Senior staff writer
Bill Torgerson is one of the most interesting new coaches to arrive on the Southside in several years.
The former North Carolina resident is an author, a tenured university professor, an award-winning videographer, an outdoor enthusiast, a devoted family man and, oh, by the way, the new girls basketball coach at Greenwood High School.
“The pace is so different than at the university,” Torgerson said after 11 years of teaching at St. John’s University in New York. “Here there’s always something to do every minute; I miss not having time to journal.”
Torgerson was here throughout the summer to get acquainted with the Woodmen, who are off to a 5-2 start after winning only four games last season.
He teaches ninth- and 12th-grade English and expressed his desire to light that fire of reading, writing and learning among all his students. He hopes to spend many extra moments with students to develop their writing skills as he did at St. John’s.
The family finished its move in June from scenic Asheville, N.C.
Last year Torgerson, his wife and two daughters embarked on a rafting journey filled with mystery on the French Broad River that flows through Biltmore Estate. They braved the river and all of its challenging elements on a 147-mile trip from Rosman, N.C., on the eastern edge of the Pisgah National Forest, to Douglass Lake in Tennessee.
It was the first time they had gone rafting. They overcame Class III waters of medium waves, which require medium paddling skills, and Class IV rapids with large waves, rocks and considerable drops with sharp maneuvers.
Torgerson was interested in what they would learn along the way. He said the biggest danger wasn’t the rapids but from snakes hanging down from low tree limbs over the river. He also wanted to tell tales of the river through his second videography, a follow-up to a video on Asheville arts and gardens.
Along the way they stopped to talk about the river, environmental themes and social and political issues, including biology, wildlife, conservation and geology.
Torgerson’s 75-minute documentary on the river earned a Queens World Film Festival Award and was shown in mid-March at the Zukor Theatre in New York City.
He has authored “Love on the Big Screen,” “Horseshoe,” “The Coach’s Wife” and “A Viking on the Subway.”
Torgerson grew up in northern Indiana and was an assistant boys basketball coach for sectional champion Fort Wayne Carroll High under coach Rob Irwin, the current athletic director at Greenwood. Torgerson also was an assistant boys coach with 2002 state champion Charlotte (N.C.) Vance High.
This is the first time his wife, Anne, and daughters, Isabel and Charlotte, have lived in Hoosierland.
“I have imagined many times where the Torgersons will be in the same building doing the work of learning, teaching and developing as members of a school community,” he said. “I also realized through the years that what I liked best about my life is working with kids and basketball.”
Now, if he could only find time to write in his journal.