Kinzinger, Hanson, Wetzel receive Jirschele awards
By Bert Lehman
Bill Kinzinger Sr., Nicole Hanson, Lee Wetzel, Sharon Oreskovich, Ron Wolf and Paul Chryst were each honored at the 24th annual Doug Jirschele Memorial Sports Banquet Saturday, May 14.
Kinzinger, Hanson and Wetzel received Doug Jirschele Sports Awards. These awards are given to individuals with Clintonville area ties who have achieved success in the world of sports.
Former Green Bay Packers General Manager Ron Wolf 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.
Oreskovich 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.
Chryst, head coach for the Wisconsin Badgers football team, was the guest speaker. Bill Jartz 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 bios are summarized below.
Bill Kinzinger Sr.
Kinzinger was born and raised in Lena. While at Lena High School he earned 12 varsity letters in football, basketball and track. He graduated from Lena High School in 1965.
He married his high school sweetheart Pat and they live in Clintonville. They have four children.
Kinzinger found his way to Clintonville to teach physical education in the Clintonville School District. He did that for 34 years, retiring in 2004.
He coached football for 33 years, the last 27 as defensive coordinator.
After one year as the JV baseball coach, he spent the next 24 years as the varsity coach. He has the most wins in Truckers history with 256.
Basketball has been part of Kinzinger’s life for the last 46 years. During that time he has coached middle school and youth programs, JV and varsity, as well as coaching three years in the girls program.
During his acceptance speech Kinzinger thanked all of the coaches that he coached with during his time coaching in Clintonville, as well as his family.
Kinzinger also paid tribute to Doug Jirschele.
“Doug had some great qualities about him. A humble man, great all around attitude, and Doug was a competitor,” Kinzinger said. “He never played sports but he still was a competitor. He had a love for the game, any game. He had great knowledge of sports.”
Highlights from Kinzinger’s coaching career were also shared with those in attendance.
“Many great young men and women I coached,” Kinzinger said. “There were many highs and not very many lows. They always played hard and gave 100 percent. I loved coaching all the teams and all the people that I met.”
One message he relayed was, “You don’t have to be big. You have to have a big heart and you have to play hard. Small guys can do big things.”
Hanson was born and raised in Clintonville, and graduated from Clintonville High School in 2011.
While in high school Hanson was a member of the volleyball and track teams all four years. In addition she ran cross country and played soccer. While in track Hanson qualified for state all four years earning All-State honors in the 4x400m and 4x800m relays.
After an athletic track career at UW-Stevens Point she returned to Clintonville as a substitute teacher. She also works at the Clintonville Rec Center as a personal trainer, yoga instructor, lifeguard and swim lessons instructor. This spring she also helped coach the CHS track team.
“It’s such an honor to be able to sit up here with great coaches and people in the community,” Hanson said. “I can’t even believe that I was selected.”
Hanson said sports have played a major role in guiding her to be the person she has become.
“Athletics has been huge in my life. It has impacted the way I view the world, my career path, my passion,” Hanson said.
She added, “Sports to a child can bring confidence, perseverance, pride, fun, and develop a strong work ethic.”
Not only is playing sports beneficial, Hanson said the coaches have a big influence on the kids they coach. She shared a story about how here coaches influenced her.
“Somebody believing in me turned into me believing in myself,” she said. “… As with many sports there will be joyous victories, painful obstacles to overcome, but each experience comes with valuable life-long lessons. Through all of these my coaches and teachers have been guiding role models, always giving support, advice, and when necessary, redirection. I can’t say thank you enough to these great influences in my life.”
Wetzel graduated from Shawano High School in 1985. He and his wife Mary live in a home on Round Lake where they raised their two children.
In 2005, Wetzel and his wife, along with Gina Goerlinger and Lois Graper, formed the Clintonville Area Swim Team (CAST). The goal was to grow the swim club, become a U.S. Swimming sanctioned team and fund a high school girls’ swim program. Within two years those goals were accomplished.
CAST swimmers have qualified for the Wisconsin State Swimming Championships every year since its formation.
Wetzel was named the Clintonville High School girls’ swimming head coach in 2013. The team was 1-29 prior to Wetzel’s arrival. Since that time, the team has compiled a 10-5-1 record.
“I am honored and humbled by this recognition,” Wetzel said.
Wetzel shared his thoughts about when he took over as high school swimming head coach.
“I wanted to make it fun and something kids wanted to be a part of,” Wetzel said.
Wetzel also spoke about the importance of having goals.
“In order for your dreams to come true you must dream them first,” Wetzel said. “Dream about what you want, not what you think you might be able to do.”