kuhlmann

Holmen High School gymnastics coach Karen Kuhlmann (left), seen during a meet last season, was recently honored as a national coach of the year. Kuhlmann, who has led the Vikings to two state championships and 11 conference titles, started coaching at Holmen in 1985.

NATE BEIER photo

Karen Kuhlmann can add video star to her long list of accomplishments. The Holmen High School gymnastics coach has been selected as one of the faces to launch this year’s U.S. Cellular’s Most Valuable Coach program

Kuhlmann was one of the coaches from Wisconsin taped for a YouTube video about the MVC program. The program recognizes high school coaches who inspire not only their players, but their school and community.

The video, filmed at Performance Elite Gymnastics on French Island can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UaG3ZeSQPnY&feature=youtu.be.

The 33-year HHS coach was chosen to help U.S. Cellular kick off the program by agreeing to appear in the launch-video and act as an ambassador for the program. Kuhlmann asked five people from the community to also be part of the filming.

“All are involved in Holmen gymnastics,” Kuhlmann said. “One is a parent’s whose kid has cancer and took part in Camp Sunshine.”

Camp Sunshine was offered through the efforts of Alyssa Harlan and her family, former owners of Jellystone Campground in Warrens.

“We were part of the volunteer staff that went to Camp Sunshine to help with the daily schedule,” said Kuhlmann.

Kuhlmann isn’t sure how U.S. Cellular learned about her, but she’s active in gymnastics beyond Holmen. In addition to serving as president of the State High School Gymnastics Association, she sits on the WIAA gymnastics council and was selected in 2015 as one of the Coaches of the Year by the National Federation of State High School Associations Coaches Association.

She’s coached the HHS girls’ gymnastics team to back-to-back state championships in 2005 and 2006. Under Kuhlmann’s tutelage, the team has competed at state 17 times as a team and individual team member have qualified every year except three. The team has also earned multiple MVC titles.

“At U.S. Cellular, we want to celebrate the positive impact that high school coaches have on students and players and the communities that come together to support their teams,” said Dan Allind, area sales manager at U.S. Cellular. “As a company that strives to be a part of our local communities, we look forward to hearing inspiring coaching stories from the La Crosse community.”

Nominations for the Most Valuable Coach accepted until 11:59 a.m. Monday on TheMostValuableCoach.com website. Sport supporters in the Holmen community and across the country can recognize local coaches who have inspired young athletes can do so by nominating them on the MVC website.

“We want to celebrate the positive impact that high school coaches have on students and players and the communities that come together to support their teams,” said Alicia Wilson, account coordinator with Laughlin Constable advertising agency. “The (MVC) program provides people in our local communities with a platform to rally around an important figure in their community. With any sport, the coaching role extends far beyond training; they are teachers, friends, mentors and so much more. U.S. Cellular is recognizing those who have helped shape the future members of their community. “

Nominated coaches will be evaluated based on leadership qualities and positive impact within and outside the gymnasium or athletic fields.

The Top 50 coaches will be announced at noon Sept. 19. The public can then vote on their favorite at TheMostValuableCoach.com until noon Oct. 9. The top 15 vote-getters will advance to the Final 15 nominees.

The schools of the Final 15 coaches will be awarded $5,000 to use as they choose. The schools will also host a local event celebrating the honor and create a short video relating the coach’s story, which will be posted on TheMostValuableCoach.com.

Voting to select the top winning coach nationwide begins at noon CT Oct. 12 and runs until 11:59 a.m. CT Nov. 14. The winning coach will be announced at noon CT Nov. 20.

The winning coach will receive a $50,000 donation to the charitable organization of their choosing or their high school athletic department, a trip to Orlando, Fla., and an on-field recognition at the Under Armour High School All-America Game.

For more information and to view the official program rules, visit TheMostValuableCoach.com.

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