Job Change: A Family Move to Indiana

I’ve accepted an offer from Greenwood Community Schools to teach seventh grade language arts and become the head girls basketball coach. The town of Greenwood is twelve miles south of Indianapolis, Indiana, the state where I grew up playing the game. My parents were both English teachers, and my dad was a coach.

Bill Torgerson, girls basketball coach, Greenwood High School

Greenwood, Indiana

The move is motivated primarily by a desire to put family first. If all goes according to plan–does that ever happen?–the position gives me the opportunity to teach in the middle school where both of my daughters will eventually attend. One of my dominant memories of growing up in Indiana is of my my mom, dad, sister, and me all piling into the car to head off to school together. I remember when my dad was the athletic director at Caston (name derived from Cass and Fulton counties) in North-Central Indiana, we’d take him dinner and have a sort of picnic in his office. In accepting the position at Greenwood, I imagine many times where all of us Torgersons will be in the same building doing the work of learning, teaching, and developing as members of a school community.

family on the couch

Our Family in Asheville: Martin, Sue, Scottie, Megan, Anne, Isabel, Charlotte, Me

After ten years of not coaching, I found myself back in the gym coaching Charlotte and her peers when she was a second grader. Whether it was in Connecticut or North Carolina, we have regularly had lots of girls over to our house to work on their games in the driveway. Especially during the last two years, I’ve been scrapping for gym times, filling out insurance paperwork, and looking for gyms to rent. As I realized that what I liked best about my life was working with kids and basketball, I began to look for ways in which that activity could become a primary aspect of my job.

basketball, Bill Torgerson, Greenwood High School, girls basketball

two-ball passing in the driveway

For the past eleven years, I’ve been a professor at St. John’s University in New York who taught First Year Writing courses. What I’ve enjoyed most about St. John’s is working with the students. Located in the borough of Queens where over one hundred languages are spoken, I’ve felt like representatives from all over the world have shown up so that we could write and learn together. As discouraged as I can feel about the prospect of different cultures sharing space in the world together, the classrooms I’ve inhabited at St. John’s continue to show me those from different cultures can not only coexist, but celebrate and learn from one another’s differences. Over the course of my career of working with young people for over two decades, few things have made me more proud than being able to say I am a professor at St. John’s University.

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A Writing Group Pauses for a Picture: Love these SJU students!

During the last three years, I’ve been splitting time between Asheville, North Carolina where I live with my family and New York City where I’ve continued to teach writing courses at St. John’s University. I have loved living in Asheville for the beauty of the mountains and the French Broad River, the opportunities to live an active outdoor lifestyle, and for the passionate community that surrounds the arts. As a lover of stories and storytelling, I’ve felt empowered by the audiences that have supported my writing and films during the time I’ve called Asheville home. As much as I’ve enjoyed living in Asheville, I’ve felt divided when it came to the time I’m able to give my family and the time I want to spend with my students at St. John’s. I felt it was time to wholly commit to one community. Once I decided I wanted to teach and coach, Indiana seemed like the place to do it for its facilities, enthusiasm for the game, my upbringing there, and the chance to work with a good friend, Greenwood Athletic Director Rob Irwin. Rob and I coached together when I was his assistant at Carroll High School in Fort Wayne.

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Sectional Champs at Fort Wayne Carroll: Me on far left next to Rob Irwin

While the upcoming move to Indiana will be a return to the area where I grew up, it will be the first time my wife and daughters have lived in the state. As I engage in the work of moving and changing jobs, I try not to think too much about what I am leaving behind and instead focus on looking forward to the opportunities available to me as a teacher who will get to spend at least five days a week with students. I’ll look for chances to provide some sparks of excitement when it comes to young people’s enthusiasm for reading, writing, and learning. I look to the ways in which I can also use basketball as a vehicle to give young people positive experiences. My friends with kids older than mine testify to the fact that their children’s childhoods have gone by fast. My youngest daughter Isabel is eight years old, and I can’t help but thinking that she’ll likely be graduating from high school in ten years. Knowing that, I can think of no better way to spend the next decade than sharing it on a daily basis with my daughters, my wife and parents, and in service to the young people in the Greenwood, Indiana community.

Greenwood High School, Girls Basketball, Coach Bill Torgerson, Indiana

Looking forward to my first season at Greenwood High School!

 

 

 

Free Audiobook: The Coach’s Wife

“In his novel The Coach’s Wife, William Torgerson has written one of the best books about basketball and coaching I’ve ever read. He’s also written a love story so complicated and wonderful it will have book clubs talking about it for many years.”

Pat Conroy, author of The Prince of Tides and The Death of the Great Santini

The audio version of The Coach’s Wife will be released in installments through the Torg Stories podcast.

Click here for the iTunes version and here for Stitcher.

Indiana, North Carolina, basketball, novel, coaching, coach's wife, Pat Conroy, My Losing Season

AmazonBarnes and Noble

First Chapter PDF, Torg Reads an Excerpt

In The Coach’s Wife, I draw on my experiences coaching high school basketball in Indiana and the end of several romantic relationships. The story is set in a fictionalized version of my hometown of Winamac, Indiana. Although the story stands on its own, it can also be read as a sequel to Love on the Big Screen.

Here are some endorsements written by writers I admire who were generous enough to take their time to read the manuscript:

  • “Torgerson has crafted an engaging and realistic portrait of Coach Eric Zaucha. The Coach’s Wife reveals one man’s quest for success on the Indiana basketball court, and for love, with admirable detail and insight.” -Allen Gee, author of My Chinese America 
  • “Meet Zuke, basketball coach, romantic, and narrator of this haunting, fast-paced novel, a tale of love and loss and acceptance, and all that we must learn when the party of college is over.” Peter Golden, author of Comeback Love
  • “You couldn’t ask for a more irresistible premise and Torgerson stirs it up with a backdrop including O.J. Simpson, Kurt Cobain, and Lady Di. A treacherous and hilarious journey through the human heart that beats with hope on every page.” –Caroline Leavitt 

If you’ve read the book, love to hear from you in the comment section. If you have friends who might be interested in the book, I’d appreciate it if you would pass along this link to them. Thank you for taking the time to read this page and keeping the conversation surrounding books alive!

Torg’s New Novel: The Coach’s Wife

“In his novel The Coach’s Wife, William Torgerson has written one of the best books about basketball and coaching I’ve ever read. He’s also written a love story so complicated and wonderful it will have book clubs talking about it for many years.”

Pat Conroy, author of The Prince of Tides and The Death of the Great Santini

Indiana, North Carolina, basketball, novel, coaching, coach's wife, Pat Conroy, My Losing Season

AmazonBarnes and Noble

First Chapter PDF, Torg Reads an Excerpt

In The Coach’s Wife, I draw on my experiences coaching high school basketball in Indiana and the end of several romantic relationships. The story is set in a fictionalized version of my hometown of Winamac, Indiana. Although the story stands on its own, it can also be read as a sequel to Love on the Big Screen.

Here are some endorsements written by writers I admire who were generous enough to take their time to read the manuscript:

  • “Torgerson has crafted an engaging and realistic portrait of Coach Eric Zaucha. The Coach’s Wife reveals one man’s quest for success on the Indiana basketball court, and for love, with admirable detail and insight.” -Allen Gee, author of My Chinese America 
  • “Meet Zuke, basketball coach, romantic, and narrator of this haunting, fast-paced novel, a tale of love and loss and acceptance, and all that we must learn when the party of college is over.” Peter Golden, author of Comeback Love
  • “You couldn’t ask for a more irresistible premise and Torgerson stirs it up with a backdrop including O.J. Simpson, Kurt Cobain, and Lady Di. A treacherous and hilarious journey through the human heart that beats with hope on every page.” –Caroline Leavitt 

If you’ve read the book, love to hear from you in the comment section. If you have friends who might be interested in the book, I’d appreciate it if you would pass along this link to them. Thank you for taking the time to read this page and keeping the conversation surrounding books alive!