36th All-Area Girls' Basketball Coach of Year: STM's Chris Mennig

Guided St. Thomas More to a runner-up finish in the Class 2A state tournament. The 32 wins — including 16 in a row — were two of 55 school records (for a season or game) the team set or tied. Among the others: points per game (67.0), field goal accuracy (47.2) and turnovers forced (26.5 per game).

From Chris Mennig: “I know it has been talked about before, but for this group to set a goal of ‘we are getting to Redbird Arena’ back in April when I returned (from a one-year sabbatical), and to achieve such a lofty goal that had never been reached in the program’s history, I think speaks volumes about the confidence and character of these young ladies. My job this year was to put them in areas of strength and make sure they had all the tools necessary to reach that goal. Our WIN THE DAY mantra that we tried to follow: embracing a competitive and respectful mind-set to work on getting better every day no matter how small the improvement, or who the opponent was, while smiling and recognizing that it is just a game. Their comprehension of the system of play we felt was witnessed on most nights, and I’m probably more proud that each and every one of them believed in team success first and individual growth second during our journey.”

A few of my favorites: Anything Italian, with extra marinara ... “Hoosiers” ... Denzel Washington ... Dave Matthews Band ... Ruth’s Chris Steak House ... a golf cart ... “Outliers” ... Nike ES ... working at a movie theater

Three things on my bucket list: Raise a family, travel to Europe and retire in Arizona

About Coach Mennig: “Coach Mennig is the type of coach that pushes his players and makes them work hard. But he also finds a balance between working hard and having fun. We all respect him as our coach, but he still finds times to laugh and build relationships with each one of us. He emphasizes the phrase, ‘Flip the switch.’ This means there’s times to act silly and goof around, but there are also times, as athletes, to flip the switch when called upon to perform. I feel so lucky to have had a coach so motivating and knowledgeable about the game of basketball.” — STM senior Erica Wallen

More about Coach Mennig: “Coach Mennig is a very special coach, mainly for his abilities to transform a timid freshman into a confident young woman in just four short years of coaching them. He is able to accomplish this because he focuses in on the whole person and stresses the importance of hard work not only on the court but also in the classroom. One of his best qualities is that he wants each of his players to be successful on the court and also be successful in the years following high school wherever their future may take them.” — STM sophomore Lexi Wallen

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