The Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District will rename its indoor pool after longtime athletic director Bob Joers, Director of Communications Perry Hibner announced this week.
“There are so many people in the community who do so much and I’m humbled and honored by this recognition,’’ Joers said.
Joers passed away on May 15. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last fall. The MHS media production department put together a tribute video to honor Joers:
Joers was the MCPA Indoor Pool’s first director when it opened in 1990. He has served as the Middleton High School athletic director since 2011. He also was the school’s athletic director from 1995-2004 before he and his wife, Cindy, purchased The Little Gym.
Joers was named the Big Eight Conference Athletic Director of the Year in 2019 along with the Wisconsin Athletic Directors District 5 Athletic Director of the Year.
He was also the MHS boys and girls swimming and diving teams for more than a decade starting in 1988. Prior to coming to the District, he worked at the YMCA, was the race director of the Madison Triathlon and served as a coach for the Middleton Gators youth swimming program.
“It is only fitting that we name the indoor pool after Bob,’’ Superintendent Dana Monogue said. “Bob is an icon in the community. He has done so much for our students, coaches and families over the years. He has always put people first. He has also built one of the top athletic departments in the state. On top of all that, Bob is a great person.’’
Middleton High School is currently undergoing a two-phase rebuilt and expansion that is expected to be completed for the start of the 2022-23 school year. Changes to the exterior of the indoor pool are part of first phase of the project and the plan would be to add signage naming the facility after Joers during that time, Hibner said. That part of the project should be completed by spring 2021, Hibner said.
Joers graduated from UW-Madison, where he also swam, in 1987.
Joers led Middleton to a runner-up finish at the WIAA Division 1 boys swimming state championship in 2000. The Cardinals also finished third at state for three consecutive years from 2002-04. He was honored as the Wisconsin Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association state boys coach of the year three times over a four-year period.
Joers also founded the Mad-Town Aquatic swim team in 1990 and served as a coach until 2005.
Among the highlights during Joers’ tenure as athletic director:
- MHS has received the Award of Excellence from the WIAA twice over the past three years. MHS was one of 15 schools to receive the inaugural award in 2016-17. MHS was also one of 27 schools to be recognized in 2018-19.
- MHS won the prestigious WSN Cup for the first time in 2019. The Cup recognizes schools that achieve success in WIAA-sponsored sports. Hartland Arrowhead had won the Cup every prior year since it was first awarded in 2007-08.
MHS won WIAA Division 1 state titles in girls golf, boys cross country, and boys swimming and diving in 2019-20. The MHS girls co-op hockey team took second in state in March, while the girls basketball team was ranked No. 1 and seeded first in Division 1 before the WIAA canceled the state tournament. The MHS girls snowboard team also won its fourth consecutive state championship.
MHS has won 19 WIAA state titles since 1997 and finished second at state more than 30 times in that span. The Cardinals have 28 varsity athletic teams.
In addition, Joers helped negotiate a five-year contract with BSN Sports in May 2018 that outfitted all MHS athletic teams with Nike. The contract netted the District more than $100,000 in the first year.
Joers was also instrumental in having a handful of MHS student-athletes participate in the annual WIAA Sportsmanship Summit, sponsored by Rural Mutual Insurance, that was held annually in Stevens Point every December.
“That pool was always his vision and is there because of him and his desire to bring the sport of swimming into our community for thousands of children to grow up knowing and loving,’’ MHS girls swimming and diving coach Lauren Cabalka said. “He was the only coach I ever knew, from age 6 through my years at MHS. He was the first person to believe in me as a coach and is the reason I am able to coach in the program he started from scratch.’’