Softball Coach of the Year: Randy Wolken

Softball Coach of the Year: Randy Wolken

Coach of the Year: SJ-O's Randy Wolken

Why he's Coach of the Year: The state's all-time winningest coach kept on winning during his 38th season. SJ-O finished 35-5 and second in state in Class 2A, securing the Spartans their sixth state trophy in program history. Of the 35 victories SJ-O compiled this season, 13 were by double digits.

Wolken's season highlights: I knew in the middle of the season when we beat Bloomington and Normal West on a Friday night at the Mattoon tournament that we had a team that would compete for the state title. The road was extremely tough especially in the sectional, where we got by Bloomington Central Catholic 3-2 and defeated a 29-1 Eureka team by a 1-0 score. In the super-sectional, we beat a Tri-City team that was 34-1 and peaked in the first game in state by soundly beating Pinckneyville 13-0 in five innings during the state semifinals.

Favorite food: I came from a family of eight. My mom always had great large meals, so I was spoiled, but my wife's taco salad is my favorite.

First car: 1968 cherry red Chevrolet Impala. I loved that car.Favorite non-sports hobby: I love to garden, but the thing my wife, Lana, and I really enjoy doing in the offseason is traveling to interesting historic places in the United States.

Favorite restaurant: When Lana and I have been in Texas or Las Vegas, we make it a point to go to Sweet Tomatoes.

Dream vacation destination: At one time I wanted to visit Hawaii and Europe. Fortunately, I have had the opportunity to do both, so my next dream vacation is an Alaskan cruise.

Favorite pro sports team: St. Louis Cardinals

Favorite live sporting event I attended: My son, Brad, and I got tickets to Game 6 of the 2011 World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers. It was the game where the Cardinals were down twice to the Rangers by two runs with two outs and one strike away from their season ending, but the Cardinals pulled it out in extra innings when David Freese hit a home run. We also went to Game 7, which, of course, the Cardinals won. Later, Freese signed a World Series jersey for both my son and I.

Favorite musician: It's a toss-up between Blake Shelton, Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney.

Three things on my bucket list: Go to spring training in Jupiter, Fla., to watch the Cardinals, attend the Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City and travel to national parks

What I enjoy most about coaching: "I love the challenge of working with young players and seeing them develop and improve from the start of the season to the end, from their freshman year to their senior year. I have been very blessed to have dedicated athletes and loyal assistant coaches that strive to improve each year. With the great community support we have here at SJ-O, I feel we have developed a very strong softball tradition."

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