Gary Janzen grew up in Enid, Oklahoma, and transferred to Tabor College in 1963 as a sophomore. He graduated in 1966, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Health and Physical Education.
Gary started his athletic endeavors at Tabor College running cross country. He ran unattached his sophomore year and lettered his junior and senior years. During Gary's senior year the cross country team recorded their 18th consecutive victory in dual and triangular meets. Gary not only ran for the team his senior year, but was also their coach. Gary played JV basketball his sophomore year and was the basketball team's trainer his junior year.
Track and field was the third sport Gary participated in while at Tabor College. His sophomore year, Gary set the Tabor record in the 880 yard run and the two mile. He was also a member of the sprint medley relay and distance medley relay teams that set records for Tabor that year. During Gary's junior year, he was a member of the record-setting mile relay team.
During the Christmas break of his senior year, Gary had an emergency appendectomy and feared his track career at Tabor College was over. However, after much hard work and training, Gary went on to have a very successful senior year running his fastest times. He also earned the honor of being named the track team's most valuable runner for the 1966 season. New records were set that year in the distance medley relay and the two mile relay. The two mile relay record of 8:00.8 still stands today as it remained Tabor's best mark until the track distances changed to meters. A quote about Gary taken from the Tabor College View reads; "His efforts in anchoring relays have been electrifying; when behind, he is tough on a quarter or half-mile as demonstrated by a 1:54 half to anchor the two mile relay team to within a yard of second place at the Graceland Relays last Saturday."
Reflecting over the 1966 season, Coach Steve Kimery stated in the Tabor College View "Our tremendous times in the middle distance and distance events were accomplished by a great bunch of guys who wanted and liked to work." He further stated, "We are probably the strongest team through the distance events of the small colleges in Kansas this year." A great climax came to Gary's college track career when he was the first track runner to compete at the national NAIA finals in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in September of 1966.
After graduating from Tabor, Gary taught Physical Education, Business, and Drivers Education. He has coached six years in Oklahoma, twelve years in Indiana, seven years in Michigan, and twelve years in Kansas. He has also worked as an Athletic Director for seven years. A few of the athletic teams Gary has coached through the years are baseball, girls and boys varsity basketball, cross country, girls softball, junior high football and junior high and high school boys and girls track. His track teams won conference 13 times, placed second in conference four times, placed third in conference two times, won regional, and produced seven state placers in ten events. Gary has coached a host of athletes who have gone on to college including three who have made All American status.
Gary and his wife lois were married in 1965, and currently reside in Enid, Oklahoma.
Gary Janzen, for your outstanding career at Tabor College in cross country and track and field, we honor you today as member of the Tabor College Athletic Hall of Fame.