For Coach Jansen, tennis is his sport, but mentorship is his game

Coach Dick Jansen stands for a photo at Snohomish High School’s tennis courts Sunday, Jan. 23.

Coach Dick Jansen stands for a photo at Snohomish High School’s tennis courts Sunday, Jan. 23.
Doug Ramsay

SNOHOMISH —  Spending 50 years doing a job you love sounds like a dream. For former Snohomish High School tennis coach Dick Jansen, he did it.
Jansen had always been involved with sports, from playing baseball in high school to coaching Little League teams. His passion for coaching players led him to major in teaching at Western Washington University and graduating in 1967.
Jansen has always enjoyed the process of teaching kids, and decided to set out to find a position that would allow him to do so.  With a degree in hand Jansen began looking for opportunities to become a baseball coach, and applied for the position at Snohomish High School. That position was filled, but luckily an opportunity arose when he was offered an assistant coaching position with the boy’s tennis program in 1968.
He had no prior experience with tennis and initially had no plans on staying with the program.  However at the start of the 1969 season, while coaching the school’s JV team he began to fall in love with the sport.  With the help of then varsity coach Joe Clayton, Jansen started learning more about the sport’s various drills and practices.  It was in the 1970 season when Jansen was offered the position of head coach for the boys varsity program, and his career soon began to skyrocket.  
Jansen held the position of varsity coach from 1970 until his retirement in 2018. Over his 50-year career, his love for the sport never faded.  
“Tennis is like a vehicle, with any vehicle you can teach life skills, it’s a way for kids to express themselves,” Jansen said over a phone call.
Wanting to further his coaching influence, Jansen began volunteering as a coach for the girl’s tennis program as well.  
Retiring doesn’t mean Jansen hasn’t stopped being involved with the Snohomish Panthers tennis program. You can still find him at practices giving insight and helping the current coaches during drills.  Jansen knows the coaching staff well and has worked with them over the years and still provides his knowledge of the sport to players.  
“I enjoy the give-and-take of coaching and seeing these kids grow as players and individuals,” said Jansen. His support for the Snohomish School District is undying, and he respects the district for giving its students so many extracurricular activities.  
Tennis is a sport that is ingrained in his family, with all four of his kids playing tennis for Snohomish High, and grandkids playing for Glacier Peak. Since retirement Jansen relaxes and enjoys life, and from time to time travels.
Dick Jansen’s love for tennis has spanned a lifetime, and his love for the city of Snohomish has carried on just as long.