Today, we congratulate two more recipients of the HCAA Recognition Awards bestowed to eight individuals. Teachers and coaches give countless hours to support students in their school athletic endeavours, and these two individuals have gone above and beyond to further their athletes’ aspirations by working in Horizon Central Athletic Division programs. 

Mike Warnecke (St. Brieux School) 

Mike Warneke has been a dedicated community coach and referee at St. Brieux school for the past 15 years. 

Mike is the definition of being “all-in” when it comes to coaching senior girls basketball. Even though he is not a teacher at the school, Mike puts approximately 300 hours into his coaching seasons every year, giving up countless mornings, evenings, and weekends. 

Mike runs a very successful senior girls basketball program at St. Brieux School, with his team often being one of the top ranked teams in the province in their category. In 2018, Mike led his girls team to a bronze medal at the SHSAA Provincial Championship (Hoopla) – St. Brieux School’s first ever team medal for a female team. This past season resulted in another great accomplishment, with his girls team capturing silver at Hoopla. 

Mike understands that coaching a team goes beyond just “coaching” at practices and games. He attends countless coaching professional development sessions, watches film, supports fundraisers, organizes team functions, and meets with players and parents. Essentially, Mike is willing to do anything and everything that needs to be done. 

Mike is incredibly supportive and caring of all of his athletes. He ensures all of his players see the court, believes in positive reinforcement, and cares about the long-term development of his players. He recognizes the importance of using athletics as a way to prepare students for adulthood and life’s lessons. He is genuinely caring and often spends hours creating highlight films for players and works to ensure that each player has a role in the program. Mike often uses his own resources to provide fun and motivating experiences for his players. 

On top of all of his coaching contributions, Mike also extends himself further as an official for the junior basketball programs in St. Brieux and serves as a mentor to younger officials in the St. Brieux area. 

Morris Sokul (Wynyard Composite High School) 

Morris Sokul has been a valuable member of Wynyard Composite High School (WCHS) for the past 33 years and has been a teacher for 36 years. “Moe” has always been a huge supporter of all WCHS Bears Athletics teams and participants. If he isn’t coaching, he is in the stands cheering them on or volunteering his time helping host an event. 

Moe has taken on leadership roles in a variety of capacities, but he is widely known for his coaching of the WCHS Bears senior and junior football programs. He has always been a nose-to-the-grindstone coach, expecting 100% effort from himself, his players, and his fellow coaches. Those who have attended a Bears football contest will have definitely witnessed his passion for the game, as it is second-to-none. 

In addition to these coaching duties, Moe has also coached the senior and junior boys basketball teams over the years. He also coached some senior boys volleyball a number of years ago, and has taken the lead on the annual Pass, Punt and Kick event at WCHS. He has also ventured to the other side of the game, officiating in football, basketball, and baseball. 

Morris has been an active participant outside of the school setting in the community as well as a coach, an official, and a volunteer. 

Thanks to Brian Grest for providing the content.