LUSK – The coronavirus pandemic has led to the cancellation of yet another event: the Wyoming Coaches’ Association Annual Hall of Fame Banquet.
Former WCA president Mike Lashley said he felt the 54 coaches being honored, including Lusk Middle School Wrestling Coach Ron Nelson, deserved more than receiving the award in the mail. To better celebrate their achievement, Lashley decided to travel to 28 schools across the state to personally deliver the COTY awards on behalf of WCA during what he dubbed the WCA banquet tour.
“Being selected Coach of the Year is a big deal,” Lashley said. “These coaches are all selected by their peers. It’s a really big honor and I felt really bad they weren’t able to have a banquet and receive it in front of their peers and have their family present.”
Nelson, who is likely used to more fanfare having previously received the honor four times as a high school coach, said he is excited to receive the honor as a middle school coach, because WCA only recognizes two coaches at this level.
“It’s a neat honor,” Nelson said.
Instead of receiving the award in front of Wyoming’s coaches, Nelson was presented with his ring box in the lobby outside of the Niobrara County High School gymnasium in the presence of his wife on July 2.
The coronavirus delayed yet another aspect of the ceremony: the ring itself, Lashley said. Their production was halted due to the pandemic.
Still, Nelson and Lashley posed for a photo and enjoyed the honor of being named a 2020 Wyoming Coach of the Year before Lashley rounded out his tour with four more schools, ending his journey back home in Lingle.