As the end of the 2018-19 academic year approaches, Valparaiso University head men’s soccer coach Mike Avery started to announce this year’s recipients of the program’s annual awards on Tuesday. The first award to be announced is the program’s Supporters’ Award, which has been presented to John and Rin Seibert ('76).
John Seibert, the Executive Director of the Valparaiso Parks and Recreation Department, and his wife Rin Seibert, an Associate Director of Athletics and the Director of Recreational Sports at Valparaiso University, have independently and collectively shown tremendous support to Valpo Athletics, and to men’s soccer specifically.
“John and Rin have been such passionate advocates for health, recreation and sport opportunities for so many in the Valparaiso community, and they have played such an important role in the lives of so many here at the University,” Avery said. “My family, my staff and our players past and present have been directly impacted by John and Rin and showing our appreciation for them is long overdue.
“Our soccer program has had a long and mutually beneficial relationship with the Valpo Parks Department under John’s leadership. Our players have done countless hours of coaching with young players in the community through the various Parks programs, we have enjoyed our Soccer Sunday clinics in February for the past five or six years and we have had our college players out to referee the Valpo Parks Department youth and adult soccer leagues. All of these opportunities to interact with our community have been valuable to our players, to our program and in our efforts to share our #oneVALPO message beyond our campus borders. John’s willingness to allow these interactions to take place has not gone unnoticed by me or by our program.
“Rin and I have also worked closely together for the past 12 years and I cannot tell you a single day when she hasn’t lifted my spirits with a kind word, a hug, a congratulatory note and really just by her presence and her friendship. Rin exudes a kindness that permeates her department, and she has a heart for young people that is a refreshing reminder in the world of college athletics as to what this is supposed to all be about. She and I have forged a great working relationship between our soccer program and her recreation sports offerings, including the University’s club soccer program. We share fields, equipment and resources to make sure everyone gets what they need. Our players have worked as officials for all kinds of intramural sports, and the connection between Rin’s department and staff and my program has been a real blessing to me. As our program continues to grow, there are so many folks that don’t gain the recognition they deserve for the role they’ve played, and Rin is one of those champions for us.
“This is the first time we have given the award to a couple, but everyone will agree that this is a special couple and they are deserving of praise that gets thrown their way. On behalf of my players and staff, current and past, thank you Rin and John Seibert!”