For the first time ever, two well deserving Osceola coaches are sharing the title of M. Dean Cherry Memorial Coach of the Year: Kathrin Pennanen, softball coach at Liberty High School, and Weylan Craig, soccer coach at St. Cloud High.
Both coaches led their respective teams to improved records by creating playoff caliber teams, while at the same time earning the respect of their peers and student athletes.
Over the past three years that Coach Pennanen has been Liberty High's head softball coach, her team had a combined record of 26-15. The team started the 2020 season 6-0 before having the season abruptly ended due to the pandemic.
Corey Edwards, Liberty High School's Athletic Director said, “Coach Pennanen excels in interacting with our students, athletes, faculty, and staff. For this reason, various student athletes come to her inquiring about the softball team and are looking forward to being a part of something special.”
In the 2019-2020 season, Coach Craig's soccer team at St. Cloud High earned the title of district champions and turned in a record of 15-6-1. The team played deep into playoffs, with a 1-0 loss during the regional finals to an excellent George Jenkins team.
Eric Godfrey, athletic director at St. Cloud High said, “Coach Craig won this honor in a landslide vote from his peers based upon his commitment and perseverance to the sport of soccer and for the accomplishments that his work has had this season.”
The M. Dean Cherry Memorial Coach of the Year Award is named after a long-time school-based and district-based administrator who began his career in education as a well respected coach and teacher. Each coach is nominated by their school and is voted on by a committee to select the recipient.