Dawn (Koehn) Beil has been a monumental advocate for females in athletics since she graduated college in 1993.
As soon as she earned her degree in business and physical education from NDSU, Beil entered the coaching realm by becoming the head coach for the women’s track and field team at Moorhead High School. After two years in Iowa coaching for Odebolt High School while her husband Rory worked on his master’s at Iowa State, Beil returned to Fargo in 1996 to coach track at Fargo North and gymnastics at West Fargo High School.
Today, Beil is an assistant coach at Fargo Davies High School and believes it’s important for her and female athletes to remain involved in sports.
“I just personally feel that it’s important for girls at the high school level to have the opportunity to be coached by a female if they can,” explained the Davies women’s sprint coach. “I would say almost for someone to look up to.”
Beil isn’t only a coach on the track; she’s a mother to her two daughters Kaia (15) and Merritt (13). She says they’ve grown up around the track and were carried around to meets before Beil took seven years off after her son Joshua (9) was born.
The mother of three returned to coaching two years ago to help her husband Rory and coach the sprinters. She’s fortunate enough to coach her oldest, Kaia, who qualified for state for the first time this past spring and Merritt, who participated in one varsity meet even though she’s still a middle-schooler.
Kaia and Merritt have grown up on the track, which is something their mother didn’t have the pleasure of doing.
One of the most dynamic sprinters in NDSU track and field history was one injury shy of never competing in a sport that would earn her nine division II All-American honors and a place in the Bison Athletic Hall of Fame.
It wasn’t a turned ankle or strained knee ligaments that almost doomed her career, it was a twist of fate that would position Beil to become a star on the track.
During Beil’s sophomore year in gymnastics at Watertown High School, she had a nasty accident. She broke her arm and wouldn’t be able to go out for the golf team, a sport Beil grew up around her whole life. So in an attempt to remain in shape, Beil, with her arm wrapped in a cast, decided it was time to run on the track team, a decision that would alter her entire life.
The domino effect of Beil’s success on the track led her to NDSU, a school she didn’t know existed until an assistant came to visit.
“After he explained the program to me and all the traditions of the Little Sister, Big Sister program, he went over all the kids and showed me a booklet of all the people that I would be going through college with,” Beil said. “Lisa Ristau was my Big Sister and so he showed me information about her and it enticed me to want to go to NDSU and to become a Bison.”[/text_output]
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[text_output]Beil had no problem making friends and becoming one of the best sprinters on the NDSU track team. During one meet, one of the walk-ons acted as another domino in Beil’s story.
“You have a secret admirer,” Beil said, reenacting what the walk on said to her during one meet. It turns out the man holding the admiration was a runner on the University of North Dakota track team. This got a lot of attention from her teammates remembers Beil.
“They quickly overlooked that and accepted him and some of our good friends are Bison athletes that he competed against,” Beil said about her husband Rory. “My coach (Jerry Gores) gave us a flag and it’s in our house, down in our weight room, it’s half Bison, half UND.”
The Beil’s have remained close with the Bison track family and its former head coach Ryun Godfrey, who moved to Beil’s hometown in Watertown after she left for college. They communicate with new head coach Stevie Keller frequently and had some of their athletes become Bison.
“Ryun Godfrey brought them to a whole new level,” Beil said. “He was a great guy to do that and I know Stevie (Keller) will probably match or go beyond that.”
The Beil’s remain loyal to the rapidly growing running community and seven years ago, they created Team Nodak Track Club, which is a youth track club consisting of 90 track and field athletes from Kindergarten to 18 years old.
Along with coaching, Beil is a physical education teacher at Freedom Elementary School. She will continue to be an advocate for females in athletics because you never know when a sport as simple as track could have a monumental impact on your life.
Correction: Beil teaches at Freedom Elementary, not Eastwood as the article previously stated. [/text_output]