URBANDALE, Iowa — After decades of training generations of athletes, a gymnasium in Urbandale is closing its doors for good.
Owner and coach Jeff Jorgensen said it has been an emotional time for him after long weighing the decision to retire. Plans to have someone else continue to run Corner House Gymnastics fell through, and when someone offered to buy the building for a great price, it was an offer he couldn’t turn down.
“At 62, I was only going to do this a few years anyway,” Jorgensen said. “There’s never a good time to do this, but I can’t do it forever.”
His career started when he took a coaching job at Corner House as a sophomore in high school for fun. What Jorgensen didn’t realize is it would become his lifelong career and passion. He bought the gymnasium at age 25 and never looked back.
“It’s the passion of not just the sport but the kids,” Jorgensen said. “There’s nothing more thrilling than seeing a kid’s face light up when they learn a new skill and that’s what it’s all about.”
When watching a tumbling session at Jorgensen’s gymnasium — it’s clear to see that the love “Coach Jeff” has for his gymnasts is reciprocated.
“Every kid that walks door is the most important person to someone, and you better treat them that way,” he said. “And when you do that, and you see the confidence build in a young person.”
Since announcing his retirement three years ago, Jorgensen said the messages have been overflowing his inbox. WHO 13 News even got the story idea thanks to a handwritten note from one of his old students.
“Always remember the impact you’re having on people even if you don’t realize. That’s why you need to be good to everyone. Be a good human,” he said.
Once he locks that door for the last time on August 21, Jorgensen plans to spend the next chapter of his life traveling and relaxing with loved ones.