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.


Winter 2016-17

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

Spring 2017

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

Fall 2017

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

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