Paul Jokela ’76 Inducted 2001

Baseball and Tennis

Paul   Jokela

A talented all-around athlete at New York Mills High School, Paul Jokela was drawn to Gustavus by its academic reputation and its successful tennis program. In his freshman season, Jokela played singles on the junior varsity and compiled a perfect record against MIAC varsity opponents. However, in his sophomore season, Jokela traded his tennis racquet for a baseball bat in spite of the fact that he had not played baseball in high school. Jokela stepped right into the starting lineup as a right fielder and proceeded to lead the team in hitting with an average of .273, earning All-Conference honors. His junior season was even better as he hit .348 while again earning All-Conference honors and helping the Gusties to a second place MIAC finish with a record of 11-5. Jokela saved his best for last as he led the MIAC in hitting in his senior season with a .432 average and earning All-Conference honors for the third straight year. He ranks seventh on the Gustie all-time batting list with a career average of .336.

Graduating with a major in secondary education, Jokela taught and coached at Cosmos and Belgrade high schools after leaving Gustavus. In 1979, he decided to leave education, entering private business as a training associate for HIRED/Creative Options in Minneapolis. An opportunity to serve as director of training at Career Design led Jokela to Omaha, Nebraska, in 1985. He accepted his current position as senior manager of field operations at Scantron Service Group in 1998. Jokela recently received his Executive MBA from the University of Nebraska. He has stayed active in baseball by coaching youth teams and he is currently the commissioner of the Hillside Little League. Paul lives in Omaha with his wife, Roxanna, and son, Tristan (17).