Jeff Van Leur grew up in Woonsocket. He's stayed in the region, spending the past four decades as the head coach of the various co-ops, from 9-man to 11-man, of the Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan football team.
"I've been here for 39- years, same school. Came here right out of Sioux Falls College, and it's just been a good fit for me, program we've kind of built up. I've had great assistant coaches that do a great job for me. I get a lot of the credit but they do a great job for me and I've had good players throughout the years, just a lot of talented kids who've come along." says Van Leur.
Van Leur will be taking his 10th team to the dome for the state championship, looking for his 6th title. Two of those titles in the early 2000's really stick out for him.
"I've coached both of my sons, state titles, that was neat. And just the kids make it fun for you, get them out there and see how they improve." says Van Leur.
When you stay in the community for 39-years, you end up coaching different generations of kids.
"He's coached my dad down to my uncles, to now us. And he's the greatest, he really is." says senior Jamin Arend.
"I've changed over the years, no doubt about it. I hear the parents some of the dads say if that happened to us, we would've done this. It's a different time. I've changed a little bit, I've probably softened over the years." says Van Leur.
"He's coached everybody, just the experience of knowing this guy has been through it all and you know you can trust him on anything because he knows what he's talking about." says junior Brady Hawkins.
For the coach, who's teams have won 259 games,.retirement isn't in the plans just yet.
"As long as I've got good assistants and things are kind of rolling, you know i just feel i can still do it. If it comes a time when it becomes a job or I feel I can do the kids justice. Then it's time for me to step down." says Van Leur.