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Jim Nitchman '67 receives 2019 Neidlinger 'We Care' Award

A supporter of Scecina Memorial High School for more than 50 years. A former Crusader baseball player. The current scorekeeper and public address announcer for the Crusaders baseball team. A member of his 1967 Reunion Committee. 

Jim Nitchman ’67 embodies the characteristics of a true Crusader and “gives that little extra” to Scecina. Jim Nitchman cares.

   

 Jim Nitchman(left)is the 2019 Neidlinger Award winner. He's a regular volunteer at his alma mater and has been the scorekeeper and announcer for the Crusaders baseball team since 2014.
 

Those are some of the reasons Jim was honored on Feb. 9 with the 2019 Larry Neidlinger “We Care” Award. This award pays tribute to a person who has gone above and beyond to support Crusader athletics. 

The award is named after the late Larry Neidlinger, a longtime coach, administrator and friend of Scecina. His wife, Judy, and President Joe Therber presented the award to Jim. 

“I’m shocked,” Jim said. “I never thought in a million years I would get that award. I am truly grateful as I played for Larry my four years at Scecina.” 

Jim was a teammate on the Crusaders baseball team with current coach Dave Gandolph. After graduating from Ball State University, Jim worked as a carpenter and then as a salesman for Sears for many years. 

Jim says his parents taught him to give back. His mom helped at church and his dad was a coach. 

A former Little League player, he was involved with Little League Baseball for many years and kept scorebook at the Regional tournaments, attending the Little League World Series on many occasions. He is on the 1967 Reunion Committee and has volunteered for Club 53, Scecina’s fundraiser. 

Since 2014, Jim has been a fixture with the Crusaders baseball team, keeping score and announcing the Crusaders home baseball games. 

“I had open heart surgery and was recovering,” he recalled. “I had come to watch the first game of the season and asked (new head coach) Dave (Gandolph) was there anything I could do to help. He kind of hesitated and asked if I could announce the game. I said sure and proceeded to do so for the next five years. I also started keeping the score book on the away games.” 

Jim’s favorite memories involve beating Cathedral in baseball his junior and senior year, and then during Coach Gandolph’s first year as Crusaders coach.” 

“They were ranked in the top 5 in the state and had the top pitcher in the state throwing against us,” he said. “The best was last year's baseball team winning the Sectional, Regional and advancing to the Semi State.” 

He has been happily married for 46 years and has two children and one grandchild. 

 

   

 Principal Joe Brettnacher (left) and President Joe Therber (right) with the 2019 Super Boosters: (from left) Kay and Dan Crouch; Dave Gandolph; Kurt Guldner; and Rebeccah Lowe.
 

Five others were honored the same night as Scecina Super Boosters: Kay and Dan Crouch, Dave Gandolph ‘68, Kurt Guldner and Rebeccah Lowe. 

Kay, a member of the Scecina Maintenance team for five years, can be found showing her support for the student-athletes at various sporting events after her work shifts. 

Her husband, Dan, is a longtime volunteer for the Scecina Athletic Department. He is most known for being a member of the chain gang for varsity football games. He helps with clean up and chaperoning Scecina events. Kay and Dan’s son Kirk is a 2015 Scecina graduate who helps with the concession stand 

Dave Gandolph ’68 returned to Scecina in 2014 as the head baseball coach since. Last season, he led the Crusaders to their second Semi-State appearance in school history. He is a member of the Indiana High School Baseball Hall of Fame. His wife, Ann, graduated in 1967. Dave has been an ambassador for Scecina Alumni. 

Kurt Guldner has been a physical education teacher for Scecina for the last five years and is chair of the department. Prior to coming to Scecina, Kurt coached for 25 years at Marian University, where he became the winningest baseball and women's soccer coach in school history. Since coming to Scecina he has coached soccer and cross country. He also helps at Scecina sporting events and with the school’s Campus Crusade walkathon and activities 

Rebeccah Lowe is a history teacher at Scecina. She helps with the soccer programs, moderates the Scecina Futsal Club, and supports all Crusader athletics. Mrs. Lowe has made herself available to help students who need extra assistance with their academics.