For three decades, Southview swimming coach Kris Moellenberg has taken pride in teaching life lessons to his athletes, and on Monday night he was rewarded for the impact he has made.
Students, teachers, and coaches were honored at the BCSN awards banquet at The Pinnacle in Maumee. BCSN, a local television network that was launched in 2004, covers high school, college, and pro sports.
At the network's seventh annual banquet, Moellenberg earned the coach of the year award. Moellenberg, who is in his sixth season at the helm of the Cougars' boys and girls programs, has coached the sport for 32 years.
“This is great. It's been 32 years of hard work,” Moellenberg said. “It's about teaching kids. Winning is nice but losing is part of it too. You learn from it every day.”
Moellenberg's teams won back-to-back Northern Lakes League titles in 2009 and 2010. The Cougars finished second last season and this season.
Moellenberg swam at Southview and then at the University of Toledo. He also is head coach of the Sylvania Tsunami Swim Club and was nominated for coach of the year by U.S.A Swimming. He has coached at various levels including a seven-year tenure at Dunedin High School in Palm Harbor, Fla.
Tom Cole, who served as the master of ceremonies, said the room was filled with great teachers and coaches, who also are mentors.
“The amount of kids they have influenced is incredible,” Cole said. “It's like dropping a rock in a pond and that ripple effect has been nothing but positive things in our community.”
St. John's Jesuit history and Christian science teacher Philip Skeldon earned the Teacher of the Year award. He received a $1,000 check from Buckeye CableSystem. A $10,000 endowed scholarship also was given to the high school. Buckeye CableSystem is owned by Block Communications Inc., parent company of The Blade.
“I'm truly humbled,” Skeldon said. “My job at St. John's is to educate the entire person. I take it seriously every day.”
Sydney Scribner, a senior at Central Catholic, won the student of the year honor. Scribner, who is a cheerleader and member of student council, also volunteers for the Tent City program.
“To all of the other recipients, you are all going to go so far,” Scribner said. “I know my future will be bright as well.”
The Toledo Community Foundation administers the scholarship program. Each student of the month received a scholarship of $1,500. The student of the year received a $16,000 scholarship. The foundation has awarded $185,700 in seven years.
Moellenberg was among three honorees that earned “coach of the season” awards. Whitmer football coach Jerry Bell and Rossford softball coach Tom Kralovic also were honored. Coaches are nominated and the overall winner was determined on an online poll.
Veronica Pinciotti, BCSN's director and general manager of local stations, said Moellenberg was recognized for his “enthusiasm and dedication.”
“Any coach gets paid a pittance. They are teachers first,” Pinciotti said. “It takes a special man or woman to be a coach. It's not just about learning a sport. They learn life-long habits.”
The other nominees for the BCSN scholarship program were: Brandy Pelfrey (Clay), Sean Wheelock (St. John's), Dylan Hausenfleck (Southview), Corey Fink (Rogers), Anastasia Martinez (Waite), Beth Ann Less (St. Ursula), and Matthew Hoenig (Anthony Wayne). Each were students of the month.
The Toledo Community Foundation selects the winners of both the student and teacher awards.
The other nominees for teacher of the year were: David Bourland (Bowsher), Tony Spallino (Clay), Kevin English (Perrysburg), Hilary Steinmiller (Springfield), Jene Drage (Maumee), Dawn Thompson (Clay), and Tom Chambisios (Maumee Valley).
“It's an opportunity for us to recognize kids from all of the schools in northwest Ohio as well as the coaches, teachers, and parents that helped get them in this position,” Pinciotti said.
Contact Mark Monroe at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6354 or on Twitter @Monroe Blade.