The National Collegiate Athletic Association has released the 2018-19 Sportsmanship Award Winners. Among the winners, recently retired Luther College men’s and women’s track and field head coach and assistant professor Jeff Wettach, was named the recipient of the Bob Frederick Sportsmanship Award, the highest recognition of sportsmanship awarded by the organization.
The Bob Frederick Sportsmanship Award recognizes a coach, administrator or staff member (past or present) who possesses a demonstrated history of sportsmanship. Recipients have displayed the utmost respect for college sports, and all who participate, by leading by example and promoting positive fan involvement in and out of the competition setting. Just as Frederick, a former athletics director at Kansas was, recipients of this award are known by their dedication to preserving the integrity of college sports.
Since its creation in 2009, the Bob Frederick Award has honored only one coach, administrator or staff member per year who exemplify sportsmanship, a core principal of the NCAA.
“This is very unexpected and humbling,” commented Wettach. “To think that each day of the past 34 years when I had the great opportunity to walk through the doors of the Regents Center and simply attempt to give our students the best Luther experience possible, I never expected or thought of anyone ever recognizing my efforts.”
“I have had, and continue to have, many mentors, colleagues and role models who inspired me to ‘do it the right way’ when it came to modeling appropriate behavior, leadership and sportsmanship. The lessons I learned from them taught me that integrity and respect are key factors in accomplishing this. Hopefully I was able to pass these attributes on to the students and student athletes that I was so blessed to work with during my career.”
Luther’s Senior Women’s Administrator and Head Women’s Basketball Coach Amanda Bailey nominated Wettach for this honor.
“When I first read the criteria for the Bob Frederick Sportsmanship Award, I immediately thought of Coach Wettach,” stated Bailey. “I have never heard a negative comment from Coach. Instead, he continually took the time to give handwritten notes to lift up those around him. He has always found the silver lining in every situation and challenged those around him to respect and appreciate the efforts of others. He has been an inspiration to the Luther Community in all areas of his life and very deserving of this honor.”
The 2017-18 track and field season marked Wettach’s 32nd year as head coach for the men’s program and his 13th for the women’s program. During that tenure, his student athletes recorded 516 all-conference performances, 25 indoor conference titles, 80 outdoor conference titles and 46 All-America honors. He served as the head coach of the men’s cross country program from 1997 to 2005, coaching two All-Americans, one conference champion and league MVP, 12 all-conference performers and seven all-region performers. Wettach also served as an assistant football coach from 1985 to 2006 and again during the 2015-16 season.
“Everyone who knows Jeff, knows how awesome he is,” stated Renae Hartl Luther College director of athletics. “This honor truly is going to a wonderful coach, mentor, and teacher. The lessons that I learned from him as a young coach are still heavily imbedded in my personality on and off the field of play today. Congratulations Coach Wettach!”
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