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Online Exclusive: Don Heldmann Football Defensive MVP Award

Late Fenwick Coach Don Heldmann

Fenwick’s former Defensive Coordinator and Coach Emeritus Don Heldmann (1936-2016) served in the U.S. Army First Division during the “Cold War” era after WWII, when geopolitical tension existed between countries in the Eastern Bloc (the Soviet Union and its satellite states) and powers in the Western Bloc (the United States, its NATO allies and others).

One of the last football games that Don coached before he got sick was on November 23, 2013, the Saturday before Thanksgiving. There was snow on the ground as Heldmann and the 10-2 Friars braved 20-degree temperatures and 13-mph winds that gusted up to 30 mph -- making the bitter-cold air sting even more than the thermometer showed that day.

“I can still see Don standing up in the stands at St. Rita during our 2013 Prep Bowl match-up,” Nudo says. “We were all freezing that afternoon and even rented gas heaters for the sideline, but he never batted an eye or complained. Coach was tough as nails. Heck, he was stationed in Alaska when he was in the Army.” The week before, the Friars had beaten Brother Rice for the second time that season. “Coach Heldmann would want the Fighting Friars to carry on,” Nudo adds. “As he liked to say: ‘Pride and pursuit!’ Don truly was dedicated to service, and he is forever in our hearts.”

The Heldmann Award winner from the past two Fenwick football seasons was middle linebacker Brett Moorman ’17, who now is a freshman playing rugby at the University of Alabama.

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