Edwardsville grad McGinnis to be honored at Emig Foundation event

For the News-DemocratSeptember 18, 2013 

An athlete who overcame a severe physical setback, two volunteers who have made youth sports a reality for their community, a coach who changed the lives of young athletes and an athlete/businessman who continues to give back to the sport he loves.

These are among the honorees that will be recognized at the Bob Emig Foundation "Celebrating Leaders in Youth Sports" event to be held Thursday, Oct. 3, at Horizon at Harry's in Downtown St. Louis.

Tickets for the event are $100 per person or $800 for a group of 10, and include beer, wine, martini bar and heavy hors d'oeuvres. Tickets and sponsorship opportunities are available through Camille at the Bob Emig Foundation 618-343-2898 or camille8@charter.net.

The master of ceremonies will be Joe Wiley, former Belleville West and St. Louis University basketball star and sports analyst.

Proceeds will benefit the Bob Emig Foundation, named for the late Bob Emig, an area sportswriter and leader in developing youth through participation in sports. The Foundation focuses on "Inspiring Youth Athletes ... Transforming Lives" by providing youth opportunities to enjoy the benefits of a healthy sports experience, educating them on the benefits of sports to health and life skills development, and encouraging "going beyond the game" to allow for a learning life experience.

The event will benefit a number of area youth organizations including the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Center in East St. Louis and three St. Louis city schools trying to start sports programs.

The Todd Bruns Athlete Award honoree is Morgan McGinnis, of Edwardsville. A role model for youth in hard work and determination, McGinnis was a four-time state qualifier in girls tennis at Edwardsville High School, finishing with a career record of 135-54. She was a sectional singles champion in 2010 and 2011.

But the heart of her story is her journey back from a stroke suffered in February 2012 while playing an interclub match, which left her temporarily paralyzed on the left side of her body. She had to literally relearn tennis during her junior year and battle back for nearly eight months from this life threatening setback.

McGinnis became a sectional doubles champion with her partner Megan LaRose. The duo won three matches at the IHSA state tournament, where she was awarded the Tom Pitchford Sportsmanship award.

McGinnis began her collegiate tennis career this fall at Quincy University. A leader on and off the court, Morgan is also involved in "Mitch N Friends," an organization that conducts tennis clinics for individuals with physical or mental challenges. It was founded by her high school tennis coach, David Lipe, and was named after Morgan's twin brother Mitchell McGinnis, who was diagnosed with Autism at the age of three.

The Jim Emig Coach Award honoree is Norm Armstrong, of Glen Carbon, who served in various coaching capacities at Belleville West High School from 1958 until his retirement in 1989.

For many of those years, he was head track and cross country coach for both boys and girls. In 1990, he was named to the Illinois Track and Cross Country Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

During his successful career, he coached state champion shot putter Tom Stock and All-state basketball standout Joe Wiley.

One of the most rewarding aspects of his coaching career was sponsoring the Fellowship of Christian Athletes group for more than 20 years. His positive impact on the young athletes was felt on and off the field.

The Cathy Hill Volunteer Award honorees are Tonya Powell and Robyn Curtis of Maplewood, Mo.

The Bob Emig Award honoree is David Brcic, of St. Louis, retired professional soccer goalkeeper and president of Soccer Master. Soccer Master was one of the first sponsors of the Tournament of Champions started by Emig in the late 1980s, one of the few tournaments for recreational soccer teams.

Emig was a sports reporter for the Metro-East Journal from 1966 until it closed in 1979. During his career, he was also a freelance reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, KMOX Radio and the Suburban Journal newspapers. Emig served as the editor for the Redbird Review newspaper in the early '80s. From 1994-2001,

Emig was the director of competition for the Prairie State Games, Illinois' largest amateur sports festival.

In 2001, he was named to the Illinois High School Basketball Association Hall of Fame for his media contributions throughout the years. Emig was also a Lifetime Honorary member of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Emig coached youth baseball, basketball, and soccer, including the Goalbusters, which became one of the metro-east's most successful select boys teams. He also coached freshman and junior varsity at Althoff High School.

He originated and ran the Annual Tournament of Champions' soccer tournament from 1987 to 2000, raising thousands of dollars for youth teams. He served as athletic director at Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic School in Collinsville from 1993 to 1998 and also served the same position years previous at St. John Neumann Catholic School in Maryville.

To learn more visit EmigFoundation.org and Facebook.com/BobEmigFoundation

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