By Alex Strouf, The Denmark News
Success in wrestling is becoming a normal thing at Denmark High School. This time, though, it was one of the coaches being recognized for their achievements.
Lennie Shefchik has been an assistant wrestling coach at Denmark the last 33 seasons. For the last 50 years, Shefchik has been doing some sort of coaching at numerous high schools in the area.
Outside of wrestling, the 71-year-old is also doing great things. In 1990, Shefchik co-founded Paper Transport, Inc., or PTI, which is now a multi-million dollar company with over 800 employees, spreading all over the United States.
On Sunday, Shefchik was honored for his dedication to the sport of wrestling and his success and entrepreneurship off of the mat with the Outstanding American Award, presented by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. Under 60 recipients nationwide have ever accepted this honor. Shefchik is only the second person to ever receive this award in Wisconsin in the 35 years of it’s existence.
Other recipients of this illustrious award include former presidents George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt, as well as ESPN host Mike Golic, numerous doctors, military colonels, and successful entrepreneurs.
Shefchik fit the criteria to a T, according to Krista Graff, state chapters director for the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
“The application for the Outstanding American Award includes providing information on what the nominee does in their life and professional career, as well as giving back some of the characteristics developed through wrestling,” said Graff.
Shefchik is a 1965 graduate of Luxemburg High School. In high school, Shefchik was a two-time individual state qualifier. Shefchik was the first Luxemburg High School student to ever wrestle at the collegiate level, which he did for one year at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
Since then, Shefchik has pursued his love for wrestling as often as possible.
Shefchik came to Denmark as an assistant coach in 1984, working alongside longtime friend Stan Yazawa for 29 years. In 2011, Yazawa became the first and only person from Denmark to be inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
According to both Shefchik and the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, he will continue to coach as long as his health allows and he feels as if he’s making an impact, which he’s done for the 13last 50 years.