BISMARCK, N.D. - Rod Oksendahl started a new phase in his long coaching career when he accepted a position as assistant coach on the Mayville State University football team this winter.
Oksendahl is leaving behind a lifetime of success after 43 seasons at the high school coaching level. With five state high school football titles on his resume and three more in baseball, Oksendahl has been named a recipient of the special achievement award by the North Dakota
Associated Press Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.
Also, receiving a special achievement award is the late Lyne Enget, a long-time football coach at Stanley-Powers Lake.
The special achievement award is considered the top honor in year-end awards handed out annually by the NDAPSSA.
"I didn't think I'd be coaching for 40-some years when I started out,'' Oksendahl said. "I was fortunate to be at schools where football was pretty important. ''
Oksendahl's coaching career started at Wyndmere (1975-78), then he spent 28 years at Cavalier and the last nine seasons at Fargo Shanley, the final six as head football coach. Oksendahl won five state championships in football (Cavalier in 1987, 2002, 2003 and 2004 and Fargo Shanley in 2012). He also had seven teams that finished second in the state playoffs. He had a 317-87 record in his 35 seasons as a head coach.
In addition, as a baseball coach at Cavalier, he won more than 200 games and three Class B state championships.
"I wish we could have won more championships, but I'm proud of the fact that we got there (to the state championship game) as many times as we did,'' Oksendahl said. "That says a lot about the athletes I had.
You do it with good athletes, and I had many, many good athletes.''
Oksendahl is a member of the North Dakota High School Coaches Association and the National High School Coaches Association halls of fame.
Enget spent 27 years as a coach, teacher and administrator in North Dakota. He died on Oct. 26, 2015, at the age of 51 from injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident.