For the first time, a husband and wife have been jointly selected to receive Inland Northwest Sportswriters and Broadcasters 25-Year Awards.
The plaques are annually given to those who have contributed, often behind the scenes, for the promotion and welfare of area sports.
Bill and Jo Ann Wagstaff have done so in tennis. Joining them is longtime Coeur d’Alene recreation director and softball proponent Steve Anthony, combining for more than 80 years service to their communities.
Bill Wagstaff is going on 36 years as a tennis coach at Mead, where he has won 15 Greater Spokane League boys titles and has received national honors that include the 2010 USTA Starfish Award, which goes to coaches who implement a no-cut policy, and the USTA/PNW Outstanding Contribution to the Community award.
A noted player in his own right, Bill was an NWAACC singles and doubles champion at Community Colleges of Spokane, concluded his secondary playing career at Oregon and was a highly ranked Pacific Northwest professional.
Jo is in her 29th year of coaching at Whitworth College and is also the Pirates’ associate athletic director and senior women’s administrator.
As coach, her teams have gone 306-212 and won five Northwest Conference titles. Whitworth has appeared in two NCAA Division III tournaments.
“It’s been a wonderful way for us to make a living and at the same time stay in shape,” Jo Wagstaff said.
She is a 1977 graduate of Washington State and for two years was the women’s No. 1 player for the Cougars. She and Bill were ranked No. 1 in the Pacific Northwest Region 35s mixed doubles.
Anthony recently became just the second person from North Idaho inducted into the ASA Pacific Northwest Hall of Fame for his role in growing softball in Coeur d’Alene.
He became Coeur d’Alene’s recreation director in 1985 but before that he was a player representative and District 1 commissioner.
He became the Idaho Amateur Softball Association commissioner in 2002 and is currently the Pacific Northwest regional commissioner, directing five national tournaments, eight national qualifiers and more than 40 state and regional tournaments.
“First of all I’m very appreciative of it,” Anthony said of his award. “It’s not a job, just a great experience. I wanted to make sure people would come back to Coeur d’Alene and have a positive experience.”