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Wisconsin Fastpitch Coaches Association Announces 2019 Hall of Fame Class

The Wisconsin Fastpitch Softball Coaches Association is proud to announce the 2019 Hall of Fame Class.Jerry Cognetta, Ken Franke, Dale Gray, Jim Kivisto, and Sandy Waltzer will be inducted into the WFSCA Hall of Fame at the Coaches Awards Banquet at the Chula Vista, in Wisconsin Dells on February 23, 2019 at the Awards Banquet starting at 5:30 pm.

Below are the biographies of the class of 2019:

Jerry Cognetta – Elmwood High School

Jerry Cognetta’s softball days began at an early age growing up in St. Paul, MN where he played on various fast and slow pitch teams. One of his fond playing memories was the opportunity to face Eddie Feigner – The King and His Court.

Jerry coached varsity softball at Elmwood High School as head coach from 1977 – 1996. He posted an overall record of 301 – 39. During his tenure Jerry coached Elmwood to WIAA State Championships in 1977 & 1984 and Runners-up in 1985, 1994 & 1995 for a total of nine State Tournament appearances. His teams won nine WIAA Sectional titles, 16 Regional championships and compiled a conference play record of 163-11 which includes a 63-conference game win streak and 17 Dunn-St. Croix Conference titles. In 1995 Jerry was honored with the Wisconsin High School Coaches Association Outstanding Service Award for contributions to the game. He earned the Wisconsin High School Coaching Association Championship Coaching award in 1977 and again in 1984. Jerry was inducted into the University of River Falls Hall of Fame in 2003 as a player & coach.

After retiring from coaching softball Jerry coached varsity baseball at Elmwood from 1998 – 2004 and assisted at UW-Stout’s softball program from 2007 – 2011 while also umpiring varsity softball and baseball.

Jerry married his wife Julie in 1976. They have three adult children (Cheristi, Vinny and Ario) and three grandchildren (Vincent, Luca & Francis). They recently moved from their family home in Elmwood and relocated to Hudson, WI. Jerry and Julie are enjoying retirement and spending time with their grandchildren as they begin their sports activities. 

Ken Franke - Kewaskum, Mayville, and Dodgeland High School    

Ken has been an Assistant Coach for 25 years atMayville, Dodgeland, and currently Kewaskum. It is estimated that at least 434 wins have been registered during his tenure, along with 12 conference championships, 9 regional championships, 5 trips to the State Tournament and the 1999 State Championship. He has coached summer traveling softball for 23 years, winning the ASA Class B State Championship in 2000 and 2002. Ken started his coaching career in baseball, coaching for 9 years prior to making the switch to softball.

Dale Gray – Wisconsin Dells High School

Dale Gray has coached varsity softball for 30 years at Wisconsin Dells High School. During these 30 years, he has accumulated 637 games with a record of 347-290.

His teams have won 5 Conference Championships, 8 Regional Championships and 2 Sectional Championships. Wisconsin Dells advanced to the State Tournament twice, winning the state title in 1995 and a state qualifier in 1997. 

Dale has been married to his wife Anita for fifty years. They have three children,

Dale, Tammy and Ginny, and five grandchildren, Alyssa, Brianna, Josh, Kayla and Camden. 

Jim Kivisto – Hurley High School

Hurley’s softball program began in 1989. The school hired 23-year-old Jim Kivisto to be the head coach, who led them to a Regional Championship in the first year of the program. Jim has been the head coach ever since.

Over the last 30 seasons, Jim has compiled an impressive resume. His overall record is 458-126 with a conference record of 222-16, winning the Indianhead Coach of the Year award 17 times. His teams have won 21 Indianhead Conference Championships, 20 Regional Championships, 7 Sectional Championships, and earned the WIAA State Runner-up twice in 2001 and 2007. The Hurley Athletic Hall of Fame has inducted three of Jim’s teams (1999, 2001, & 2007) and he coached in the Wisconsin All-Star game in 2008.

Jim married his wife Gina in 1990. They have three children (Jessie, Cody & Cole).

Jim will be coaching in his 31st season this spring.

Sandy Waltzer- Antigo High School

Sandy coached varsity softball at Antigo for 14 years. She coached in 234 games with a record of 168-66. Her teams won 3 Conference championships, 10 Regional Championships, and 3 Sectional Championships. Antigo advanced to State Softball tournament the very first year in 1976 and placed third. Sandy’s teams again advance to State in 1979 placing third, and in 1981 placing fifth.

Sandy and her late husband Bob, both graduated from the University of Wisconsin Lacrosse where Bob competed in football and wrestling. 

You can see the past inductees into the Hall of Fame by going here .

via WFSCA press release

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