“Forty years seems like nothing,” said long-time coach Herb Widner. “I have a buddy that has been coaching for 50.”
Widner sat in his office where he tutors students at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic School trying to downplay the honor of recently being recognized at the Indiana Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches’ Banquet (Longevity Awards) for his 40 years of coaching.
“It’s gone by quickly, I really can’t complain, I love it,” said Widner.
Widner was on the Arkansas State track team as a thrower and after college came back to his hometown of Fort Wayne, Indiana. He attended mass at Saint Charles Borromeo Catholic Church. On this day, parish members were asked to complete a Time and Talent card. Widner listed his athletic ability without a second thought. It was this voluntary act that lead him to coaching his first basketball team. The year was 1976.
“My dad encouraged me to do it,” said Widner. “I think my love of athletics comes from the bond it forms. It did for us. My dad and I were always playing something.”
Throughout his 40 years of coaching, Widner reached many players. The relationships he formed continued after their seasons ended. He enjoyed following team member’s athletic careers, some of who continued to play at the collegiate level.
Widner’s love for athletics lead to 41 years of leading track teams, and basketball teams for 37 years. He also coached football. Widner coached teams at Saint Charles Borromeo, Saint Patrick, Saint Vincent de Paul, St. Louis Besancon, Bishop Dwenger and Bishop Luers High Schools. We had a team of 4th-5th graders who won the CYO championship. We were the underdogs who won with pure heart and effort.”
Heart. Exactly what a coach needs to lead teams for over 40 years. Thank you, Coach Widner.
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