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NIPWLS Annually Recognized Awards

Tom Brennan – Presidentof the Year

(Nominated by NIPWLS Board and recognized at 2nd Presidents Meeting)

This award is named after Tom Brennan who was a fixture in the Portage Pop Warner program for over 14 years, where he served as equipment manager, coach, and ultimately President. Tom eventually moved on to become the Insurance Coordinator for Northern Indiana Pop Warner where he served faithfully until he succumbed to cancer on July 6th, 2004. In all Tom spent more than 20 plus years as a volunteer with Pop Warner. Since that year the "Tom Brennan Award" is given to an Association President who most exemplifies the dedication Tom had during his many years as President of the Portage Pop Warner program.

The following are the past Tom Brennan Award winners:

2004 – Tim Arvanitis (Tri-Town Pop Warner)

2005 – Troy Billingsley (Southlake Pop Warner)

2006 – Richard Schmidt (Portage Pop Warner)

2007 – Glenn Adler (Boone Grove Pop Warner)

2008 – Richard Woods (Gary Pop Warner)

2009 – Brian Lidgard (LaPorte Pop Warner)

2010 – Mark Thorn (Valparaiso Pop Warner)

2011 – Edmond Griffin (Merrillville Pop Warner)

2012 – Vince Moller (Portage Pop Warner)

2013 – Dave Spangler (Michigan City Pop Warner)

2014 – Mark Alvarado (Highland Pop Warner)

2015 – Ryan Pendleton (Hobart Pop Warner)

2016 – Jaime Fletcher (Knox Pop Warner)

2017 – Dennis Menear (Greater Laporte Pop Warner)

2018 – Michelle Rayson (Northlake Pop Warner)

2019 – Dave Arroyo (KV Pop Warner)

2020 – Anthony Woods (Gary Pop Warner)

2021 – Joseph Burns (Munster Pop Warner)

Curtis Zook – Association Volunteer of the Year

(Nominated by Association President and recognized at League/State Championships)

This award is named after Curtis Zook who was a fan, coach, and athletic supporter with all sports associated with the Laporte High School Slicers. Even though Curt never caught a pass, shot a basket, or ran for a touchdown at Laporte High School, he was considered by many the greatest Slicer in history. Curt graduated from Laporte High School in 1974. Later he moved to Florida with his mother and eventually returned to Laporte in 2002. Curt was a dedicated volunteer in all the sports he was involved in. He assisted many of the coaches on the Laporte High School staff, was a girl's softball coach, and was an honorary member of the Northern Indiana Pop Warner Board of Directors until an accident claimed his life on December 16th, 2005. In his honor the "Curtis Zook Volunteer of the Year Award" was established and awarded to that individual who unselfishly gives of his or her time and dedicates themselves to the principles of Pop Warner.

The following are the past Curtis Zook Volunteer of the Year Award winners:

2006 – Steve Block (Kankakee Valley Pop Warner) & Bobbi Gibson (Hammond Pop Warner)

2007 – James Walker (Michigan City Pop Warner)

2008 – Jim Lytle (Tri-Town Pop Warner)

2009 – Mike Schwanke (Michigan City Pop Warner)

2010 – Helen Schmidt (Hobart Pop Warner)

2012 – Jeff Neumeier (Valparaiso Pop Warner)

2013 – Lori Eichenberger (Chesterton Pop Warner)

2014 – David Tinsley (Portage Pop Warner)

2015 – Ruthanne Olson (Valparaiso Pop Warner)

2017 – Danielle Carlson (Griffith Pop Warner)

2018 – Bill Buskirk (Michigan City Pop Warner)

2019 – Colleen Habel (Highland Pop Warner)

2020 – Tim Henke (Southlake Pop Warner)

2021 – No Award Given

2022 – Jeff Neumeier (Valpo Pop Warner)

Bill Wilczynski – Official of the Year

(Nominated by referee’s and recognized during post season playoffs/championships)

Bill Wilczynski was a great guy who loved to be around kids. Every weekend during football season he spent his time refereeing the NIPWLS football games. Changing player behavior was his goal as he always wanted the game to be fun. It wasn’t out of the ordinary to see Bill talking with the kids on the field throwing in a joke or two. Unfortunately, Bill passed away in 2015 but he will always be remembered. Starting in 2016, the Referees created an award to give to a town in NIPWLS as remembrance of Bill, an association whose coaches showed respect for the game each weekend during the fall Pop Warner season as like Bill Wilczynski did. In 2021 the league decided to revamp the recipient intended to receive this prestigious award and award the referee who demonstrated the same qualities as Bill did week in and week out. An individual who showed exemplary skill and dedication to their on-field performance.

Legacy Recipients:

2016 – Troy Billingsley (Southlake Pop Warner)

2017 – Diana Lockhart (Rensselaer Pop Warner)

New Award Recipients:

2021 – Kevin Mikesell

2022 – Scott Leffert

Tim Sargent – Grass Roots Official of the Year

(Nominated by referee’s and recognized during post season playoffs/championships)

2021 – Nathan Nix

2022 – Ty Veen


Brian & Chris Lidgard Cheer Award

This award is given to the association/town that exemplifies the hard work, dedication, loyalty and overall commitment to cheer in Northern Indiana Pop Warner. This award is a symbol of what Brian and Chris Lidgard gave to our organization and serves as a reminder of everything they did for us paving the way to who we are today.

2022 – Highland Pop Warner


Cheer Coordinator of the Year

This award is given to the Cheer Coordinator of an association who similarly to the Brian & Chris Lidgard Cheer Award shows the similar qualities to his or her own organization and to NIPWLS.

2022 – Destinee Manyek (Highland Pop Warner)


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Northern Indiana Pop Warner Little Scholars


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Northern Indiana Pop Warner Little Scholars


Email: [email protected]
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