Van Troxel was born in Caldwell, Idaho on March 16, 1954 to Ed and Donna Troxel. He graduated from Moscow High School in 1972 where he was a multi-sport athlete, in football, basketball, and track.
He was s starter on the 1972 Moscow State Champion Basketball Team and then went on to play quarterback at the University of Montana from 1972-1975. Troxel graduated from Montana in the spring of 1977 and began his teaching and coaching career in the fall of 1977 at Nampa High School in Nampa, Idaho. In the fall of 1978 he became the head football coach of Hamilton High School in Hamilton, Montana. In the fall of 1980 he moved on to be as assistant coach and P.E. teacher at Missoula Montana’s newest high school, Big Sky. In 1980 he accepted the head football job at Hellgate High School, in Missoula, Montana, where he would coach and teach for the next 13 years. The fall of 1991 was the Knights of Hellgate’s banner year, going 11-2 and reaching the Montana State Championship game. In the spring of 1994 Troxel became the first head football coach in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho of the new Lake City High School. Troxel took his first Lake City team to the state play-offs in 1997, and since then, Lake City has qualified 17 of the last 18 years for the state play-offs, winning their first State championship in 2002 and another in their 2006 undefeated season. Lake City finished second in the state in 1999 and 2001 and has made six trips to the semi-finals reaching a third place finish six times.
During his career Troxel has been an assistant track coach for all 37 years, an assistant basketball coach for 10 years in Montana, and an assistant wrestling coach for 7 years at Hellgate and Lake City. In the summer of 1978 he started his first summer weight program and has been very involved in weights and athletic development since. The summer of 1979 Troxel started on of the first high school team football camps in the northwest at Hamilton, Montana, and is one of the creators of the current Border League Football Camp, which involves teams from north Idaho and eastern Washington.
Troxel is a member of the 1972 Moscow Basketball Team “Legends of the Game” who were honored at the North Idaho Sports Banquet. His father, Ed Troxel, is a member of the Idaho Athletic Hall of Fame and the Washington High School Coaches Hall of Fame. Troxel has been married to his wife, Karen, for 40 years. She is a Principal in the Coeur d’Alene School District, and they have three children, and three grandchildren; Chad and his wife Jodie, Ashley and her husband Daniel Jones, and their children Maggie and Tucker, and Matt and his wife Katie and their daughter Emerson.