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2022 UIL Sponsor Excellence Award Winners

Media Contact: Logan Lawrence
Phone: 512-471-5883

Date: Mar 23, 2023
Category: AcademicsAthleticsGeneral Information Music


AUSTIN — The University Interscholastic League is proud to recognize 15 of the best UIL sponsors in Texas as the 2022 UIL Sponsor Excellence Award winners.

The winners were selected by a panel of judges in the areas of academics, athletics and music from nominations submitted by school principals and superintendents across the state.

The award, now in its 32nd year, was created to identify and recognize outstanding sponsors who enable students to develop and refine their extracurricular talents to the highest degree possible within the education system.

“Coaches and teachers have such a difficult job, and they go beyond the call of duty to serve as UIL sponsors, coaches and directors,” said UIL Executive Director Dr. Charles Breithaupt. “UIL events function and thrive on the dedication and immense effort from sponsors like these. On behalf of the UIL, I commend these outstanding educators.”

Each winner will receive $1,000 and a symbolic memento from the UIL in recognition of their outstanding achievements in the pursuit of educational excellence through interscholastic competition. The League continually strives to strengthen and promote the role of extracurricular activities in Texas through programs like the UIL Sponsor Excellence Award.

The UIL Sponsor Excellence Award winners for 2022 are as follows:

Corey Baird – Salado High School

Corey Baird has been coaching high school athletics for 24 years, with the last eight years as a head cross country coach at Salado High School. She has led her teams to three appearances in the state meet, finishing as high as sixth at the 2021 meet. Baird also coached one of her runners to the 2019 4A Girls Individual title. Salado has captured four-straight district titles (2019-2022) under the tutelage of Baird. She has also led the Eagle Girls Track and Field team the past four years.

“In my program, I make sure all of my girls know that they are valued and important, and that it is a team-wide philosophy that every athlete is vital to the success of our program,” Baird said. “Each person brings their own set of skills and abilities to the sport, and I work with my athletes to maximize their potential. I tell my team that we are always striving for excellence – in the classroom, in athletics, and in our everyday life.”


Brent Biskup, Lewisville Flower Mound High School

During his 18-year career, Brent Biskup has led his teams to a state title, a runner-up finish, and a third-place finish at UIL State Marching Band. Lewisville Flower Mound captured UIL Area championships in 2016, 2018, and 2022 under Biskup’s direction. They have also finish as runner-up three times at the Texas Music Educators Association Honor Band Competition. Biskup has also guided his Concert and Sightreading teams to Sweepstakes awards for the past 12 years. He has been a UIL Area Marching Band judge, TMEA Honor Band judge, a member of the UIL Prescribed Music List Committee, and hosted numerous marching, concert, and sightreading contests at the regional level.

“Competition works as a catalyst for teacher organization, student focus, discipline, and drive,” Biskup said. “Issues arise when the primary goal becomes to “beat” the other competitor. We all want to win. We all want to be recognized as elite in the chosen activity, but the opportunity to be recognized should come from creation of the perfect environment. Winning should be a result of a healthy culture, not the motivation for creating the opposite.”


Audrey Cravens, Latexo High School

During her 21 years as an academic math coach, Audrey Cravens has led her students to 10-straight UIL State Team Mathematics championships, 29 Top-5 individual state finishes, and five individual state titles. Cravens also coaches the school’s Calculator team which qualified for the UIL State Meet in 2022. She also has experience coaching Computer Science and Number Sense. She has instructed students at the Sabine UIL Math/Science Summer Camp and hosted a 12-day summer math camp for the last 12 years.

“My philosophy centers around preparing my students for futures in STEM jobs,” Cravens said. “Even though my students are at what many would consider a disadvantage attending a 2A school in the Pineywoods, they should have every benefit of a strong math background, learning to work with others, competing with and respecting others. I believe these benefits will earn them a degree in engineering, architecture, computer science, etc.”


Christopher Fiorini, Bridgeland High School

Christopher Fiorini has been choir director for 15 years, the last five years at Bridgeland High School. Fiorini has led his students to 15-straight years of Sweepstakes awards in the UIL Concert and Sightreading competition. Over his career, hundreds of his students have received a superior rating in UIL State Solo and Ensemble, hundreds of his students have placed in All-Region Choirs, and multiple students have been selected to the Texas All-State Choir.

“Competition for me is not about the win or the loss, nor is it about the place/rank,” said Fiorini. “The trophies and awards are always secondary to the process. Process is EVERYTHING. For me, competition is a tool to help motivate students to push their boundaries and test their limits and achieve more musically than they think they are able.”


David Gardiner, Corpus Christi Ray High School

With 30 years of experience, David Gardiner is currently the Debate Coach at Corpus Christi Ray High School. Gardiner has led his teams to over 30 appearances at UIL CX Debate, 10 students to UIL State in Extemporaneous and Lincoln-Douglas Debate, and an appearance every year UIL State Congress has been held. He has coached two students to individual state championships and five students have finished in the Top-5 individually at State. Gardiner has served on multiple regional and state committees during his career and is a co-author of the UIL CX Handbook. He has also served on the NFHS Policy Topic Selection Committee several times and was a framer of the current process used to select this.

“I believe competition is everything,” Gardiner said. “Competition helps teach excellence. UIL gives students a chance to be recognized in so many events across several platforms.”


Kimberly Irwin, Gruver High School

Kimberly Irwin has been an academic coach for the past 22 years, with the last two years as the academic coordinator at Gruver High School. She has also led students in Poetry Interpretation, Prose Interpretation, Computer Applications, Computer Science, Accounting and Lincoln-Douglas Debate. This past year, Irwin coached Gruver High School to its first district academic title in five years, advancing the team to regionals where they finished as runner-up. They also qualified 12 students for the UIL State Meet in four different contests. Irwin has experience as a district meet coordinator and has been a tabulator at elementary and junior high competitions for the past eight years.

“I am passionate about UIL Academics, and have been my entire life, beginning when I was a student competing, through raising my children up in their competitions, as well as coaching my students,” Irwin said. “I have seen firsthand the benefits of UIL Academic competitions. I am the mother of three, and my children were actively involved from second grade through their senior year, each competing at the state level. The skills and knowledge they have from UIL Academics gave them immeasurable advantages in college, through their internships, and in their current jobs.”


Stephanie Krebs, Muenster High School

Stephanie Krebs has been an academic coach for 20 years, with the last nine years as UIL Academic Co-Coordinator at Muenster High School. She has experience coaching in Journalism, Ready Writing, Editorial, Math, and many other UIL events. Krebs has led 15 students to the State Meet, where three of them have earned an individual state title. She has hosted district meets for the past four years.

“By building a UIL program within our school, we build a generation of students and future adults who view education as a lifelong endeavor, Krebs said. “Not every student will get a chance to make it to regionals or state, but when they have learned that competition can also be used to become his or her own best person, then our mission has been successful.”


Rick Miller, Grapevine High School

With over 30 years of coaching experience, Rick Miller has spent the past 11 years as head cross country and track and field coach at Grapevine High School. In cross country, Miller has led his teams to three state championships, three individual state champions, and seven regional titles. His teams have won 41 out of possible 42 district championships (Junior Varsity and Varsity) during his tenure. Miller was named High School Coach of the Year three times. In track, he led eight individual state qualifiers, with two of them winning a gold medal. Miller was also a baseball coach in El Paso for 13 years before switching roles. His teams advanced to the state playoffs eight times, and he was elected as a member of the El Paso Baseball Hall of Fame in 2021.

“UIL competition develops well-rounded students by providing opportunities that promote motivation, goal-setting, a strong work ethic, and the importance of perseverance,” Miller said. “It is through competitive activities that students learn the importance of teamwork, build self-confidence, develop self-discipline, and learn the need for good sportsmanship. Life lessons are best learned through competition where students can experience personal growth that will serve them well in the future.”


Robbie Moreno, Corpus Christi London High School

Robbie Moreno has been the athletic director at Corpus Christi London High School for the past 12 years and head football coach for eight years. Moreno has helped lead CC London to eight straight trips to the postseason and three district championships. As athletic director, Moreno has guided the school to five consecutive Top-5 finishes in the Lone Star Cup. This includes a state championship and state runner-up finish the last two years in baseball.

“Competition is very essential for our youth today, especially with today’s generation,” said Moreno. “That means you know you put a lot of work into something, and it hurts you when it doesn’t go your way; but it is how you handle this type of situation/adversity moving forward that will mold you into the person you will become.”


Heather Olivarez, Moulton High School

With over 27 years of academic coaching under her belt, Heather Olivarez has led Moulton High School in Current Issues and Events, Spelling, and Social Studies. She helped the school capture 30 district championships, 11 regional championships, and five state championships during her career. Olivarez has coached back-to-back state champions in Social Studies. She has also served on planning committees for UIL District meets.

“I believe there is always room for growth and improvement,” Olivarez said. “Competition forces us to strive to be the best we can, and it also allows us to grow from our mistakes. It is by admitting and learning from our mistakes that we grow and become better.”


John Pierce, Mason High School

John Pierce has been the UIL Academic Coordinator at Mason High School for the past eight years which saw the Punchers captured eight district titles, four regional championships, and five Top-5 state finishes. Pierce led his teams to back-to-back state runner-up titles the past two years. Individually, Pierce has coached 74 state qualifiers, and 52 of those have earned state medals.

“The goal of competition isn’t to win,” Pierce said. “Most competitors will not be state champions. The goal, rather, is to be in the game and to experience all of the personal growth that results from endeavoring to perform at one’s highest level.”


David Pike, Lewisville Marcus High School

David Pike has been the UIL Number Sense, Math and Calculator coach at Lewisville Marcus High School for the past 11 years. He has also been the UIL Academic Coordinator for the school for the last four years. During his tenure as Academic Coordinator, he has led his teams to seven district championships, three regional championships, and two third-place finishes at the state meet. Pike has also been involved in the planning and execution of the UIL District Competitions and Invitational A hosted by Lewisville Flower Mound High School.

“Marcus High School’s educational mission is to ‘design and implement a learning organization that provides engaging, innovative experiences every day’, which is what UIL Academics offers to students,” Pike said. “By design, the tests my students take in Calculator Apps, Number Sense and Math are engaging and innovative, which leaves it to me to demonstrate to the students. The UIL tests find ways of asking questions that force students to open their minds to new problem-solving and analytical skills.”


Wendy Pratt, Corpus Christi Tuloso-Midway High School

Wendy Pratt has been the UIL One-Act Play director at Corpus Christi Tuloso-Midway High School for over 20 years, a UIL Film Sponsor for three years, and a Theatrical Design sponsor for four years. She has led her OAP team to state six of the last seven years, winning state titles in 2018 and 2020 and placing two other times. She has also had students win awards in theatrical design and numerous UIL OAP individual acting and technical awards. Pratt has presented at workshops that include the Capital Conference, Texas State Thespian Festival, and Theaterfest.

“Our schools’ mission is to educate every student to be a lifelong learner, a person of integrity, and a positive contributor to society,” said Pratt. “I am a firm believer that in encouraging competition we improve ourselves. The desire to win is focused inward, acting as a reminder to continually improve and better oneself. Our goal is to create passion and desire to students to unlock this drive within themselves and thus reach their full potential.”


Sandy Spears, Gladewater Union Grove High School

With over 37 years’ experience in coaching theater and debate, Sandy Spears has spent the last nine years at Gladewater Union Grove. During that time, she has led her teams to a third-place finish at UIL State One-Act Play, and an individual state championship in Persuasive Speaking. She also guided 11 other individuals to medals at the UIL Academic State Meet. Spears has served on the 2A UIL Regional Speech and Debate Committee for over 20 years and served as host for the District Academic Meet.

“In my programs, I believe in setting a precedent in excellence,” Spears said. “I believe many students will achieve exactly what you expect them to achieve; students are going to rise to or sink down to what is expected of them. I have been blessed to find my passion of teaching high school students theater and debate, and I am so thankful for it.”


Evelyn Torres, Fort Bend Ridge Point High School

Evelyn Torres has been the head girls soccer coach at Fort Bend Ridge Point High School the past nine years and the school’s Athletic Coordinator the last four years. Torres has led her teams to seven district titles and one state semifinal appearance. During her tenure, she has coached seven all-state performers, 15 all-region award winners, and over 70 academic all-state honorees. Torres currently serves on the THSCA Advisory Board. She has been a presenter at numerous coaching schools and served on the TGCA Soccer Advisory Board.

“In 20 years, I will not be making revolutionary contributions to society,” Torres said. “But my student-athletes will. They will be doing things in their careers that I can’t predict and that I certainly don’t want to limit. Whatever they do, I want them to be thoughtful, articulate, caring, and clear. I want them to be able to recognize the importance of protecting our humanity and consider all we have experienced in and out of the classroom, the locker room, the soccer field, and each competition we faced as a team.”

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