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A photo of Notre Dame Academy in Green Bay, Wisconsin

Janet Koester

St. Joseph Academy 1976
2021 Athletic Division

Janet Koester grew up on Green Bay’s east side where she and her family were members of St. Philip School and Parish.  She always loved and exceled at sports, especially basketball. Koester often played basketball in her neighborhood and at the YMCA. Her basketball skills were quickly evident and even prompted some parents to petition St. Philip, although unsuccessfully, to allow her to play on the boys team, where she should would have been an asset. 

Koester attended St. Joseph Academy and played basketball for Sajoacs in a city recreation league freshman year. In 1972, Title IX Federal legislation opened up the world of girls' and women’s sports. Young girls and women finally had the opportunity to compete at the same level as their male counterparts, based on hard work, athleticism and determination. These traits were all evident for Koester as she joined SJA’s first official WISAA basketball team, and quickly became the team’s star, captain and leader, both on and off the court.

A photo of Janet Koester

In 1976, the Sajoacs, led by coach Sandy Clark, captured the attention of the media and Green Bay in their first tournament bid. The tournament started against Marinette Central and was broadcast in a delayed televised game on Channel 11 where Koester scored 17 points in a victory.  While the Sajoacs fell one game short of going to state, Koester led her team averaging 27 points throughout the tournament.

Koester was named to the Green Bay Press-Gazette’s 1976 all-metro basketball team, which included girls for the first time, where she was high scorer with 21.7 average. She was also named to the WISAA regional all-senior team. Koester's athletic abilities on the court and her leadership skills helped coach Clark form and maintain a close-knit team that built a strong foundation for future SJA teams.

Koester graduated in 1976 from St. Joseph Academy, then attended UW-Eau Claire and played basketball as well and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1981. After college, Koester worked at Fort Howard and then Georgia Pacific in Neenah in the Research and Development Center. Koester received a Master’s degree from Marian University in organizational leadership in 2008.

Koester has been active in a number of service projects, including Special Olympics, Prairie Restoration Wisconsin, Ledgeview Nature Center, UW-Fond du Lac Gottfried Prairie, highway clean-up and the Shining Stars Dance Team. Koester enjoys golf, traveling, working out, hiking and riding her bicycle, completing the 90-mile Race the Lake (Lake Winnebago) ride several times. Koester is retired and enjoying life in the Northern Unit of the Kettle Moraine with her spouse, Kathleen Candee.

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