Bucyrus Cross Country Coach Receives State Recognition
It’s never been about the money, the glory or the fame for any high school athletics coach. This is especially true for Carl Rittenour, the long time boys and girls cross country coach at Bucyrus High School. At the end of every summer for the past 20-plus years, Rittenour, and his wife Babette, have brought young men and women together to take a journey through the challenges and victories of a grueling cross country season. He has, from his first day, worked to instill sound principles of discipline, teamwork and good sportsmanship in every athlete he has coached. For his dedication to the sport of Girls Cross Country, its coaches, athletes and schools throughout Ohio, Rittenour received the Sportsmanship, Ethics and Integrity Award for Girls Cross Country during the Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches (OATCCC) Hall of Fame dinner January 25.
A lifelong resident of Bucyrus, Rittenour has worked for the Timken Roller Bearing Company for 38 years. During his coaching tenure, he has been able to make practices and meets by working different shifts and swinging some time throughout the years.
"I've always believed its been a privilege and honor to coach so many seasons," Rittenour said. "Many people don't get the chance to do this, as I have not taught in the school system, and I have been blessed to have had the opportunity to try to help students and athletes be successful in life."
According to John Knickel, long time Carey High School girls track and field coach and the District 6 representative to the OATCCC, this an honor that carries great significance with the leadership of the Ohio High School Athletic Association.
"This award is not about wins and championships or Coach of the Year awards," Knickel said. "This is about how the coach respects the sport, the other coaches, schools and all athletes. It’s also about how the coach's staff and their team's athletes represent themselves during and after competition."
Carl began his coaching career when he was approached to coach the Middle School distance runners.
"I had no idea what I was doing, but thought the opportunity would be exciting," Rittenour said. "I met Babette and she started running and coaching with me. We've been fortunate to be able to coach together for a total of more than 100 seasons together, and we look forward to many more."
While Knickel, and the OATCCC, recognize the significance of the Rittenours' coaching tenure, he and the association are more impressed by the couple’s willingness to help and give to other coaches, athletes and schools.
"One thing that is always certain about Carl and the Bucyrus Athletic Department is the willingness to help," Knickel said. "They always share anything they can and are always trying to help anyone that asks."
One example of this giving spirit is when Rittenour and the Athletic Department let a school use the Bucyrus track and equipment for several seasons so the other school wouldn't have to give up their invitational when their track was in need of repair.
"I have always thought that helping in any way possible and promoting good sportsmanship was the right thing to do,"Rittenour said. "All coaches do these things, and the bottom line is the development of young people so they have good experiences in high school athletics and be the best they can be.
"Whether they are league champions, state competitors or just part of a team, every student athlete should leave with many good memories."
Bucyrus Athletics and Activities Director Tom Jeffrey has seen first hand how Rittenour has been a positive role model for student athletes.
"Carl has always represented Bucyrus High School by modeling positive behaviors for our athletes," Jeffrey said. “We would like to congratulate Coach Rittenour on this well-deserved honor."
Bucyrus City Schools Superintendent Kevin Kimmel has worked with Rittenour at different levels and recognizes the positive contributions the coach has had on students and the district.
"I have had the pleasure of working with Coach Rittenour for the past 15 years in my roles as athletic director, building administrator and now Superintendent," Kimmel said. "One thing about all of the teams that Coach Rittenour has coached through the years is that they have always represented Bucyrus Schools in a positive light with the highest degree of sportsmanship.
"On behalf of the Bucyrus City School District, I would like to congratulate Coach Rittenour on this commendation and thank him for his dedication to our student athletes."
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