Coach inducted into hall of fame for past team achievement

Softball and basketball coach Kim Wallner guides her players through a game against Wheaton North at the end of the girls basketball season. Wallner was inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame for a team accomplishment during her time in college.

Photo by Kyle Paup

Softball and basketball coach Kim Wallner guides her players through a game against Wheaton North at the end of the girls basketball season. Wallner was inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame for a team accomplishment during her time in college.

By Kyle Paup, Editor in Chief

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For a team accomplishment over 30 years ago, head girls basketball coach Kim Wallner is being inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

While playing at North Central College in 1983, Wallner’s team won the division three NCAA national championship. She, along with the rest of her team, is now being inducted into the hall of fame for their accomplishment.

“The Illinois Basketball Coaches Association honors individuals for their accomplishments in coaching basketball in the state of Illinois, but what they also look to do is look for teams that have been successful and they try to honor them at some point,” Wallner said.

Wallner knew at an early age that she had an interest in coaching, and is still doing so after over 30 years.

“I knew I wanted to get into teaching P.E. and coaching probably in high school. Athletics had been a big part of my life, and I had had some really good mentors and role models in middle school and high school,” Wallner said.

With help from her middle school teachers and a line of coaches and mentors that would be a part of her life in high school, Wallner was guided towards her future career.

“I know most kids even back then in the ‘70s weren’t sure what they wanted to do, but I kind of had a passion and knew what I wanted to do even back then,” Wallner said.

During her basketball career, Wallner also received several recognitions as an individual.

“Individually I was an All-American. There was a prep All-American that the Carnation company did, and so that’s what I received when I was in high school,” Wallner said. “Then in college I ended up being All-American in basketball too.”

While proud of the individual recognition, Wallner notes that this was not the most memorable part of her athletic career.

“Those individual awards were great, but what I remember most and what I was most proud of since I chose to participate in a lot of team sports is the team championships,” Wallner said.

Since basketball was not the only sport that Wallner played in college, the year 1983 became even more memorable with a successful softball season.

“What was cool about winning in 1983 is that I also played softball in college and we were actually able to make the final four in softball that same year. We didn’t win, but that was pretty cool just to have that kind of experience all in one college year,” Wallner said. “It ends up that there were at least four or five of us that were on both teams, so we got to share that experience together.”

Wallner now coaches both softball and basketball at West Chicago.

“They are very different coaching wise and even playing wise, but I’ve enjoyed coaching both and enjoy the commonality of the team aspect,” Wallner said. “People ask me if I would have a first love. My passion probably was basketball, but even back then we didn’t specialize, so I played field hockey, basketball, softball in high school. And then I played basketball and softball (in college) and I enjoyed the change of seasons.”

It was the inspiration of Wallner’s role models as an athlete that lead her to a career of doing the same for others.

“I always thought that athletics have given me so much as a player that I wanted to try and give back, so I thought that coaching was my way to kind of give back for what it had done for me in my life,” Wallner said. “I thought if I coached I could give the same thing to young people that I received from the coaches that I had.”

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