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2013 Sponsor Excellence Award Winners

Media Contact: Kate Hector
Phone: 512-471-5883
Fax: 512-471-6589

Date: Jan 22, 2014
Category: General Information


AUSTIN— The University Interscholastic League is proud to recognize 17 of the best UIL sponsors in Texas as the 2013 UIL Sponsor Excellence Award winners.

The winners were selected by a panel of judges in the areas of academics, athletics and music from nominations submitted by school principals and superintendents across the state.

The award, now in its 23rd year, was created to identify and recognize outstanding sponsors who enable students to develop and refine their extracurricular talents to the highest degree possible within the educational system.

“The merits of interscholastic competition and student performance can only be achieved through the hard work and dedication of sponsors, coaches and directors like these,” said UIL Executive Director Dr. Charles Breithaupt. “On behalf of the UIL, I commend these outstanding educators.”

Each winner will receive $1,000 and a symbolic memento from the UIL in recognition of their outstanding achievements in the pursuit of educational excellence through interscholastic competition. The League continually strives to strengthen and promote the role of extracurricular activities in Texas through programs like the UIL Sponsor Excellence Award.

The UIL Sponsor Excellence Award winners for 2013 are as follows:

Andrew Bates – Sabine Pass High School

Andrew Bathes has been a dedicated academics and one-act play sponsor for 12 years. Throughout his career, he has helped students qualify for the academic state meet in social studies, current events, cross-examination debate, and one-act play. Among those, he has led his teams to three overall regional academic championships, one overall state academic 2nd runner up, and two overall state academic championships.

“I have always looked to competition as a valuable tool for teaching,” Bates said. “All people learn in different ways and competition is another approach to help find the spark that individual students may need to push themselves to succeed. It promotes teamwork, leadership, dedication and adaptability.”

Rodney Bennett – Olney High School

Rodney Bennett has been a band director for 31 years and has seen immense success at UIL events throughout his career. He has directed marching bands to the state finals nine times and has received numerous awards at the regional level for marching band, concert band, and ensembles.

“Competition allows students an avenue to experience success and failure,” Bennett said. “The successes help provide a sense of positive self-worth and, in many instances, a tangible reward. When a student fails to reach the ultimate goal, the experience allows them the opportunity to learn and grow by evaluating the areas that need improvement and how to make adjustments to become successful.”

John Carl – Seminole High School

John Carl has coached UIL science, calculator, math and number sense for 26 years. During his time as a coach, Carl has led his teams to three UIL academic state championships and coached several individuals to state championships. Carl is a three time Texas Math and Science Coaches Association Science Coach of the year.

 “I believe that regardless of whether I am acting as a UIL academics coach, or a regular classroom teacher, my goal is to enable all of my students to reach their full potential,” Carl said. “I have always encouraged all of my students to compete in UIL. It does not matter whether they win, they have become better students through preparing for their competition.”

Jimmy Conn – Three Rivers High School

Jimmy Conn has served as a one-act play and mathematics sponsor for 13 years, and has also coached calculator applications, poetry interpretation, number sense and computer applications. In one-act play, he has helped 23 students earn best actor or actress awards, and has directed a regional qualifying play seven times. In mathematics, Conn has coached nine individual state qualifiers.

“I get the opportunity not only to display and perfect students’ natural abilities, but I have the privilege of teaching students that it is important to foster a variety of talents and interests,” Conn said. “ Through personal experience, I stress the importance of UIL academics and the doors that open because of those wonderful endeavors.”

Carol Creel – Lake Travis High School

During her 20 years as a tennis coach, Carol Creel has lead six student-athletes to state championships. Creel was also selected by the Texas Tennis Coaches association as Coach of the Year in 2008 and has been awarded NFHS Sectional Coach of the Year.

“My philosophy of competition is that sports in the academic setting, provide the opportunity for growth in many different areas,” Creel said. “I like to instill in my players the value of hard work, overcoming adversity, balancing a demanding schedule, developing good character and sportsmanship and ultimately becoming a good citizen.”

Paula Edwards – Midland Lee High School

Paula Edwards has been a high school choral director since 1981. In that time, she has coached students in UIL concert & sight reading and UIL solo & ensemble. Edwards’ students have been consistent sweepstakes winners at UIL concert & sight reading.

“Competition allows individuals of varying talents and abilities to join together as a team to strive for a determine goal or standard,” Edwards said. 

Rhonda Farney – Georgetown High School

Rhonda Farney has been coaching girls basketball since 1975, and has led her team to a UIL girls basketball state championship. In addition she has coached girls & boys cross country, girls track & filed, girls tennis, and academic events. Farney has had success at every level in all of these activities and embodies her own philosophy of a well-rounded experience to her coaching career.

“The school’s basic education mission is to provide learning opportunities for all students and to produce well-rounded individuals, who are capable of reaching their full potential,” Farney said. “We have high expectations for our student-athletes, stressing excellence rather than perfection in the classroom and on the court.”

Karen Guenther – Denton Ryan High School

Karen Guenther is entering her 33rd year sponsoring journalism events. In addition to her work with students competing in news writing, feature writing, editorial writing and headline writing, Guenther has assisted with currents issues and events.

“The students know that it isn’t only the success that they have as individuals but the success of the entire team that makes the entire experience fun and fulfilling,” Guenther said. “They celebrate their own victories as well as those of the team. Through this they learn to come together as a community.”

Alan Haire – Lago Vista High School

In his 13 years as head football coach, Alan Haire has accrued playoff appearances in five of the last six seasons. His teams have also been a state semi-finalists, and three-time district champions. In addition to football, Haire has coached softball, boys basketball, boys and girls track, boys and girls golf and baseball.

“Athletics plays a vital role in enriching the lives of those involved,” Haire said. “It is important that youth have strong positive lessons, examples and experiences that can be gained in the arena of athletic competition. As coaches, we have an opportunity to be an integral part of the solution, depending on what we teach, expect and demand through our athletic programs.”

Duane Joubert –Kountze High School

In Duane Joubert’s 17 years as a coach, he has led teams to success in basketball, football, boys and girls cross country, track, and tennis. Joubert has won two UIL basketball state championships and has led students to district and regional success in cross country and tennis.

“Academic success promotes positive outcomes in every other area of a student’s life because it empowers them and allows them to further their education on the next level of higher education, while utilizing athletics as a tool,” Joubert said.

Patricia Lewis – Brownsboro High School

During her 40 years as a journalism sponsor, Patricia Lewis has had students advance to regionals every single year and has had students advance or place at the state meet in 20 of those years. Lewis led her team to a journalism state championship in 2008 and has received many ILPC awards.

“Students who compete in UIL academics and athletics are the most well-rounded students, who will be successful in college and the work force,” Lewis said. “In preparation for competition, academic students are using higher level thinking skills as well as problem solving skills which prepares them for the future.”

Larry Mathis – Brownwood High School

Larry Mathis has served as a UIL Academics Coordinator, one-act play director and speech coach for 30 years. He has led speech and debate students to 19 district championships, and as Academic Coordinator, Mathis has helped many students place at the Academic State Meet.

“It has, for me, always been about the growth and development of kids. First, getting kids to participate and then helping them to achieve at the highest level possible,” Mathis said. “The thousands of kids who came through our speech and debate, academic or Theatre programs are the real reflection of how important it is to have students participate and be successful in the myriad of competitive events.”

Delta McFarland – Needville High School

Delta McFarland has been sponsoring UIL events for 21 years. During that time, she has coached students in computer science, computer applications, accounting and social studies. In computer science, her teams qualified for state 11 years in a row, and her teams won state championships in 2011 and 2013. She has also helped many students place individually at state.

“What is UIL Acaemics?” McFarland asked. “ It is dedication, hard work, healthy competition, learning, support, team work, encouragement, family, and character. Everything that is needed to build a well-rounded person for tomorrow’s world.”  

Nancy Randolph – Morton High School

Finding an academic event that Nancy Randolph hasn’t sponsored at some point in her 29 year career is a difficult task. Ranging from computer science to debate and journalism, Randolph has had a student participate at the UIL Academic State meet for the past nine years. In 2013, she led her team to a speech state championship.

“I believe that competitions are part of a school’s mission to help prepare students for life,” Randolph said. “ Students will compete for grades, college acceptance and jobs.”

Jill Richardson – Caddo Mills High School

Jill Richardson has served as an accounting sponsor for 27 years, but she has also dedicated several years to coaching editorial writing, current issues, spelling and vocabulary, and literary criticism. Over the years, she has coached teams to two accounting team state championships, and several individual accounting state championships. Richardson has also led students to state competition in editorial writing.

“I believe UIL competition is one avenue where our students learn that all forms of competition require hard work and dedication,” Richardson said. “The rewards of competitions enable students to develop pride in our school and in themselves while at the same time opening their eyes to future careers and opportunities.”

Julie Schniers – San Angelo Central High School

As a sponsor of all speech and debate activities for the past seven years, Julie Schniers has led her teams to six district championships and has also had students qualify for the state meet each year.

“To me, being a teacher and UIL coach means to care for every student you ever work with, to do whatever you can to help them be successful,” Schniers said, “and mold them in a way that they can see how bright their future can be by just believing in themselves.”

Debby Sutton – Texarkana Pleasant Grove High School

Debby Sutton has served as one-act play director for 17 years and is currently in her 10th year as the UIL Academic Coordinator. As a one-act play director, her casts have earned 14 district championships, two regional championships, a state 2nd runner up, and a state 4th place finish. She has led 27 students to best actor or actress medals and has had 85 students awarded an all star cast medal.

“I strongly believe that students will rise to the occasion that we set before them,” Sutton said. “Therefore, professionalism is the bar and performance is our vehicle. My greatest job is watching a student transform from that awkward caterpillar into that amazing butterfly.”

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