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Three Loves of His Life

By on January 1, 2020

The Saga of Football, Trucking & Angie

To say that the saga of Jeff Minock’s life would provide an abundance of interesting subject matter for a long, involved novel would be an understatement. Suffice to say that his life has revolved around his love for football, trucking and his wife, Angie.

Growing up around his father’s hay and straw business close to Howell Michigan, major influences in young Jeff’s life were sports and trucking. He excelled at baseball and football through grade school and high school and started driving a semi at 16. He drove a truck for the first time when he was 9 and pitched a no-hitter at age 10.

A Passion for Football

It was football, however, that fueled Jeff’s dreams. He had a burning desire to be a football coach, specifically a college coach. After high school, driving trucks for his dad by day enabled him to be available for coaching late afternoons, nights and weekends. Jeff started coaching junior football. Losing only seven games in six years, he proved to himself that he had the basic knowledge and skills to succeed. 

Looking to climb the next rung on the coaching ladder, he wasn’t able to parlay that initial success into a high school assistant’s job. So, he started a semi-pro team. He recruited the players and raised the $20,000 annually needed to field a team. Losing one game too many during the first year kept the team out of the playoffs. The team qualified for the playoffs the next four years. Raising money and fielding a team for five years required lots of time and energy, resulting in very little return.

Following his marriage to Angie during this time, it became apparent that something had to give. From the family business perspective, his dad agreed. Although Angie is also a huge football fan, Jeff’s decision to fold the semi-pro team wasn’t difficult. He and Angie moved from a tiny studio apartment to their first home. They also bought a bar and nightclub. Jeff did become the offensive coordinator at Howell High School, his alma mater. From there, he moved to another assistant’s job at nearby Brighton High School.

With some high school experience in successful programs, he joined the coaching staff at Concordia University in Ann Arbor. The goal was achieved. By this time, Jeff was driving over the road to California for eight months and taking a leave from the family business to coach football during the remaining four months. Angie was working full time in commercial lending for a bank and overseeing the bar business. One day, Angie asked Jeff a simple question, “Do you know what I do every day?” She wasn’t complaining as much as she was saying her days and evenings minus Jeff were boringly repetitious.

Changing Gears

Jeff and Angie talked about selling their home and business and moving lock, stock and barrel to Florida; maybe opening a small bar. In the process of discussing options, Jeff posed a question of his own, “Would Angie ever consider learning to drive a truck and going on the road with him?” She replied, “Yeah, I would.”

Her soon-to-follow, yes decision opened new doors. Angie found the five-week truck driving school to be more difficult than she thought. She was somewhat uncomfortable about her background, experience and skill set, differing markedly from her classmates. There were no other students like her in the class of 20. The instructors encouraged her and made it possible for Angie to schedule some additional seat time. Knowing she had plenty to learn about maneuvering a big rig, Angie was in a truck at every opportunity. When the other students broke for lunch or if there was an opportunity after hours, she was behind the wheel.

She graduated and earned her CDL on the first try. That accomplishment was awesome; however, Angie was very aware that the real challenges of learning how to drive a truck were still ahead. With patient coaching from Jeff, Angie’s awareness of her surroundings and the responsibilities of driving a truck in traffic improved day by day, week by week, month by month. Six months in, Angie was feeling a whole lot more comfortable about their new life—team driving over the road. They haul jet engines and a variety of aviation parts—many times on an expedited basis—for manufacturers, airlines and air freight companies.

A New Outlook

Beyond spending a lot more time together, Jeff and Angie have found opportunities to take in some of our nation’s natural wonders and inherent beauty as they traverse the country in their 2020 Peterbilt 389. Angie is even okay driving the 18-speed manual that Jeff prefers. They limit themselves to running 10 hours each or less per day. They find that’s a better approach than exceeding 70 hours in a week and taking 34-hour shutdowns. Jeff drives during the day. Angie logs her hours running nights. She’s a big fan of listening to audiobooks. Occasionally, their step-deck pulls some oversize loads that require special permitting and routing.

They operate as JP Minock Trucking and like being owner-operators, having some choice regarding when, where and how long they stay out. Their new Florida home is on a boat anchored in a harbor near Key Largo. Jeff remains committed to encouraging participation in youth sports in and around their Michigan hometown. During 2018, he became one of the founding board members of The Coach Minock Varsity Club, a nonprofit foundation whose mission is providing underprivileged youth scholarships to play junior sports, host free sports camps and encourage other initiatives that increase kids’ participation in sports. You can learn more at VarsityClubFoundation.org

About Gidata D. Apasagorore

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