Ron Hunerdosse was named the 2018 Friend of Education Monday during the Educators Appreciation Breakfast at Fairfield Middle School.
The award is the second Hunerdosse has earned in as many months. In April, he was named one of the two Citizens of the Year at the Fairfield Area Chamber of Commerce?s annual banquet.
?First of all, it?s a real honor to receive this award,? Hunerdosse said in an interview. ?I went to school here. This place was my playground, where I?ve lived all my life.?
Hunerdosse spoke about attending Washington and Pence schools, graduating from Fairfield High School and going on to attend and graduate from Parsons College. He began teaching at FHS in the fall of 1972, but left for a semester to pursue a career as a physical therapist. It did not take long for him to see he belonged at FHS.
?Physical therapy didn?t work out because I hated science to begin with,? he said. ?I realized school was the best place for me.?
Hunerdosse tried to work his way back into the district. He started off small, working as a part-time study hall monitor.
?After that I became fulltime. They wanted me to stick around, I guess because they needed a study hall monitor,? he joked.
Before long, Hunerdosse was teaching physical education. His time after school was spent coaching. In fact, Hunerdosse can hardly remember a day during his tenure when he wasn?t coaching at least one sport.
?The running sports were my passion,? he said. ?I coached about every level of both genders, but with track and cross-country, I only coached girls.?
At one point in the 1970s, Hunerdosse was an assistant coach for Bob Bradfield?s softball team.
?I had a good time doing that, and I enjoyed softball because I had played it myself,? he said. ?But I quickly realized that coaching year-round was a little crazy. I needed a break, and I felt like my own kids were neglected because I got home late.?
Hunerdosse credits his wife Linda for doing the lion?s share of child-rearing. The couple raised three children: Kari, Eric and Erin.
He retired from teaching in 2008 but continued coaching at the high school level for several years. He transitioned to coaching middle school cross-country, and thought that 2014 would be his last year. Activities director Jeff Courtright told him the middle school needed a track coach, too. Hunerdosse said he?d do it if no one else would, and lo and behold, he wound up with a whistle in his mouth that spring.
?Fairfield?s really fortunate to have Jeff. He?s the best activities director I?ve been around, and I?ve been around some good ones,? Hunerdosse said.
This past year, Hunerdosse assisted with the high school girls? basketball team. Senior Nicole Buch, who broke the school?s all-time scoring record this year, is his niece.
?Head coach Brian Witzenburg put me in charge of substituting,? he said. ?He gave me the freedom to sub as I saw fit. It took me awhile to keep track of fouls, but I got used to it.?
Hunerdosse said that, as much as he cares for the kids in the district, it?s finally time to leave coaching to someone else.
?I don?t want to do to my grandkids what I did to my kids,? he said. ?Those middle school track kids deserve to be No. 1 for somebody, and my grandkids are No. 1 for me.?
In addition to his illustrious coaching career, Hunerdosse was responsible for creating the Trojan Honor Plaza to honor Jim Evans and Fred Behner, both longtime community leaders who graduated from FHS in the 1960s.
?The plaza was a labor of love for me,? he said.