-Article by Ian Grande
One year ago the Stanley community was shaken by the tragic news that Lyne Enget had been killed in a car accident. It was news that was almost impossible to comprehend at the time and even a year later is still difficult for many. The legacy that Lyne Enget left behind will be seen and felt for decades to come, in this article we will take an in-depth look at the man who left a positive impact on everyone that was fortunate enough to know him.
Lyne Enget and Allen Burgad began coaching the Stanley Blue Jay Football team together in 1993. Soon after the two joined forces it became clear that the program was trending in the right direction, and by the 1998 season the Blue Jays were making a run to the state championship game. One of the main reasons the Blue Jays were able to make that initial run was the amount of preparation that the Blue Jay coaching staff put in, “Monday night was our night to watch film, we would get together in Lyne’s office and watch till midnight or later. There were some good arguments between coaches, and Lyne would have to step in and play referee. All of the coaches wanted to make sure that we were prepared and that we had as good of a game plan as possible, especially Lyne”, said Burgad (Burgad helped guide the Blue Jays to State Championships in 1999 and 2002).
The Stanley Blue Jay players recognized the work that Enget and his staff were putting in and it paid dividends on the field. “We (Stanley) were always more prepared for the football game than the other team was, and we were also always in better shape. Lyne was a big promoter of watching film, not only of our games, but also of our upcoming opponent. This helped us not only learn what we needed to improve on, it helped us pick up the tendencies of our next opponents,” said Former Stanley Blue Jay and North Dakota State Bison football player Blair Hynek (Hynek helped guide the Blue Jays to their first State Championship in 1999).
Driven To Be The Best
The Stanley Blue Jays were far from a flashy team in Enget’s early years but they were still very effective because of an attention to detail that was second to none. “We didn’t run a fancy offense, we ran a basic smash-mouth, shove-it-down-your-throat offense, but we ran it very well. It wasn’t because we were so much bigger or stronger or faster than our opponents, it was simply that we were better prepared. Lyne made sure that we did everything right, whether it was footwork, form, or the right assignment, etc. Every day at practice we did the same fundamental drills, something that helped to make us successful,” said Hynek.
That smash-mouth philosophy would vault Stanley all the way into the 1998 North Dakota State High School Playoffs and into the State Championship game against the Harvey Hornets. The Blue Jays would ultimately fall in that game by the score of 29-12, but it would provide the foundation for years of success to come.
A lot of coaches would have looked at making it all the way to the State Championship game as a success, but Enget had a larger goal in mind and was willing to try something new to achieve it, “On the way back from the 1998 North Dakota State Championship Game we decided that we needed to swallow our pride and restructure our offense a bit to become a little more dynamic. We never abandoned our principles, but those extra wrinkles really helped us with the 1999 Championship run,” said Burgad.
Enget’s ability to diversify the playbook would pay dividends in their 2002 Championship run as well. Burgad recalls a specific play, “Lyne absolutely loved the big play, he drew up a double pass in the semi-finals against Velva that worked to perfection. That turned out to be a key play in that game and helped us reach the State Championship game.”
Far Reaching Impact
The impact that Enget had on the student-athletes on the field was evident in their success and he always took tremendous strides to ensure their preparedness, “We were always a fundamentally sound football team. Lyne and his coaching staff believed that if you did the little things right, the rest would fall into place. That is one of the lessons from him that I have carry with me to this day, I apply it to raising my family, operating my farm and basically everything in my life,” said Hynek.
Those lessons that Enget taught on the gridiron had a unique way of transcending the football field.
“He had a tremendous personal impact on all of us as players. Coach Enget always stressed that no one player is bigger than the team. He also taught me another important lesson and that is to always be humble in everything that I do. Once I got to college, I found myself remembering certain things that he had taught us. He was often very subtle and I didn’t fully understand the magnitude of the lessons that he taught us until I got to college,” said former Stanley Blue Jay standout and current Moorhead State Dragon Linebacker Abraham Roehrich (Reohrich helped guide the Blue Jays to their third State Championship in 2011).
The lessons didn’t end with the players, his impact on fellow coaches was profound as well. “Lyne taught me a lot about the administrative side of being a coach, something I greatly appreciated. He also taught me what it meant to truly be there for your players, and what it meant to be a professional, lessons that I have kept with me to this day,” said Former Stanley-Powers Lake Blue Jay coach Cory Rice (Rice helped guide the Blue Jays to the 2011 State Championship).
“I have been able to apply the lessons that I learned from Coach Enget to not only my personal life, but also my professional life. Lessons like to never cut corners and to always do the little things right. He was very detail orientated in his approach to coaching his players, and also with everything else he that he did for the program. Some of my fondest memories of Coach Enget are spending Thursday nights before home games painting the field together. Working for hours to make sure that the field was done correctly and would be a symbol of pride for not only our currently players and fans but also for everyone who helped build the Blue Jay football tradition,” said former Stanley Blue Jay football coach Garrit Irey (Irey coached with Lyne Enget from 2004-2008).
Admiration from fellow coaches was easy to find as well, “Lyne always had the whole picture figured out. I always admired how he would empower his players and coaches, he could empower them but demand accountability at the same time,” said former Stanley-Powers Lake Football coach Scotty Meiers (Meiers helped guide the Blue Jays to three titles in ’99,’02, and ’11).
A prime example of the length that Enget would go to help his players can be found in two hand written letters to his team before the 1998 and 1999 North Dakota Class “A” State Championship games:
The passion Enget had the game rubbed off on the rest coaching staff as well and seemed to give him complete control over the team, “The way he would command the locker room was exceptional, I have never seen a group of kids that played so hard for a coach. He really had an amazing influence on everyone” said Rice.
“Whether it was on the football field, the class room, or anywhere else in life, Lyne had a tremendous ability to bring out the best in everyone. He had a knack of getting his athletes to play better than they thought they were capable of doing. This could be largely attributed to his ability to motivate people. Mostly though, I think it was his preparation for the game and how he had the team prepared, in every way he could control, to play football. Those two elements had a lot to do with each other,” said Hynek.
Hynek’s thoughts were echoed by Irey, “Coach Enget was very effective at building relationships with his athletes. It was something that he was able to do naturally. Coach Enget understood that building the relationships first would help to develop a trust and a true sense of belonging to the team. Once that was established he was able to get so much out of each of his athletes and to get those athletes to put the team before any personal goals or ambitions. That is a major reason why Coach Enget’s football teams always seemed to play competitive, fundamentally sound football.”
Enget’s passion for the game helped spur a desire in his players to play the game at the next level as well, “He helped to instill a hunger for always getting better and a love for the game, and both are needed at the collegiate level. Once I got to college I found myself remembering certain things that he had said that I could apply,” said Roehrich.
His tremendous passion wasn’t limited to the football field, “I wish more people could have gotten a chance to meet him on a personal level, just an incredible amount of passion in everything he did. He could find a way to make anything interesting,” said Rice.
Rice’s comments were echoed by Hynek, “It was always fun to be around Lyne, he could always make something entertaining. As a senior in Lyne’s US History class, we had an option for our semester final. We could take the essay test like normal, or we could group up with two friends and make a documentary about three parts of American history. Of course I got together with two friends to make a movie. Lyne knew exactly what he was doing, instead of us studying for a couple hours for a test, we spent days making that video. I’ve taken many tests in my life and I don’t remember any of them, however I vividly remember making that video. That was how Lyne taught, he got you to want to buy into something and learn in the process,” said Hynek.
Enget may have been known for his passion, but he wasn’t afraid to keep things light at times either, “To begin Thursday practice, the day before our games, Lyne would recite a rap he wrote specifically for that week’s game. With the team lined up for calisthenics, we would slap our pads and clap to the rhythm of ‘We Will, We Will Rock You!”. It was just another example of Lyne putting in an extra effort to help his team play better, and we loved it,” said Hynek.
A Lasting Legacy
Lyne Enget was a teacher, coach, administrator, firefighter, and city councilman. His allegiance to the Stanley School and community ran deep, but all of the titles only tell part of the story about Lyne Enget.
Enget’s full legacy can only be fully realized by taking a long look at the lasting impact that he had on so many people including his two sons, whom he cherished greatly.
Cory Rice summed it up perfectly when he said, “There will never be another Lyne Enget in Stanley. There will never be another person who influences that many people on that level.”
Lyne Enget left a lasting legacy that everyone should try to duplicate, but very few will likely match.
The editor of the Stanley Gazette is Ian Grande if you would like to reach him please email: StanleyGazette@gmail.com
The above interview was conducted by Scott Hennen of the Bakken Beacon following the 2011 North Dakota State Class “A” Football Championship.
This was article #3 in four part series chronicling the history of the Stanley-Powers Lake Blue Jays Football program and the man who led them to three State Championships, Lyne Enget. Please make sure to check out Articles #1 and #2