Growing up at Delphos Saint John’s, Ken Burgei was exceedingly as well as exceptionally involved in the sport of basketball. Whether it was on the court or in the classroom, Burgei put one-hundred-percent effort into everything he did.
Graduating in 1968, Ken attended Findlay College where he pursued and received a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Science Education as well as a Physical/Health degree in 1972. Burgei credits his family and Saint John’s for helping him to strive toward his goals and achieve them. “I was fortunate to have been taught proper work ethic by my parents and St. John’s.
Advancing on in his career, Burgei attained a Master’s degree in School Counseling from the University of Toledo in 1985.
After achieving all the degree’s Ken aspired for, he moved back to Delphos to teach at St. John’s, becoming a High School Biology and Physiology teacher. Outside of regular school hours, Ken was also still involved in sports, being the assistant coach for both basketball and football. Burgei found Coach Arnzen to be a substantial and significant influence in his life as a person, athlete, and later as a Coach and Guidance Counselor.
Leaving St. John’s in 1983, Burgei joined the Wauseon High School to be a Guidance Counselor, Physical Education Teacher, and Head Basketball Coach. There Ken worked for an accumulation of 30 years, 26 of those years he was the Head Basketball Coach.
While at Wauseon, the Indians had won 5 NWOAL (NorthWest Ohio Athletic League) Championships, 9 Sectional Championships, and were even the District and Regional Champions in 1994, becoming State runner-ups that same year. Burgei was named NorthWest District Coach of the year 7 times and State Coach of the year in 1994. He concluded his career coaching record at Wauseon with a win-loss record of 322-242.
“When I got the Head Coach position at Wauseon, Coach Arnzen told me: “Ken, be yourself, be Ken Burgei, not Bob Arnzen”. That was great advice, but completely impossible to achieve. Coach Arnzen had so many great traits and characteristics both as a person and a coach. After playing for him and working for him and working with him for 11 years, I found myself automatically emulating his style. Coach Arnzen was a huge part of the success I had with the Wauseon Indians”.
Burgei also had served as an officer with the District 7 Coaches, Association as well as District Director to the State Basketball Coaches Association for 20 years. Even with all of Burgei’s success at Wauseon, Ken is most proud of the “Bob Arnzen Longevity Award” given for coaching at the same school for over 20 years.
Ken finds it so humbling to be honored with the Athletic Achievement award for the St. John’s Hall of Fame. “It’s a great honor for me to see my name next to the many role models from this school that influenced me and made my career.”
In 1975, Ken married Connie Pohlman (Class of 1971) and was blessed to have two incredible children, Chris and Kelly. Today Ken Burgei is a grandfather to three beautiful grandchildren, Emmy, Owen, and Preston Burgei and couldn’t be happier!
(Article written by Nicole Pohlman)