2002 Coach of the Year Award
By Nebraska State Chairman and the USA Powerlifting Teenage/Junior Chairman James Hart
I first met Tod in February 1999 when he brought lifters to the Women's Nationals in Lincoln, Nebraska. Later that same year he brought 4 lifters to the 1999 USA Powerlifting Teenage/Junior Nationals in Lincoln, Nebraska. He now has over 20 Teenagers that qualify each year.
Since that time, Tod has continually built that program into one of the best High School programs in the Nation. His program is so big that this last year with the High School National Championships the same day as the Michigan State High School meet, Tod split his team sending his top lifters to the Nationals and sent his B Team to the State Meet. His Men's team placed 4th at the Nationals. His Women's team took 2nd, by 1 point. But the combined team took the Championships. His B Team, coached by 4 former High School Lifters finished 2nd at the State Meet.
Here is what Tod has done over the last few years:
1998 - Founded the Plainwell High School Powerlifting Team. Started with about 8 lifters - 6 men and 2 women. Qualified
4 men for Teen/Jr Nationals.
February 1999 - Coach of the Plainwell High School Women's Powerlifting Team - USAPL Women's Teenage/Junior National Championships, Lincoln, Nebraska. First place finish.
1999 and 2000 - Michigan High School Powerlifting Coaches Association High School State Championships. First place finish both years by both the men's and women's team.
March 1999 - Coach of the Plainwell Men's Powerlifting Team - USAPL High School National Championship, Killeen, Texas. Fifth place national finish.
June 1999 - Coach of the Plainwell Knights, USAPL Men's Teenage/Junior National Championships, Lincoln, Nebraska. Second place finish.
March 2000 - Coach of the Plainwell High School Powerlifting Team - USAPL High School National Championship, Neenah, Wisconsin. Men's team finished 4th and Women's team finished 5th in the nation. Men/Women's Combined Team
3rd place finish.
June 2000-Coach of the Plainwell Knights, USA Powerlifting (USAPL) Teenage/Junior Men's National Championship Team, Killeen, Texas.
September 12-17, 2000 - Coach of the USA Powerlifting Junior National Team at the 2000 International Powerlifting
Federation World Championship in Taiwan. Team members are 14 - 23 years old. The men placed 2nd and the women placed 3rd out of 16 competing countries.
January 2001-Coach of the Plainwell Knights Women's team, National Championships. 1 st place Teenage/Junior division.
April 2001-Coach of the Plainwell High School Powerlifting Team-US APL High school National Championships, Killeen, Texas. Men's team finished 4th, Women's team finished 2nd Men's / Women's combined team, 2nd place.
June 2001 - Coach of the Plainwell Knights, USA Powerlifting (USAPL) Teenage/Junior Men's National Championship Team in Chicago.
September 28-October 1 Selected as Head Coach USA Powerlifting Sub-junior National Team at the IPF Powerlifting
World Powerlifting Championships at Sochi, Russia. Team member's range in the age of 14-18 from across the USA.
(Cancelled due to Sept.11)
February 2002 Coach of the Plainwell Knights Women's Team - 2nd place finish at the USAPL Women's Nationals (to Team Titan). Several Teen national champions and one Open Champion - Erin Dickey.
March 2002 - Coach of the Plainwell High School Powerlifting Team, USAPL High School National Championships, St. Louis, MO. Women's team finished 2nd, Men's team finished 4th, Combined team First place finish. Seven national champions, five women earn spots on the Sub-Junior (14-18 year old) National Team. (Plainwell's "B" team traveled to Goodrich, MI for the Michigan High School Powerlifting Coaches Association's High School State Championships on the same weekend and finished 2nd, The team was coached by 4 former high school lifters.)
May 2002 - USAPL Assistant Coach, Women's National Team - Competing at the IPF World Championships in Germany. Plainwell lifter, Erin Dickey competed at this competition.
September 2002 - Head Coach USAPL Sub-Junior National Team - Competing at the IPF SubJunior World Championships in Taiwan. (Five Plainwell women will compete with this team, several men will vie for positions.)
2002 - The Plainwell Knights have 73 active members. Ages of the team members range from 10-62.
2002 Brother Bennet Award
P.J. was unable to attend this years event due to illness related to his experiences in Viet Nam. I'm sure that all USAPL members would wish PJ a speedy recovery. Below is the profile of PJ that was published in the first issue of Powerlines.
By Mike Mooney
He's USA Powerlifting's version of a jetsetter. One month he may leave his home, perched on the lava flows of his beloved Hawaiian home and travel to St. Louis, working 20-hour days as the Technical Secretary at the USAPL's Men's Nationals. The next month he may be in Denmark or South Africa, sitting in a referee's chair and calling our kilogram loads from memory. It seems P. J. Couvillion is everywhere USAPL lifters compete. No matter where he's needed, or how far he has to go, P.J. will be there and just about every cent of his considerable personal travel budget comes out his own pocket.
P.J. has the iron game in his genes. His father, Hansel Couvillion, a transplanted Cajun, owned the famous 9th Street Gym in Baltimore for many years. P.J. grew up around big people moving big weights and it's one of the loves of his life since. P.J. still boasts about his father's strength "…he could break a broom handle by twisting it in his hands…" says P.J. "In those days grip strength was a test of a person's overall strength and people worked on it. In my father's gym all the dumbbells had 2" diameter handles to work the grip". Hansel was a champion in the bent press, a now long forgotten one armed, over the head barbell lift.
When he was a young man the Couvillion family retraced Hansel's steps back to the South, to North Carolina specifically, where P.J. worked with his father, traveling the world servicing those large oil tanks that dot the landscape in industrial towns and cities. P.J. attended college on a dual football and golf scholarship and he stills swings a sweet game every now and again. When P.J. was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1966 his life took a decisive turn when he was badly wounded in the Republic of South Vietnam. After a long and arduous rehabilitation he came to a life altering decisions: he wanted to live in Hawaii, a state (and state of mind) that he had tasted earlier in his life and wanted to return to. He packed up his young son Chris, now an accomplished power lifter in his own right, and traded life on his parent's North Carolina farm for the black lava beds of Keaau on the big island of Hawaii.
With his genetic roots deeply planted in weightlifting, and what the was called "odd lifts" it was natural for P.J. to gravitate towards the godfather of powerlifting in Hawaii, Gus Rethweisch - one of the world's strongest men and meet promoter without peer. With P.J.'s background as a weightlifting and powerlifting referee Gus put P.J. right into a judges chair at one Gus' Hawaii Record Breakers meet and it seems P.J.'s been there ever since.
In time P.J. meet Odd Haugen, a top executive of 24 Hour Fitness and as with Gus Rethweisch, one of the world's strongest men. Odd, winner of so many strong man contests - even today at 50 years old handily beating men decades younger - shared P.J.'s passion for the sport of powerlifting and together they formed a friendship and partnership that endures and benefits Hawaiian lifters today. And what lifters Hawaii claims as its own, names such as Tony Harris (1999 and 2000 USAPL 100 kg national champion), Tony Leiato (USAPL 1999 125 kg champion), the irrepressible Quincy Guzman, Nando Corpuz, Adin Kong and Eric Funakoshi to name just a few.
In 1997 P.J. traveled to Chicago for the then ADFPA Men's Nationals and made a lasting impression on lifters and officials alike. He volunteered for every assignment that he could- 6 am weigh-in's, late night gear check, sitting as a referee in any session he could find an open slot. When he wasn't judging he helped the platform crew by acting as platform manager, calling kilo loads from memory, a skill that very few possess. When the long meet was over and P.J. lagged behind and helped meet directors Dennis and Sandy Brady break down the venue. P.J. was someone who came to a meet ready to work and to help; it did not go unnoticed.
P.J. amongst the first group of USAPL candidates to take the IPF Category II test and by doing revealed another talent: P. J. had memorized the entire rulebook - not just the rules but the book itself. P.J. recited rules verbatim and then provided the page number and the paragraph in which they appeared in the book. He added to his memory skills an instinct for fair play and the reasonable and equitable application of the rules. Qualities recognized by his fellow officials and competitors.
Early this year P.J. flew from Hawaii to the IPF Women's Worlds in Denmark where he took and passed the strenuous IPF Category I test thereby becoming USAPL's first IPF Category I official. Since his test in Denmark was to essentially take the position of Technical Secretary, under John Stevenson's close direction and watchful eye, it was natural for USAPL's president, Mike Overdeer, to ask P.J. to perform that same function at the 1999 Men's Nationals. P.J. accepted the assignment and typically threw himself into the task; working weeks before the meet to organize the myriad jobs and tasks, then working tirelessly during the three day event and, as has become a P.J. custom, helping Mike Cissell to break down the venue after the meet concluded.
To ensure that USAPL receives every point possible in IPF competition P.J. has made a commitment to attend every international championship. In 1999 and 2000 his travel schedule included:
USAPL Women's Nationals
If you add up just his 1999 and 2000 air miles they likely exceed the average person's lifetime's of airport delays, long and cramped flights, questionable airline food and jet lag. And through it all he maintains his zest for the sport, his dedication to the lifter, his support for USAPL and his pure joy in just being able to participate.
USAPL Men's Nationals
USAPL Masters Nationals
USA vs. Canada Challenge
IPF Women's Worlds
IPF Masters Worlds
IPF Men's Worlds
A nomination for the Brother Bennet Award that should not go unoticed was the nomination of Ed Nellor, by his good friend James Hart:
As some may already know, Nebraska Powerlifting suffered a tragic loss on April 21st. One of the pioneers of Powerlifting in Nebraska, and my mentor, passed away. Ed Nellor turned 51 on April 21st and passed away that same day.
Ed Nellor, originally from Beemer Nebraska, began his lifting career while attending Wayne State College in 1974. After college Ed returned to Beemer, where he farmed and began the Beemer Barbell Club. This is where I first began lifting. During the next few years Ed spent numerous hours training high school kids in Powerlifting. Many of these kids used the weightlifting to increase their abilities on the sports fields/courts. Beemer had numerous successful football teams using the foundation that was built on the Nellor farm.
In the late 70s I saw Ed attempt a World Record Deadlift of 692 lb, while competing in the 165 lb class. Unfortunately this meet director, though very experienced poorly constructed his platform and the plywood with the seam down the middle started sliding apart. With the bar at Ed's knee he did the splits with 692 lbs.
Soon after Ed moved to Omaha, where he owned a gym. Many more lifters passed through his hands, one of them was Mark Schellen, who used the tools that Ed helped him with and played football at LNL. Ed got out of lifting in the late 80s, but came back to the sport in 1991 when I moved back to Nebraska and took over the ADEPA. With Ed's help we took the state from 62 lifters to over 200. With Ed's help I was able to bring 10 National Championships to Nebraska.
Ed continued to maintain the Nebraska Records. Ed kept rankings of all of the lifts ever done in the State. He maintained rankings for men, for women, for masters, and for teenagers. He keeps top 100 rankings for all lifters in Nebraska throughout the History of the Sport. When I took over as State Chair in 1991 1 realized that there were problems with the records. Even though Ed had been pretty' much out of the picture for the last few years, he still had the statistics so that we were able to rebuild the records.
A lot of what I am able to teach the kids I coach, came from the foundation that Ed gave me when he first started coaching me. Ed coached me for 3 years and during those 3 years I never paid him a dime for his time. And actually he drove me to most of the contests I went to, at his own expense. One of the reasons I give my time freely to the lifters I coach is because of the time Ed gave me. Had Ed not spent the time with other lifters and myself through the years, we would not be bringing National Champions to Omaha and sending lifters from Nebraska to World Championships.
Over the last year I have seen children of Ed's previous trainees begin lifting. These previous trainees have begun to spend time in the judges' chair and doing administrative things for the sport also.
Nebraska and USA Powerlifting owes Ed a lot for the time he spent and the foundation he built. Many lifters have benefited directly and indirectly from what Ed gave this sport.
I nominated Ed for this award last year, and here is the last paragraph of my nomination: "Please support me in bringing this award to Ed. Ed would be here this weekend, but unfortunately he has been experiencing some MAJOR health problems over the last year. We may not have another opportunity to recognize Ed for his efforts." Little did I know how true this statement would be.
I appreciate your support.
JAMES C. HART