Ms. Brenda Whitesell was born February 4th, 1955, to Donald and Margie Whitesell. She grew up in New Goshen with her brother, Ken, and sister, Donna. She has 5 nieces who are all Viking graduates. Brenda attended West Vigo from 1970-73 where she participated in both volleyball and track for 4 years. These were the only sports recognized by the IHSAA for girls at that time. She was captain of West Vigo’s first IHSAA Sectional Championship Volleyball Team, and advanced to the Track State Championships all 4 years in shot put and softball throw. She finished 2nd in the IHSAA State Track Meet in softball throw in 1973.
After graduating as class salutatorian from West Vigo, Brenda attended Indiana State University on an academic scholarship. While at Indiana State she played 4 years of basketball and softball, 2 years of volleyball, and 1 year of tennis. Brenda played in 4 National Tournaments with 2 appearances in the College Softball World Series, and 2 times in the College Basketball National Invitational Tournament. She was a 2 time MVP in softball, captain of both the basketball and softball teams, and member of the I-Club. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Indiana State in 1977 and received ISU’s Female Athlete of the Year Award. She was also presented with the Eleanor St. John Award given to the Outstanding Female Athlete for Indiana Colleges. Academically she received ISU’s Top Physical Education Major’s Award. Brenda’s ASA softball career spanned her high school, college, and teaching careers, where she was a starter for the 10 time State Champion Terre Haute Chevettes. She was elected to the Amateur Softball Association’s Indiana and Illinois All State Teams as a player. She was elected to the Indiana ASA’s Hall of Fame as both an individual and as member of the Chevettes team.
After college Brenda earned her Master’s Degree at ISU, while teaching from 1978-81 at Knox High School, in Knox, Indiana. She was the head volleyball, basketball, and track coach all four years there. She won 2 Conference and 2 Sectional championships in basketball, 2 Conference and 1 Sectional championship in volleyball, and Conference Coach of the Year honors in both. Brenda moved to Hinsdale South High School, in Darien, IL in 1982 and retired in 2010 to complete 33 years as a physical educator. While at Hinsdale South, she was varsity head basketball coach for 27 years, varsity head softball coach for 15, as well as assistant volleyball, track, bowling, and Athletic Director during her career. In 31 years as a head basketball coach, her record was 544-301, and as 15 years as head softball coach her record, was 330-144. These wins included 11 Conference, 10 Regional titles and 3 Sweet 16 appearances in basketball, and 3 Conference, 4 Regional titles, 2 Sweet 16 and 2 Super 8 appearances in softball. Her teams set school records of 28 wins in basketball, and 33 wins in softball, with 15 seasons of 20+ wins in basketball, and 9 seasons of 20+ wins in softball. Brenda was named head coach on the Illinois North/South, the Illinois East/West, and Gold/Silver All-Star Basketball Games, and the Illinois City/Suburban All-Star Softball Game. She coached 7 All-State athletes during her tenure. In addition, she received 20 various Coach of the Year awards. Brenda’s biggest coaching honors came when she was inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame in 2005, and then inducted into the Illinois Softball Coaches Hall of Fame in 2008.
Brenda currently resides in Bolingbrook, IL and actively volunteers for Humane Haven Animal Shelter. Her fondest memories are of how her teammates pulled together to win the first IHSAA volleyball sectional, as well as an appreciation of the hard work and dedication of Mrs. Jackson and Mr. Mann as they pioneered athletics for girls at West Vigo.