POTOSI – You don’t teach at a small school like Potosi for 35 years, or coach for 41 years, and not have an impact on hundreds, if not thousands, of young people during your career.
Longtime Potosi teacher and coach Ron Kading now realizes that more than anyone, after he was the recipient of the 2020 District 5 Distinguished Service Award given out by the Wisconsin Athletic Directors Association (WADA).
During the annual Wisconsin Athletic Directors Association virtual awards ceremony held last Thursday via Zoom, Kading was one of seven recipients honored throughout the state of Wisconsin.
The Distinguished Service Award recognizes those individuals who are supportive leaders within the school and community, and who assist in maintaining athletics as an integral part of the total educational program.
The recipients are also those who have made a significant impact on the lives of students and who have used athletics as a catalyst to achieve some demonstrable progress in the financial, social and cultural environment of the school and/or community.
Nominating Kading for the award was Potosi Athletic Director Mark Siegert.
Upon retiring from teaching in 2012, Kading had spent 35 years as the physical education teacher at Potosi Elementary School.
Kading was perhaps best known as the head coach of the Potosi baseball team from 1978 until stepping down in 2018, where he accumulated a career record of 562-304 and a winning percentage of .649.
During his time as the head coach, the Chieftains had won 21 conference titles, 14 regional titles and made five trips to the WIAA State Tournament. His Chieftains won the Division 3 state championship in 1993 and finished as the D3 runner-up in 2001.
Kading was given the WBCA Distinguished Service Award in 1999, was inducted into the Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2002, and was named the WBCA Man of the Year in 2009. Prior to the 2013 baseball season, the field at Potosi High School was also named Ron Kading Field in his honor.
Kading also served on the WBCA Board of Directors for more than 20 years in a variety of capacities, including president and vice president, and most recently as the Awards/All-Star Chair.
As if that wasn’t enough, Kading also spent the winter sports seasons as an assistant girls’ basketball coach at Potosi, and during the fall sports seasons kept stats at football games and was a scorekeeper at volleyball matches. During the summer, he also served as the Community Youth Director for over 30 years.
This past fall, Kading also stepped in as the Potosi varsity volleyball coach for their last six matches, while head coach Jolene Murray took a medical leave.
“It has been a pleasure and an honor to serve Potosi,” said Kading in an email. “It has definitely been a blessing, way beyond anything that I deserve. I think Potosi has given back way more than what I have given to it.
“When I think of all the amazing kids I got to work with, and the enjoyment I got out of it, I’m not sure I could ask for anything more. I am certainly grateful and humbled by this honor.”