Archive for Thursday, March 6, 2008

Honomichl bound for hall of fame

March 6, 2008

After her final season this spring, Ginny Honomichl will join some elite company in the world as a high school coach.

Once her 38th year as an educator is finished, the Baldwin High School teacher and coach will retire. However, she will be honored this summer in Colorado Springs.

Honomichl will be inducted into the National High School Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame on June 24.

"This is a great honor and it shows how dedicated coach Honomichl has been to high school athletics over the course of her career," said Gary Stevanus, BHS activities director. "She is very deserving of this and it's a great way to cap an outstanding coaching career."

Honomichl recently received a letter informing her of the distinguished honor. The recognition caught her a bit off guard.

"Needless to say, I was surprised," Honomichl said. "I was honored. Anytime you get to be chosen for any hall of fame, not that I have been, you are one of few."

Since Honomichl is part of the Kansas State High School Activities Association, she has heard of the NHSACA, but she is more familiar with the National Federation of State High School Associations. Both organizations are similar, but slightly different, according to Honomichl.

In the letter, it states that the KSHSAA nominated Honomichl for the hall of fame. She knew it was someone from the state association that nominated her back in the fall.

"I know that our state coaches association nominated me," Honomichl said. "This group asked me in late October or early November to send a bio in to them. Then, I never heard anything else. Our state association people told me that's what I needed to do."

During her 38 years as an educator, Honomichl has taught at two high schools in Kansas, Baldwin and Russell. She has been a head coach for girls' tennis for 38 seasons, boys' tennis (4 years), girls' track (14), fast pitch softball (8), girls' basketball (10) and assistant junior high girls' basketball coach (2).

Honomichl's tennis teams have qualified at least one entry to the state tennis tournament 35 of her 38 years. She has had four state champions and more than 60 medalists at the state level. She was named Kansas Tennis Coach of the Year in 1988, 1989, 1992 and 2000.

When asked if she has enjoyed being a teacher for nearly four decades, Honomichl said her professional options were limited when she began teaching.

"At the time I chose it, there weren't very many other choices for females," Honomichl said. "You were either a teacher, a nurse or a secretary. In my family, we've had a lot of teachers. I knew I wasn't cut out to be a secretary and if I were to go into medicine, I wouldn't want to be the nurse, I'd rather be the doctor. At that time the choices were very limited to where we are now.

"I've had opportunities to exit the field of education and do something more in an administrative level, but it just never seemed to fit right," she said. "My daughter told me one time, 'mom, you're just supposed to be a teacher. That's what you are good at. You're going to be a teacher.' That's very OK."

She added that she's never been sick of her job, because she's always enjoyed being a teacher and a coach.

"I guess I really never thought about it," Honomichl said. "I've never had a real desire to do much of anything else. Like I told somebody else, as I'm finishing up on 38 years of teaching and coaching, I've always liked my job. Unless I was sick or hurt, I never woke up saying I hate my job and I don't want to go to work. I've never done that. I think that is very unique, too."

Honomichl has been a member of the Kansas Coaches Association for 30 years. She served as its first female president from 1989 to 1993. She continues to serve on its executive board.

She represented the KCA on the KSHSAA Board of Directors for two terms, 1993-1999 and 2001-2007. Throughout her first term on the KSHSAA Board of Directors, Honomichl was elected to the executive board for five years, serving as secretary and vice president - the first non-administrator school personnel elected to that board.

Honomichl has also served on numerous state and national level committees. Those include White House Conference for a Drug Free America; Coaching Education, Sportsmanship, Ethics and Integrity; Governance, Strategic Planning and Hall of Fame committees. She has also spoken at many state and national level coaching clinics. In Nov. 1991, she was one of three coaches nationwide to be honored as the Disney Channel "American Teacher Award" in Los Angeles.

"I was talking with somebody about this over the weekend and I said I have had so many unique opportunities that so few teachers/coaches have had," Honomichl said. "I have had so much exposure at the state and national level. I just happened to have people who have asked me if I would and I did. It's just been some special opportunities to work with people all over the United States and this state. Not many teachers or coaches get that chance."

Honomichl has now started her final season as a BHS coach. This will be her last softball season as she heads into retirement this summer. Although it's her finale, Honomichl is trying to approach it as she would any other year, but she knows how difficult that will be to maintain.

"I haven't really approached it as the fact that it's my last," Honomichl said. "It's just what's next. I don't want to have to handle the fact that it's the last. I don't want any pressure on anyone because it's the last. It would be all right with me if I just faded off into the sunset. That would be fine with me.

"I just want it to be as if it was last year," she said. "It won't be, but I know that's what I would like it to be. We've got enough things happening at the end of the school year with just having to get the school year finished, let alone throwing in the fact that this is it."


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