One of Don Nelson’s duties when he was a Baldwin-Woodville teacher and coach was to paint the Blackhawk logo and the hash marks before every football game.
Times have certainly changed.
“The football field is gorgeous,” Nelson said Friday during the athletic complex grand opening before B-W’s football game against Ellsworth. “For our school of this size to have something like this is remarkable.”
The public was invited to tour the athletic complex which included the completion of the pool, the new baseball/softball field and the new football field turf and eight lane running track.
“This is very impressive,” stated Wade Labecki.
Added Jack Scholz: “I think this is the best facility in the area.”
Nelson, Labecki and Scholz were honorary guests of the school for their efforts over the years to Baldwin-Woodville athletics.
Nelson was the longtime track and field coach for 25 years. He saw two conference championships and a state championship in 1983. He still lives within walking distance from Baldwin-Woodville High School.
Scholz was head baseball coach for 17 years and head football coach for 19 years. During his time as head football coach, the team was state runner-up in 1981 and state champion in 1987.
Labecki then became head football coach for 17 years and saw five conference championships, a state championship in 1992 and a state runner-up in 1994 during his tenure.
“I was investigating a field turf and then I left,” he said.
He then moved onto the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association, where he was Deputy Director from 2009-2021.
“I wasn’t envisioning anything like this,” he said, noting it was always his plans to come back to Baldwin-Woodville after his WIAA time ended.
While the trio gushed over the facilities, they saved their most praise for the new pool.
“It’s a beautiful pool,” Scholz said. “It’s something the community has needed for years.”
Labecki noted when he was football coach, he had his players in the old pool as much as possible to strengthen their conditioning. District officials predict the dome over the pool will be installed next month.
Cheerleaders gave public tours of the complex while food trucks were onsite from 4 p.m. through halftime.
The new athletic complex was thanks to Baldwin-Woodville School District voters passing a referendum back in April 2020. The final total was 1,793 ‘yes’ votes to 703 ‘no’ votes. The total cost of the referendum is $12.5 million. Because of existing debt expiring, the cost to the resident was zero.