Johnson receives Distinguished Service Award
KALAMAZOO — Van Johnson of Dowagiac, Bill Hammer of Allegan and Roger Cornelius of Gull Lake where honored by the Wolverine Conference with its Distinguished Service Award its annual banquet last fall at Western Michigan University.
Johnson was honored for his many years of coaching golf at Dowagiac. He also coached track for the Chieftains.
Johnson was elected into the Michigan Interscholastic Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2013.
He was named Conference Coach of the Year, MIGCA District Coach of the Year twice and Regional Coach of the Year in 2004.
Hammer coached cross country and track at Allegan, while Cornelius was the Gull Lake tennis coach.
The Wolverine conference also honored its Coaches of the Year for the winter sports of 2016-17, spring sports for 2017 and fall sports for 2017.
Edwardsburg’s Jon Pobuda and Jesse Becraft were honored for girls basketball and wrestling, while the Eddies’ Sean Jesse shared the boys soccer honor with Garry Snyder of Plainwell.
Edwardsburg’s A.J. Gaideski shared the baseball honor with Brian Deal of Vicksburg.
Former South Haven baseball, football and wrestling coach Jim McCloughan, who was awarded the National Congressional Medal of Honor in 2017, was the special guest.
COACH OF THE YEAR
Boys basketball: Larry Ash, South Haven
Girls basketball: Jon Pobuda, Edwardsburg
Boys bowling: Jim Tolfree, Three Rivers
Girls bowling, Tonia Lamb, Allegan;
Scott Spahr, Sturgis
Competitive cheer: Stefanie Miller,
Paw Paw; Stephanie Smith, Sturgis
Wrestling: Jesse Becraft, Edwardsburg
Baseball: A.J. Gaideksi, Edwardsburg;
Brian Deal, Vicksburg
Boys golf: Matt Rayman, Otsego
Girls soccer: Ernesto Diaz, Paw Paw
Softball: Paul Gephart, Vicksburg
Girls tennis: Jennifer Aldrich, Allegan
Boys track: Matt Grile, Otsego
Girls track: Justin Scott, Otsego
Boys cross country: Lucas Wolhuis,
Girls cross country: Steve Long,
Football, J.J. Wagner, Three Rivers
Girls golf: Ken Schau, South Haven
Boys soccer, Sean Jesse,
Edwardsburg; Garry Snyder, Plainwell
Boys tennis: Gary Ellis, Allegan
Volleyball: Katrina Miller, Vicksburg