Paul Halverson, Katie Ripley, Kean Kasper, Steve Hanson, Davante Adams, and Michael Leckrone were each honored at the 23rd annual Doug Jirschele Memorial Sports Award Banquet Saturday, May 9.
Halverson, Ripley, and Kasper received Doug Jirschele Sports Awards. These awards are given to individuals with Clintonville area ties who have achieved success in the world of sports.
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams received the Doug Jirschele “Nice Guy” Award, which is presented to a person who has achieved success in the world of sports but may not have ties to the Clintonville area.
Hanson received the “Forgotten Person” Award, given to an individual who has made contributions to sports in the Clintonville area but has not always received the proper recognition.
Leckrone, the director of the University of Wisconsin marching band was the guest speaker. Paul Kasprzak served as Master of Ceremonies.
The banquet is dedicated to Doug Jirschele for his many contributions to sports in the Clintonville community.
Award winners were given the opportunity to address the crowd, and bio information on each award winner was printed in a special booklet available to all in attendance.
Accomplishments of each winner and their bio are summarized below.
Halverson was born in Stanley, but his family moved to Clintonville in 1972. He is married and has two children. He currently lives in Hortonville.
He graduated from Clintonville High School in 1986, and UW-Oshkosh in 1994 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education majoring in Physical Education.
In high school Halverson played football, basketball, and baseball. He received many accolades in all three sports while in high school.
Prior to attending UW-Oshkosh, he played baseball at UW-LaCrosse, and basketball at UW-Fox Valley.
He was a member of the Clintonville A’s baseball team for 21 years, including 10 years as a player, and the final 11 years as a player-manager. In more than 1,100 at bats in BABA competition, he tallied 370 runs, 421 hits, 95 doubles, 92 stolen bases, and a .360 batting average.
He also played on 15 BABA divisional championship teams, four BABA grand national championship teams, four BABA grand national runner-up teams, and the 1988 NBC Class A state championship team.
As a manager, he compiled a 159-21 record.
Halverson said he was lucky to have parents who supported him and worked with him with athletics.
“They talked the neighbor into converting his field into a baseball diamond for us when we were growing up, and we could spend our summers there,” Halverson said. “I was lucky enough to have my dad as a coach and so many guys that I see out here.”
He said he hopes he is passing on the things that he learned from the many coaches in his past. He also thanked his wife and children for putting up with the schedule of an athlete.
“We had such a wonderful family with so many of you that I had a chance to play with and cherish so much,” Halverson said.
Halverson also thanked the city of Clintonville.
“I want to thank the community. I was lucky enough to grow up in a town like Clintonville that supported everything we wanted to do as a kid,” he said.
Ripley was born in Clintonville. She married Ron Ripley in 2007. They have two children.
While in high school she participated in volleyball, basketball, and track. She received many recognitions for her accomplishments in volleyball and was a member of the 1997 state volleyball team. In track, she held the high school high jump record and advanced to sectionals for the high jump, 400 meter relay, and 800 meter relay in 1998.
After graduating from CHS in 1998 she attended Marian University where she played volleyball for four years. Her college volleyball team was undefeated during her college career. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology.
She has coached volleyball for 11 years, and is currently a coach at Oconto Falls. She coached volleyball in Clintonville from 2007-10. Her 2009 team won the regional title.
Ripley still drives to Clintonville almost every week in the spring to play volleyball with other Clintonville High School alumni in the Park and Rec Women’s Volleyball League, because as she said, “Once a Trucker, always a Trucker.”
“The most amazing thing when we did go to state was walking into the fieldhouse and looking up into the stands and seeing all orange,” Ripley said. “… Everybody was so supportive in Clintonville. That’s the amazing thing about Clintonville is that everybody in town is so supportive of everything that young athletes do. It’s all that Clintonville pride.”
Kasper graduated from Clintonville High School in 1979, and then UW-Whitewater in 1983 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in finance. He currently resides in Mequon with his wife and two daughters.
In high school he played football, basketball, and baseball. He was a member of the 1976 and 1978 state playoff football teams. During his four years of playing football he received many honors.
Kasper was a member of Clintonville’s 1977 Class B championship basketball team, as well as a member of the 1978 and 1979 Class A state tournament basketball teams. He also received many basketball honors in high school.
He played basketball at UW-Whitewater from 1979-1980.
Kasper said he was fortunate to have the group of coaches that he had when he was growing up. He said the two main things he learned from his coaches were teamwork and fundamentals.
“We were all clear it’s not about individuals, it’s about the team, and fundamentals would either make or break us,” Kasper said.
He acknowledged that he was lucky enough to play with a lot of good players.
“I couldn’t imagine having a better group of guys to go through high school and play sports with,” Kasper said.
He added, “We had great school and community support. We had very large crowds at every football and basketball game. Sometimes we’d go to away games and we’d have more people there than the home team. I won’t forget the community spirit, send offs and welcome homes from state.”
Adams was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the second round of the 2014 NFL draft after forgoing his final two years of college at Fresno State.
While at Fresno State Adams redshirted in 2011 and had a breakout season in 2012 when he had 102 receptions for 1,312 yards and 14 touchdowns. The next year he led the nation with 131 receptions for 1,719 yards and 24 touchdowns. Also that year he was named the winner of the Paul Warfield Trophy as the best receiver in college football.
Adams had a solid rookie campaign with the Packers, moving up to the No. 3 receiver behind Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb.
“My dad always told me to take advantage of every opportunity, and I’m playing with a pretty good quarterback right now so if I don’t catch it, it’s probably going to be my fault,” Adams said.
Leckrone has been the director of the marching band and the director of bands at the University of Wisconsin-Madison since 1969. He has directed bands at the Final 4, Rose Bowl, arenas, stadiums, coliseums and sporting events all over the country.
Leckrone said his most memorable moment in his career was when he attended his first Rose Bowl with the Badger football team.
“It wasn’t a moment of happiness, it was a whole week of happiness,” he said.
He shared several other stories about his time as band director.
He said he has a comeback for students when they complain something is hard.
“If it was easy, then everybody could do it,” he said.
Next year’s banquet is scheduled for Saturday, May 7, 2016.