Fairbank family travels to Atlanta to support Wichita State - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Fairbank family travels to Atlanta to support the Wichita State Shockers


There's no doubt which team the Jans family of Fairbank is cheering for as the college basketball season winds down.

Chris Jans is a coach with the Wichita State Shockers out of Kansas. Jans graduated from Wapsie Valley High School and then studied marketing and finance at Loras College in Dubuque.

"He went on to work at Sherwin Williams in Mason City selling paint and wallpaper, and one day he called and said Mom I gotta get into coaching. That's what I really want to do. So that was the start," said Mary Jans.

That was around 1991. Since then, Chris has held several college coaching jobs around the country. This is his sixth year at Wichita State. Needless to say, the Jans family is pretty excited about the Missouri Valley Conference team making it this far in the NCAA tournament.

"You always watch The Final Four on TV and never think you're going to be part of it. We hope for the win. Louisville is good, but we're pretty good, too," said Mary Jans.

About 15 members of the family left Friday morning for Atlanta.

"It was just a once in a lifetime opportunity because it might not ever happen again. That's why we decided to hit the road," said Kevin Coffin.

This is the first NCAA tournament game for many of those going, and the first final four game for everyone.

"We had no intention of going to this one either and then Monday morning Chris called and said Mom I'm gonna get you tickets," said Mary Jans.

Mary Jans' brother, Kevin Coffin, spent a lot of time playing basketball with his nephew growing up. He said he isn't surprised Chris is a successful coach, but he does admit he didn't expect the team to make it this far in the tournament.

"But I tell you, I believe in them now. I believe they can pull the upset off," said Coffin.

The Shockers take on Louisville at 5:05 p.m. Saturday.

If the Shockers win, the family plans to stay for the championship game on Monday night.

Another assistant coach for the Shockers, Greg Heiar, is a Dubuque native.

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