EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (blugolds.com) - Elroy Perkin, who is entering his third season as an assistant coach for the UW-Eau Claire wrestling team, is the 2017 recipient of the Joe Merten Coaching Award.
The award will be presented at the UW-Eau Claire Blugold Hall of Fame banquet Friday, September 29. The banquet is open to the public and tickets, which are $25, can be obtained by contacting the UWEC Alumni Office at 715 836-3266 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The awards program will begin at 6:30 p.m. preceded by a social at 4:30 p.m. and dinner at 5:30 p.m.
The Joe Merten Coaching Award is a $500 cash stipend available to any part-time assistant coach, graduate assistant or community coach in any of the 22 sports in the Blugold sports module. The award was named to honor Blugold basketball Hall of Famer Joe Merten who died in 2008. According to the family's criteria for the award, the recipient "shall demonstrate a deep commitment to the student athletes and embody a passion for lifelong learning and the 'love of the game.'"
Perkin, who competed collegiately for UW-Whitewater, arrived at Eau Claire with his college coach Tim Fader, who took over the Blugold wrestling program in 2015. Perkin was a four-year starter and two-year team captain for the Warhawks, competing from 2011 through 2015.
While at Whitewater, Perkin qualified for the NCAA championships in 2013, 2014 and 2015 while earning All-American honors his junior and senior seasons with fifth-place finishes at the nationals. He was a WIAC champion at 149 pounds in 2015 and also was the Midwest Region champion in 2013. Perkin was a prep standout at Greenfield Whitnall High School where he was a two-time conference champ and a state qualifier. Perkin graduated from UW-Whitewater with an undergraduate degree in music education.
Fader credits Perkin with being a leading factor in increasing the Blugold wrestling squad size to over 45 students for the coming season. Fader points out that Perkin works three part-time positions but has been able to attend every single practice the past two seasons. Fader said Perkin is recognized in wrestling circles as an up and coming coach.
The previous Merten award winners were Kimamo Wahome, Amanda Zenner, Amanda Schultz, Liz Germonprez, Paul Conlin, Erik Strand, Jeremy Deterville, Seth Hoyer and Marcie Schwamberger.