Verl Petsch honored with NJCAA Loyalty Award

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(Left to right) Lance Petsch, NJCAA Executive Director Mary Ellen Leicht, Verl Petsch, Bonnie Petsch, NJCAA Assistant Executive Director Mark Krug

Long time volleyball coach and athletic director at Eastern Wyoming College Verl Petsch, Jr., who recently announced his retirement, was presented the NJCAA Loyalty Award by NJCAA Executive Director Mary Ellen Leicht during a special athletic banquet Saturday, April 13th on the campus of EWC in Torrington, Wyo.

The NJCAA Loyalty Award is given by the association to an athletic director at an NJCAA member college who has worked to uphold the ideals of the organization and display outstanding leadership in an athletic program that results in exemplifying excellence both on the playing field and in the classroom. Petsch is just the15th person in the 76-year history of the NJCAA to receive the Loyalty Award.

“It is a real honor to receive this award and I would like to thank the college and community for their support and encouragement,” shared Petsch. “This truly is the result of EWC being a member of the NJCAA and supporting their mission and goals in the administration of the athletic programs at EWC.”

“I have been fortunate enough to have the unique experience to be involved in the establishment of women’s athletics both at EWC and at the national level. The growth and diversification of the NJCAA has been phenomenal,” added Petsch.

Petsch is responsible for establishing the women’s volleyball program at Eastern Wyoming College in the 1970’s and recently completed his 40th season as head coach. During his four decades guiding the Lancers, his teams captured six NJCAA Region 9 Championships and advanced to the NJCAA Volleyball Championship Tournament seven times, placing fifth three times. His teams competed in the Region 9 title match 16 times while winning 13 Wyoming Community College Athletic Conference crowns.

At the conclusion of the 2013 season, Petsch boasted an overall record of 1,085-699 (.608), placing him second all-time in career victories in NJCAA volleyball history (Joe Ellen Stringer, Jefferson, Mo. – 1,181 wins). The six-time Region 9 Coach of the Year was inducted into the NJCAA Volleyball Hall of Fame in 1998 and the activities center and gymnasium at EWC was named in his honor in 2002. He coached 17 All-Americans and 66 All-Region 9 players. Even more impressive, 30 of his players received NJCAA academic honors during his tenure.

In addition to leading the volleyball program, Petsch served as athletic director for the Lancers since 1979, providing steady and consistent leadership to the Lancers’ men’s and women’s basketball, men’s golf, and men’s and women’s rodeo programs.

“Prior to coming to Eastern Wyoming College I had worked at another college in region IX. The AD at that college spoke highly of Verl Petsch and stated he brought knowledge, experience, and integrity to the position. As president at EWC, I speak for faculty, staff, and trustees, in saying that has definitely been the case; we look forward to programs that will continue to benefit from such a strong foundation,” shared EWC President Dr. Tom Armstrong.

Petsch’s leadership was also felt at the national level, serving as a member of the NJCAA Board of Directors from 1993-2005. As the Women’s Region 9 Director, he served on many national committees and was the chair of the NJCAA Division I Volleyball Committee from 1996-2005.