Bertil Johansson is counting down his final days as a coach for the Kodiaks Athletics Cross Country team at Lethbridge College.
“Two years ago I retired faculty, teaching science and physical education for 30 years,” Johansson said. “I don’t think I was ready then to retire from everything at the same time. So I thought, well, let’s keep coaching for two more years and I think that was a good choice.”
Bertil is the most decorated coach in Kodiaks history, with his teams and athletes having earned 54 gold medals at both the provincial and national college levels.
He will officially retire after the CCAA championships on Nov. 10 in Toronto.
But some of his student-athletes don’t believe he’ll be going far.
“There’s no way he’s ever going to leave, he’ll stick around,” Sophia Nowicki said.
“Yeah, he’ll come to every race,” Janelle Graham said.
“I have a feeling he might be back doing something,” said Danny Robdrup, coach of the Kodiaks men’s cross country team. “He might come back as a volunteer, or at least come and watch us do some of our workouts our races, things like that. I bet we’ll be seeing him in the future.”
Bertil admits it will be hard to keep his distance.
“I’d like to be involved, just because I’m retiring from this aspect of my career… I’d like to be involved in other aspects,” Johansson said. “We won’t know where we’re going to live, but hopefully Lethbridge for a few years to come.”
So what’s next for the most successful coach in Kodiaks athletics history?
“Hopefully I can travel a bit more often, have more freedom of when I want to go,” Bertil said. “You know I’ll be happy to be a grandpa and supportive to my children and my wife. Doing other things that are around the corner, which will be a surprise I guess.”