Walt Tylicki Memoriał Award
He never coached a state championship, but in the hearts and minds of everyone who knew him, Walt Tylicki was truly a champion.
The star of the team, the 12th man, the academically gifted, and the academically challenged, all were equal in his eyes. He was their coach.
Walt's abiding faith in the basic goodness and worth of every person was a transforming power in the lives of thousands of young men and women, on and off the court.
Walt Tylicki's legacy serves as the template for selecting recipients of this award.
The coaches association established the Walt Tylicki Memorial Award in 2006 to recognize longtime educators and coaches who have devoted an entire career to helping people become better athletes and students.
Tylicki, a graduate of Rockhurst University, turned his love of basketball into a long career as a teacher, counselor and assistant coach spending 29 years at Bishop Miege High School.
Rob James, 2022 Recipient
Rob James just completed his 15th season as an assistant boys basketball coach. He was the varsity assistant for Derek Howard at Minnetonka for five years before spending the last 10 seasons at Liberty North. He was the junior varsity coach for 7 years under Head Coach Chris McCabe. He continued as the JV coach for two years under Cy Musser, and was the varsity assistant this past season.
Coach James was diagnosed with undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma - a rare form of cancer - in September of 2019. Since then, he has had four major surgeries, 25 radiation treatments, and undergone three chemotherapy regimens. The third chemotherapy regimen began shortly after the 2021-22 season started and continued for most of the season. Despite the side effects, Coach James made it to nearly all practices and games.
On the last night of the regular season, Liberty North Head Coach Cy Muster suggested that Coach James serve as the head coach for the night. The Eagles responded with a victory. Coach James’s son Quinton scored a season-high in the game.
At the conclusion of the season, his fellow Suburban Gold Conference coaches selected Coach James as the Conference Coach of the Year.
Coach James resides in Liberty with his wife Winky, son Quinton, and step-son Jackson Triplett. His step-daughter Sydney Triplett lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan. A non-faculty coach, Coach James operates a one-man law firm.
2019 Jim Page
2018 John Morris
2017 Kevin Harrison
2016 Richard Murphy
2015 Jude Gerstner
2014 Tim Bishop
2013 Kevin Levetzow
2012 Mike Nelson
2011 Kelly Ponzer
2010 Jack Smith
2009 Larry Park
2008 Bill Reardon