Perry boys basketball head coach Ned Menke was announced Monday as the Iowa High School Athletic Association 2016 Character Counts Coach of the Year.
The annual honor is awarded to one coach statewide, with the selection made by an independent panel from nominations submitted by member schools. The honoree must consistently demonstrate the Six Pillars of Character: Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, and Citizenship while “Pursuing Victory with Honor” both on and off the field of play.
Menke has worked for the Perry School District for 10 years. He was named boys varsity basketball head coach for the 2008-2009 season and is now in his eighth year at the helm of the Bluejay cagers.
“I was just completely taken by surprise,” when informed of the honor, Menke said. “I am as flattered as I could possibly be, and to know that my peers were the ones who put me up for this is extremely humbling and I am very grateful.”
Menke said he has always stressed the Six Pillars with all of his students and players.
“I see the my job as a coach as more than teaching them the game and trying to get wins,” Menke said. “I want them to go about it in the right way, because that will help them in life to be better people. Those are lessons that will last long after they are done playing sports.”
“One thing I have done is try to lead by example,” he said. “You can talk about character and sportsmanship all you want, but if you keep doing it all the time it loses some of its impact. The kids need to see it in action, and that is why I try hard to set a good example.”
Obviously more than just his Perry charges have noticed, as the honor attests.
Menke will be recognized at halftime of the second Class 4A semifinal game at the State Basketball Tournament March 11 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.