John A. Pfitsch
John Alfred Pfitsch (1919-2012) was born in Miraj, India to medical missionary parents. He moved back to the United States at the age of five where his life plan was influenced by years of youth sport, high school and college athletics. He played all major and many minor sports from season to season at Pflugerville High School, Texas Lutheran Junior College, and University of Texas at Austin where he graduated in 1940. His graduate education at The University of Kansas was interrupted by World War II when he served in the 35th Division of the Army, landing on Utah Beach on Day 3 of D-Day. He returned to Kansas in the Fall of 1945 to graduate with a master’s in physical education and serve as Phog Allen’s first assistant coach in the 1945-46 basketball season. He met Emily Hollis at University of Kansas. They were married on August 3, 1946 and moved to Fremont, NE, where he coached all sports and taught physical education at Midland College. In 1948 he was hired to coach basketball, tennis, and football at Grinnell College. He became athletic director in 1953. During his 50-year career at Grinnell, he expanded women’s intercollegiate sport programs and eventually coached almost every men’s sport. John Pfitsch is also co-author of Pfitsch Tales: 50 Years of Grinnell College Athletics with Suzanne Kelsey.
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Where to buy in print
From Underdog to Winner: In Pursuit of 100% Performance
by Barbara Teetor Waite & John A. Pfitsch
John Pfitsch (1919-2012), coach at Grinnell College for 50 years, and Barbara Waite, former chair of the Sport Psychology Program at The University of Iowa, square off to scrutinize theories and philosophies behind 100% performance, Coach Pfitsch’s term for the best his athletes had to offer. A conversation between Waite and Pfitsch’s ghost reveals more than how to win sport contests.
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