Softball Coach of the Year: SJ-O's Randy Wolken
COACH OF THE YEAR:
SJ-O's Randy Wolken
Why: State's all-time winningest softball coach (859 and counting entering Year 34) directed top-ranked St. Joseph-Ogden to an area record for wins in a season (41) and the longest area winning streak to start a season (40 games).
Season highlight: Guided the Spartans to their fourth state trophy in the past 24 years, a third-place finish in the Class 2A state tournament. After a loss to eventual champion Nashville in the semifinals, regrouped to end the season with a win in a nine-inning triumph against Sherrard.
A few of my favorite things: St. Louis Cardinals ... University of Illinois ... softball ... Kohl's ... Panera Bread ... Corvette ... "Everybody Loves Raymond" ... "Hoosiers" ... winning state in 2006 ... First job was working on a farm bucking bales ... Bucket list includes seeing more major league parks, watching the College World Series and traveling to the Seattle area ... "I'll coach at least one more year and maybe a number of them."
About Coach Wolken: "Coach Wolken has been helping me since I was in sixth grade and is one of the main reasons I'm the player I am today. He is the one who taught me how to slap and always had a lot of confidence in me even when I was just starting out. One great thing about him as a coach is that he is always willing to stay after practice and help people if they need it. With all of his years of coaching, he is definitely very knowledgeable and always strives to become better as a coach; whether that means going to clinics, college practices and camps, or even just listening to us players' opinions. He is so passionate about the game and that in itself is enough to motivate us players to always do our best and give everything we have, not only for our team but also for him. I feel very blessed to have had the privilege of having a coach like Coach Wolken and I will never forget all he did for me and all the other players, too." — St. Joseph-Ogden senior outfielder Stephanie Canfield