According to Todd Evans, who teaches physical education at Valparaiso High School, there is one thing that is constant, one thing that he enjoys seeing in all his students, regardless of which sport they play.
“I really enjoy seeing those students grow, both on the field as well as outside the sport. To see them grow and become successful as they advance from freshman to senior is really great,” says Evans.
Evans should know - he’s seen many students during his time at Valpo HS, where he not only teaches physical education, but serves at the head baseball coach and freshman football coach.
Born and raised in Valpo, Todd attended Thomas Jefferson middle school before going to VHS, where he graduated in 1999. Evans went on to study at Valparaiso University, where he played baseball until he graduated in 2003.
“I started coaching football here (at VHS) when I was a sophomore in college. That was back in 2001, and we went all the way down to state that year,” said Evans.
During his junior and senior years in college, Evans also served as assistant wrestling coach under Tom Renn. Evans taught one year at Westville before returning to VHS to serve as head wrestling coach, while also coaching football and freshman baseball.
“All the sports I played, I coached during my first 5 years teaching at VHS,” said Evans, who adds that he was originally on the path to become an athletic trainer, until he decided that what he really wanted to do was to coach.
Todd says that, for him, coaching means long days and early mornings.
“If it’s football season, I usually start work at 6:00 am, getting things ready for the freshman football team and the defensive coordinator. We review films to prepare for the next game. Then, I go through the rest of my school day.”
“Right now, I’m very involved with the weight training aspect of physical education with our athletes,” said Evans. “After school, that means more weight training, whether for football or baseball. Then, some practice on the field, before finally going home to spend time with my wife and family. It can be long and strenuous, but that’s the nature of the game. As an athlete, you see it; you know the hours the coaches put in. So, I have no trouble doing it. I’m doing something that I love to do, and I appreciate that. This is fun for me.”
Family is important to Todd, who enjoys spending time with his wife Janelle and their two children: daughter Evangeline, 5 and son Sullivan, 4.
“We’re expecting another in January. That’ll be right in the middle of the pre-season for baseball, so that’ll be fun,” Todd laughs. “There won’t be a lot of sleep in our house then.”
January looks to be a very busy time for the Evans’ family. Todd and his wife will also be looking forward to celebrating their seventh wedding anniversary during that time.
During the summer off-season, between football and baseball seasons, Todd likes to play slow-pitch softball and golf.
“I have my wife to thank for that. She makes sure that I’m able to partake in those activities. She makes sure that I do things to relax.”
Todd says that his family has a long history in Valparaiso, which has served as hometown to generations of the Evans family.
“It’s pretty cool in the spring, when we come to a game, and my parents are there, my brother is there with his kids, and we’re there with ours… it turns into a family event. It’s just a really good time.”
Todd admits to his family being huge Walt Disney World fans and likes to take the kids to Orlando but says that, with all his obligations and the upcoming addition to their family, travelling is tough. So, they like to take advantage of the short drive to Chicago for quick, family entertainment.
“We’ll take the family up to Chicago sometimes. We go to Water Tower Place and Woodfield mall to go shopping. We love the museums! We’re members at the Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum. The kids really enjoy going there.”
One thing that people might not know about Todd, and might just be surprised to learn, is that he’s an avid crossword puzzle fan.
“I love doing crossword puzzles, and I read the newspaper every day. I like to stay informed with what’s going on in the world. I used to teach world history, so I like to keep up with things.”
He may keep his eye on world events, but his heart remains firmly rooted in the town where he has built a life. He uses that life to shape the future.
“As a community, Valpo has a lot of pride,” said Todd. “We want the best for ourselves, for our kids. Whether its sports or music, we try to make sure that we give our kids the very best opportunities, and I can’t think of anything better than that. These kids will be the future of Valpo.”
“They will be the future of our world.”