Sports has been a way of life for Mike Urbanski and his family.
Urbanski played football and basketball at LaSalle-Peru High School and has coached his three oldest daughters (Ashley, Avery and Addison) in softball and soccer with another one (Aubrey, 3) on the way up.
His wife, Laura, was a three-sport athlete at Fieldcrest High School and received a volleyball scholarship to Butler University.
His father-in-law, Bill Forrest, coached high school baseball in Wenona and was head softball coach at IVCC.
It comes as no surprise to see him named as the new head softball coach at St. Bede Academy. He was recently introduced to succeed Bill Prokup, who resigned after two seasons due to increased travel requirements with a job promotion.
“I am very excited to lead this program,” Urbanski said. “I think it is an honor and a privilege to have the opportunity to be taking over this program. St. Bede has great tradition, and I have already received so much support from the community. I have talked to Coach Prokup, and this team has a great deal of talent returning. I want to produce a team and a program that is fundamentally sound so we can be competitive year after year. I feel that fundamentals are the key to success.”
Urbanski, 41, has been a physical education teacher at LaSalle Public Schools for 15 years. He has coached all different levels of softball, most recently as manager of his daughter’s (Ashley) minor league all-star team this summer. He has also coached basketball at all different levels including freshman girls at LaSalle-Peru High School as well as a 15-year stint coaching junior high track in LaSalle.
Urbanski said his daughters, aka the “A” team, loved when he coached freshman basketball at L-P sitting behind the bench and watching everything going on.
“I love to coach, and I see myself doing this for many years. My wife and I have always played, coached and had competitive sports as a part of our lives,” Urbanski said. “I think this is a great move for me and my family. We are excited to build a strong program.”
He’ll have someone who shares his passion for softball close by in his father-in-law, who coached at IVCC from 1996-99.
“He will be a great asset to the program and knows the game inside and out,” Ubranski said.
The same could be said for Urbanski.
Van Drew passes: It was with sadness I learned of the passing of former WZOE sportscaster Dave Van Drew. It was only fitting I heard the news while driving to a game Tuesday night. When I arrived in town years ago, I made road trips with Dave and his sidekick Greg Halbleib in the old WZOE Fan Van, as we called it.
My favorite Dave Van Drew memory came during one of his broadcasts of the Plano Christmas Classic. Someone bumped into the press table and spilled a drink all over Dave’s scorebook, and while on the air, Dave exclaimed, “some absolute moron, just spilled a drink all over my scorebook.”
That was Dave. He called them how he saw them. He was a true friend.
Award to Slevin: Congrats to one of my other good friends in the radio business, Lenny Slevin, for his upcoming honor. Fully settled into retirement, the longtime Voice of the Valley is one of four recipients to receive the Illinois High School Association’s inaugural Distinguished Media Service Award.
The award was created based on a recommendation from the IHSA Media Advisory Committee and seeks to recognize media members who have covered high school sports and activities in Illinois for a significant period of time, while maintaining perspective on the amateur events they report on.
Slevin had a 42-year career on radio, most of which was WLPO. He signed off for the final time from the IHSA State Softball Tournament this spring covering the St. Bede Lady Bruins.
Kevin Hieronymus is the BCR sports editor. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org