.

She came to Hallock after graduating from North Dakota State University, where she played basketball for four seasons and volleyball for three seasons. She envisioned Hallock as a rung on the coaching ladder.

"I figured I'd start coaching in high school and go from there," she said. "I thought I'd move up, to junior college and college coaching. That's what I wanted.

"But then I met Ron. We got married. He farms in the area. We had kids, and felt it was a good place to raise them. Everything worked out well. I have no regrets."

Visness' teams have had success. She's rarely had teams that finished with sub-.500 records. She took one team to the state volleyball tournament and three to the state basketball tournament, winning the state basketball championship in 2002.

Evolution of the game

Along the way, she's watched volleyball evolve.

"When I first got here, it seemed like volleyball was something girls looked at as something to do to get ready for basketball," she said. "But in the late '90s, that changed. The attitude changed. It became a more competitive sport. Girls wanted to excel in volleyball, too. They spent more time on volleyball in the offseason and, as a result, we started winning more."

Visness has been inducted into the Minnesota High School Girls Basketball Coaches Association's hall of fame, as well as the Minnesota State High School League Hall of Fame. But that recognition doesn't match up to the thrill she got out of coaching.

"They (hall of fame selections) are a nice honor," she said. "But it's not like being in the games. Any time we won a section or a state title, those were way bigger deals to me. They involved more people, not just me."

And they involved competition - something Visness will miss.

"I'll probably have to start running against my grandchildren to stay competitive," said Visness, who has run several half-marathons.

Visness is the daughter of Gina Witt, Rugby, and the late James Witt. She is a graduate of Rugby High School and North Dakota State University.



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