2018 N-G softball Coach of the Year: St. Joseph-Ogden's Randy Wolken

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2018 N-G softball Coach of the Year: St. Joseph-Ogden's Randy Wolken

Coach of the Year: St. Joseph-Ogden's Randy Wolken

Why he's Coach of the Year: Before stepping down from his post earlier this month after 39 seasons, Wolken led the Spartans to their 10th consecutive Class 2A regional championship and fourth straight sectional title. He added 32 victories to his career total, which finished with a state-record 1,044 wins — all with SJ-O.

Season highlights: "Winning regional and sectional titles again. This put us in the super-sectional four years in a row, and I think that's a great accomplishment. That to me was the highlight of the year. And another thing, we beat Charleston — they were No. 1 in the state in 3A, and we beat them on a Monday night the week of regionals. That let me know we could do some damage in the postseason."

A few of my favorites: A sporting event I need tickets to see is a St. Louis Cardinals game. Nice, sweet seats at the Cardinal games: That's what I want. I also want to go to their Jupiter (Fla.) spring training. That and Oklahoma City with my wife, Lana, and I going to go to the College World Series of softball. ... If I wasn't a coach, I would be a contractor or something like that. I like to do that in the summer. I work for my brother in contracting work, which I enjoy — working with my hands. ... My go-to motivational tactic is giving ownership to my players. I tell them, 'What do you want to do here? What time do you think we should have a curfew?' They are harder on themselves than I would be a lot of times. I think that's the part that helps motivate them, giving them ownership. ... My favorite subject to study in school was math. Of course, I was a math teacher, so it's math. ... My favorite athlete is Ozzie Smith. I liked a lot of things. Defensively, he was so good at so many things. He handled himself well in his composure and things with interviews. ... A movie I have to see is there's nothing I have to see. My wife and I, when we want to see a movie, we go to a movie. ... My favorite TV show is "This Is Us." I've really gotten hooked on that. Lana and I both are. It's really good. I can't wait for the next week a lot of times. ... If I could have dinner with any three people from any time period, they would be my mom and dad, Dick and Ann Wolken, and Lana's dad, Harold Hamilton. They're all gone, and they always had good advice for me.

What I enjoy most about coaching: "Seeing the improvement in the players. From the start of the season to the end of the year, it's like, 'Oh, man, she's gotten so much better on her hitting. Her throwing form is better. They understand the game.' I love seeing the improvement from the start of the season to the end, or from freshman year to senior year. How much each girl improves, and how much they love the game as they move on."

Honor Roll: News-Gazette Coaches of the Year

YEAR COACH SCHOOL

2018: Randy Wolken St. Joseph-Ogden

2017: Randy Wolken St. Joseph-Ogden

2016: Ken Ingold Fisher

2015: Randy Wolken St. Joseph-Ogden

2014: Courtney Hoffman Monticello

2013: Mark Jones Mahomet-Seymour

2012: Randy Wolken St. Joseph-Ogden

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