Bernadette Wagner, Shawnee Mission gymnastic coach, known to many students as Coach Wags, was honored at the 2019 WIN for KC Women’s Sports Award Celebration.
Wagner is the UMB Lifetime Sportswoman award-winner. This award is presented to a local woman who demonstrates outstanding leadership qualities, encourages participation of girls and women in sports, and still engages in athletics.
Wagner began coaching in Shawnee Mission in 1973. She was inducted into the Shawnee Mission North Hall of Fame in 2008 for her efforts as a female coach in track and field. During that time she advocated for boy and girl athletes to train together. She also coached diving and swimming as well as drill and dance/choreography. There is a scholarship given in her name.
She won Kansas State Coach of the Year numerous times and has served as one of the few female pole vault coaches in the country. She coached Olympian, Doug Lytle, and the first state of Kansas female pole vault competitor, Jennie Terflinger.
Wagner retired in 2004 but returned in 2006 to be assistant coach for her former student Terflinger, now head coach of gymnastics for Shawnee Mission South High School and Shawnee Mission East High School.
“She breathes belief into these young individuals at a time when they need it most,” Coach Terflinger said. “You catch her saying ‘sparkle and shine’ and she is constantly being innovative to help her athletes be the best they can be.”
Terflinger shared that Wagner frequently designs personalized workouts and includes a positive quote of the day to share with others. She pushes her athletes both mentally and physically. When they conclude their time with her, they are forever changed in a way that will help them throughout their lifetime, Terflinger said.
Five additional local individuals or groups were recognized with awards for their contributions and achievements in sports and fitness at the event presented by Burns & McDonnell.