Hundreds of area sports fans flocked to Clintonville Lanes and Banquet Hall on Saturday, May 11, for the 21st Annual Doug Jirschele Memorial Sports Award Banquet.
Paul Kasprzak served as master of ceremonies, filling in for an injured Bill Jartz.
The evening featured a silent auction, live auction, dinner catered by Mathew’s Supper Club, and the presentation of several awards.
Matt Lorge, Sports Award
Lorge is the son of David and Lily Lorge of Clintonville. He graduated from Clintonville High School in 1989, and earned a Bachelor of Science in sports management with a coaching minor from Marian University in 1993. He is married to Torri (Yaeger) Lorge, and they have three children – Olivia (13), Corbin (11), and step-daughter Mariah (8).
In high school, Lorge was a three-sport athlete, playing football, basketball and baseball. In 1986-87 and 1987-88 they were runner-ups in basketball, and in 1988-89 they were state basketball champions. In baseball, Lorge’s teams made it to sectionals, and he played on the 1988 Legion State Championship team. He was later chosen to play at Milwaukee County Stadium as an all-star. After high school, he played baseball for the Clintonville A’s. In 1991, the A’s won the Grand Championship with Lorge on the mound.
During his college career, Lorge was part of the team that was Lake Michigan Conference Champions all four years, from 1989-1993. Lorge was All-Conference from 91-93. He won the captain’s award in 1993. He had an overall record of 19-6 with the Marian Sabres. He was named NAIA National Baseball Pitcher of the Week during one incredible stretch where he was 3-0, pitching a no-hitter, throwing 19 innings while allowing no earned runs, four hits, four walks, and 20 strikeouts. Lorge was the first to ever earn this honor for Marian university.
In 2012, Lorge’s 1993 baseball team at Marian University was inducted into the first ever Hall of Fame. That year, the Sabres were 38-13 with an 18-game winning streak-the longest in school history. The team went on to make their first and only NAIA College World Series appearance.
“I’ve always valued team awards more than individual awards,” said Lorge. “I’ve always loved being part of a team. I’ve had an incredible journey, and I’d suggest that everyone find a passion in sports or the outdoors.
“Coming from a family of 10, I was the oldest,” commented Lorge. “I want to thank my parents for following me around the state and the country. I want to thank my wife and kids for keeping me young. I also want to recognize Don Jirschele and Lee Halverson, who were very inspirational during my sports career. I also thank God for my health.”
Keri Klotzbuecher, Sports Award
Klotzbuecher is the daughter of Scot and Sue Klotzbuecher. She graduated from Clintonville High School in 2008, attended UW-Whitewater from 2008-10, and then transferred to UW-Green Bay before graduating in 2012 with a degree in exercise science.
In high school, she participated in volleyball, basketball and track. She was a four-year letter winner in volleyball, earned 2nd Team All-Conference honors and Co-MVP in 2005, earned 1st Team All Conference and MVP in 2006 and 2007, and won All-State Honorable Mention in 2005, 2006, and 2007.
In basketball, Klotzbuecher was a four-year letter winner, co-MVP in 2006-07, MVP in 2007-08, and 1st Team All-Conference in 2006-07 and 2007-08.
In track, she was a three-year letter winner. She is a past record holder of the 3,200 meter relay and 1,600 meter relay in 2005, and earned 2nd Team All-Conference honors in the 3,200 meter relay in 2007.
After high school, she attended UW-Whitewater, where she played volleyball. She was a two-year letter winner, AVCA All Regional Honorable Mention in 2008, First Team All WIAC in 2008 and 2009, and was selected to be on the Teri Clemens Invitational All-Tournament Team.
At UW-Green Bay, she coached for the Green Bay Power Club team. She played on the club team in 2011-12, and was Wisconsin Valley Conference MVP.
She remains active in volleyball leagues, and coached freshman volleyball at West De Pere after graduating from college. She is pursuing graduate school for physical therapy.
“I want to thank my parents, grandparents, family members and coaches,” said Klotzbuecher. “Playing at Whitewater was amazing. I felt like the worst player on the team at first, but fortunately things turned around. I have great memories of playing at the college level, and it was so touching to see so many Clintonville fans in Oshkosh to watch me play during my freshman year of college. The support that the community gives is to be cherished.”
Dick Koeppen, son of Joe and Marie Koeppen, has been a fixture in Clintonville sports, business and politics for several years. He graduated from Clintonville High School in 1959. He excelled in baseball, hitting .385 as a sophomore. He went on to begin a long career with the Clintonville A’s, lasting from 1959-2000. He was a regular in the lineup for 28 years, and was a starter at age 46 when the team won the 1986 Grand Championship. At age 40, Koeppen was primarily a designated hitter, batting .404 and .421 at age 41.
Koeppen was part of 13 BABA Grand Championship teams; eight of those teams won the title. He holds A’s all-time records in most runs scored, all time hits, all time triples, second in all time doubles, most lifetime walks, fourth in all time home runs, and fourth in stolen bases. He won a league batting title in 1975 and had a 29-game hitting streak over parts of three seasons. His last home run was at age 49, when he pinch hit against Caroline. His son Bob had homered in the same game, and is possibly a league first for a father and son to homer in the same game.
Today, Dick and his wife Nancy live in Clintonville. He served on the city council for 10 years, was mayor for four years, and has been chair of the Waupaca County Board since 2004. He was named president of the Wisconsin Counties Association in 2012; he is currently the president of the Shawano Medical Center, and is a past two-term president of the East Central Regional Planning Commission. Since 1995, Dick and Nancy have been active with the Retired Greyhounds Athletes Association, rescuing greyhounds that have retired from racing.
“This event is not about us who win the awards,” said Koeppen. “It’s about you, the people who support youth sports. I had a great 40 years with the A’s, with many highs and lows. I learned that you’re only as good as you play tomorrow. I was taught to play hard, hustle, and enjoy the wins. I appreciate all the support I received from my late wife Kay, and my wife Nancy. Don Jirschele has been a good friend throughout the years. I want to thank the entire Jirschele family for making me a better person. Doug always encouraged me, and Don and Mary were good examples of spiritual people who were always positive. Don made me the player I was.”
Chris Jacke, Nice Guy Award
Former Packer kicker Chris Jacke helped the team to a 13-3 record and a Super Bowl title in 1996. He is ranked third on the Packers all time scoring list with 820 points. He led the team in scoring in seven of his eight seasons in Green Bay, including three campaigns of 100+ points. He also holds the team record for most field goals in a game – five – and has played in 133 career games. He was a first-team All-Pro in 1993 and is a 2013 inductee into the Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame.
“There are so many people I could thank,” said Jacke. “My parents, family members, holders, linemen, and teammates come to mind. I also want to thank all of you for investing in youth sports. What you’re doing tonight really helps us. Sports teach us so much. I’m thankful for all of the fans. I’ve lived in Green Bay for 24 years, and I will stay here-this is home.”
Craig DeVaud, Forgotten Person Award
DeVaud has been a huge supporter of athletics in Clintonville through his efforts to secure sports memorabilia for events like the Jirschele Banquet.
“Clintonville was a great place to grow up,” he said. “There are so many sports boosters like the Jirscheles and the Wernbergs. Giving sports memorabilia for auctions is a way I can give back to this great community.”
Mark O’Connell, Keynote Speaker
O’Connell is the executive director of the Wisconsin Counties Association. He has a Bachelors Degree from UW-LaCrosse and a Masters Degree from UW-Madison. He coached youth baseball and basketball in the 1990s. In his spare time, he is the regular guest host of a live radio show in Milwaukee.
O’Connell spoke regarding the importance of communicating across several generations.
“We have a great communication challenge, because we package information the way we’re comfortable with it,” said O’Connell. “But we don’t consider what the receiver wants.”
O’Connell described characteristics of people in several different generations, and explained how to connect with people across generational divides.
“If you want your package to be opened, you have to consider what the receiver wants,” he said. “If you want to influence the masses, you need to elicit one of our emotions: anger, fear, greed or hope. If you can do that, you will succeed.
“I’ve worked for and with Dick Koeppen for several years,” added O’Connell. “Our families have had lots of fun together. I’ve met thousands of people, but Dick Koeppen is one of the finest.”
The 22nd Annual Doug Jirschele Memorial Sports Award Banquet has been scheduled for Saturday, May 10, 2014.