As a math teacher at Hortonville High School, Gil Hart loved working with numbers.
But that was just part of his skill set.
He was even better working with young people.
When he wasn’t helping students solve complex equations, Hart was teaching them how to put up winning numbers on the scoreboard.
The community of Hortonville has taken a step to make sure his vast contributions won’t be forgotten. The west diamond at Otto Miller Sports Complex has been named Gil Hart Memorial Field, honoring the highly successful softball coach and teacher, who passed away last summer at the age of 63.
Hart won more than 200 softball games at Hortonville and led the Polar Bears to 10 conference titles and a WIAA state championship in 1996. He retired from coaching following the 2010 season and from teaching in 2011.
Jerry Van Hammond, president of Hortonville Youth Sports, approached the Hortonville Village Board earlier this month with the request to name the diamond after Hart. The motion was passed quicker than you could complete a double play. In addition, a youth softball tournament named in Hart’s honor will be held each summer at the field.
“Gil was such a positive person and role model,” said Van Hammond. “We thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be appropriate to name that diamond after him?’ That field was his baby. He was always there working on it. He’d start out with a light-colored shirt and it would dark by the time he was done. The board felt it was a no-brainer.”
I couldn’t agree more. Hart was one of the many coaches I’ve dealt with in my years as a sports reporter at Post-Crescent Media, and I always enjoyed our conversations. He was a first-class individual with a sense of humor, an old-school work ethic and a passion for coaching.
Hart departed this world far too early, but he left behind a legacy worth honoring and celebrating. That will be done every time an umpire yells “play ball” at Gil Hart Memorial Field.
—— Tim Froberg: 920-993-1000, ext. 423, email@example.com, on Twitter @twfroberg