Alaska Midnight Sun Map

Alaska Midnight Sun
Soldotna, AK 99669

Memorial – Jan Mazgajski

June 26, 1947 – May 8, 2013

Jan earned his Master of Physical Education & Sports Psychology from the Academy of Physical Education in his native city of Warsaw, Poland. He rowed as a member of the Poland National Team from 1964-1976 competing in the 1970 World Cup, 1971 European Championships and the 1972 Munich and 1976 Montreal Olympic Games.
Jan coached all levels of athletes from recreational to national team candidates including the Poland Junior National Team, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles Athletic Club and Long Beach Rowing Association.
His latest endeavor was the Alaska Midnight Sun Rowers whom he coached in the summer of 2012 with plans to return for the 2013 season. He had hopes and plans of making Alaska his permanent home. Unfortunately, his plans were cut short when he suffered a heart attack in early April of 2013 from which he never recovered.
AMSRA is feeling the impact of losing his leadership, coaching and friendship and made this memorial 8+ for him:

“Jan Mazgajski was a coach rich in experience and the knowledge of rowing. He knew how to coach technique and was able to greatly improve the “run” of many of our boats. As a part time cox, I personally witnessed the improvement and at times it was poetry in motion.
Jan expected dedicated rowers who were serious about training and willingly gave of his time. His only goal was to provide all the coaching he could while he was in Alaska and he offered extra personal coaching to all members. All one had to do was to set up the time! What an exceptional opportunity for our club and individual rowers.
Jan was additionally concerned with proper nutrition and recovery foods. He provided a nutritious meal after major practices and insisted that everyone stay and partake of the meal together. The time spent “breaking bread” together created a greater sense of team spirit. I will greatly miss his sense of character and his contributions to Alaska Midnight Sun rowers. We will dedicate some power tens to Jan under the midnight sun during our summer training!!”
Sincere Condolences,
Donna Rea


I waited many years for a coach like you to come along. Your blunt honesty was a breath of fresh air that blew away the chafe so we could focus and become better both individually and collectively. You were the first coach we’ve ever had with a long-term vision for us. I was so excited for your return this summer and looked forward to seeing how you would build on what you started last year. Like you, I want more for our club and you were the hope I had toward that end.
I think of you every Thursday morning as I expect my phone to ring and hear, “Nancy, Nancy, Nancy! What have you been doing? You must train!” I still have the message you left telling me to eat fried chicken, Wonder Bread and watermelon for Martin Luther King Day! I loved your sense of humor!
I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to not only be coached by you but to be considered your friend. It’s good to have known a man like you Jan.”
~ Nancy Saylor


7 Seat
“My name is Daedra Doyle and Jan was my coach here in Alaska last summer. My heart is very saddened that he will not be with us again this summer, but I am truly grateful to have known him and was able to be taught by such a great coach. I was at a weak point in my life and Jan believed in me. He pushed me like no one ever has, and showed me that you can do anything you set your mind to. And now…. when I am rowing…..and at my weakest and think I can’t do it…… I can hear Jan encouraging me (yelling) to row..row…row…and push me. We were truly blessed to have had him as our coach in Alaska. He will be missed.”
~ Daedra Doyle “the champ” (nickname Jan gave me)


6 Seat
“I remember his drive and enthusiasm for rowing, and his sometimes indecipherable commands. We might not know if he wanted us to ‘feather’ or go ‘faster’ but we certainly knew he wanted us to do it better. He made us run through spooky neighborhoods and made many of us cry. But somehow, at the end of the row, whether we achieved a personal breakthrough or felt frustrated, Jan always feasted us. He introduced us to an incomparably stinky Limburger cheese one morning and one memorable Alaskan summer evening he created a Caprese salad with fresh mozarella slices, tomato, giant basil leaves and olive oil spread out on a humble broken cooler.
He certainly left a little of his Polish spirit with us in Alaska. I will miss him.”
Row on, friend,


5 & 4 Seats
“We are truly so very sorry for your loss.
In the short three months we had with Jan, he made a very large impression on us. To him, nothing was impossible. We could row harder and faster! We could do it, he would imply! And we did row harder and faster because of Jan.
Jan went to great lengths to accommodate the diverse abilities and personalities of rowers in our club.
He was so appreciative of the smallest things given to him. He was a big man with a very large heart. We will miss him very much.
His coaching inspiration will continue to resonate with those of us who were fortunate enough to have rowed with this great man.”
Jim and Karen Hurd


3 Seat
“This sucks (in regard to hearing the news of his death). I’m glad to have met him. He pulled more out of me than I knew I had.”
~ Laurie “Arizona” Winslow


2 Seat
“I shall miss Jan and especially the dedication that he had for giving us a good training to be better on the water and off. He was gruff and blunt and I only caught every other call, but knew he cared about us and loved Alaska. Think it would be nice to have a boat, plaque or a dedication of some kind for him. He was one of the most dedicated coaches we ever had (definitely the most passionate!). I shall miss him.”
~ Margie McCord


“Jan had insight into the culture of rowing that was amazing to me. He knew our club, our skills and our personalities which he incorporated into a group of better athletic rowers faster than other coaches we employed over the years. He was fearless and never succumbed to a hierarchy that favored one rower over another. He always held to his principals of achieving a better boat, better skills, and a smoother run. He came into my rowing career at a time that I could “get” what he was trying to teach me and for that I will carry what I learned from Jan on many future rows. He is one of a kind and I will miss him.”
~ Judy Demers