Jake Mouritzen.

Jake Mouritzen.

Jake Mouritzen: Working to make Grizzlies great

Chilliwack's Jake Mouritzen, 35, as featured in The Chilliwack Progress Forty Under 40.

If you were to cut Jake Mouritzen, there’s a very good chance that he would bleed blue and white.

That’s how much passion he has for the G.W. Graham Grizzlies, and that’s why he has the school on the cusp of athletic greatness.

With Mouritzen coaching the boys and his wife, Sarah, coaching the girls, GWG’s basketball teams have become provincial contenders.

In the face of budget cutbacks, Mouritzen initiated an athletics fundraising committee to make sure every team in the school has the money it needs.

The latest Mouritzen mission might be the biggest of all as GWG launches a high school football program in the fall (the first in Chilliwack since the 1970s).

Schools across the province are now watching nervously as the Grizzlies start to realize their massive potential.

“I get up every morning at a quarter to five and I’m at work at 5:30 a.m. and it’s easy to come here,” Mouritzen said. “I love the staff. I love the kids. I love the direction that we’re going and the challenges that we face. And even on those days when there are challenges and struggles, I’m happy that I’m a part of solving them.”

From day one in 2006, Mouritzen’s goal has been bigger than just placing a bunch of provincial banners in the school gymnasium.

He wants GWG to produce elite student-athletes. Emphasis on student.

“Athletics is a tool that motivates them to be at school and be successful in the classroom,” Mouritzen elaborated. “I was an all-Canadian student-athlete at the University of Victoria, and those are among the best experiences of my life.”

And if that results in a whole bunch of pretty provincial banners in the school gymnasium?

“I think setting high goals is an important part of teaching students to strive to be the best that they can be,” the Sardis secondary school alum noted. “But it’s not win at all costs. It is winning properly, and when we’re not successful, it’s teaching them how to lose gracefully.”

When he’s 60 years old, Mouritzen still sees himself logging 80 hours a week to make GWG the best.

“I want to build a culture where these kids are proud to be GWG students,” he said. “I believe GWG should and will be forever known as one of the top schools in the province athletic wise. You build it and they will come.”