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Schnittger, Rivera, & Malave To Be Inducted into Hall

Ryan Miller | Friday, February 2, 2018
Lutheran West Athletics is proud to announce the induction of Stephanie Rivera, Kurt Schnittger ‘05, and Josh Malave ‘08 to the Athletic Hall of Fame. The class of 2018 was selected by a seven-member Hall of Fame Committee working off a long list of distinguished nominees.  Through their commitment to excellence, desire to excel, leadership, and example as Christian athletes and coaches, they have inspired many and earned the right to claim this illustrious honor. The three inductees will be honored during the Varsity halftime of the Friday February 9th Boys Basketball game. There will be a small reception after the game for family, friends, staff, and alums in the Hessler Commons. 

Stephanie Rivera:
Stephanie has been an exceptional coach throughout her long tenure as head of the Longhorn volleyball program.  For over two decades, she has been the face of Lutheran West volleyball and one of the most respected coaches in the area.  Following her collegiate volleyball playing career at Duquesne University, Stephanie took over the Lutheran West program, being named head coach in 1996.  From 1996 to 2007, and then again from 2011 through 2016, she led the Longhorn program to unparalleled success.  Stephanie’s teams won MAC-8 conference championships in 2002, 2003, and 2004; and PAC-12 championships in 2005, 2006, 2014, 2015, and 2016.  She was recognized by her peers as the Conference Coach of the Year eight times.  

 The 2002 and 2004 teams won District championships and Stephanie’s 2004 team fought all the way to the state title game at the University of Dayton, finishing as state runner-up in a hard-fought championship match.  Stephanie was named the District Coach of the year four times, in 2002, 2004, 2015, and 2016, and received the Ohio Volleyball Coaches’ Achievement Award in 2004. Throughout her coaching career, one of the most successful in the history of Lutheran West, Stephanie was an outstanding Christian role model and mentor to the young women she coached.

For the last 20 years Stephanie has been a first-grade teacher in the Olmsted Falls school district. Married to husband Saul, Stephanie remains busy now coaching her sons Noah and Aiden, in all of their athletic pursuits.  The Rivera’s reside in Grafton, Ohio where Stephanie is a member of Our Lady Queen of Peace parish.

 “I will forever cherish the years I spent coaching Volleyball at Lutheran West. I was part of something amazing. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to influence, guide, teach, and see the growth of so many young Christian women. I will always feel a part of the Longhorn family” –Stephanie Rivera

Kurt Schnittger ‘05:
Kurt was a dominant three-sport athlete during his years as a Longhorn at Lutheran West; competing in football, wrestling and track.  He was a varsity letter winner in all twelve seasons during his career at West and was chosen as a team captain five times and as a team M.V.P. five times.  In football Kurt was a four-year starter, earning First-Team All-Conference honors three straight years.  He still holds the school record for most career tackles with 380.  Kurt had a truly exceptional senior year and was chosen First Team All-District, Northeast Ohio Division V Defensive Player of the Year, and First-Team All-Ohio.  Kurt’s wrestling career was equally impressive.  He was a four-year starter, a MAC-8 Conference and Sectional champion, a four-time District qualifier. And a two-time State Tournament qualifier.  At the time of his graduation Kurt held six school records in wrestling including takedowns (season/career), pins (season/career), and wins (season/career).  He continued his success in track and field as an All-Conference performer in both the 4x400 relay and the shot put, and was also a Regional finalist in both events.  Kurt was recognized as the Longhorn Athlete of the year in both 2004 and 2005.

Following graduation Kurt was a three-year starter and letterman in football at Grand Valley State University, the Division II National Runner-up team in 2009.  At Grand Valley Kurt was an All-Conference player, was named Academic All-Conference, and was the Special Teams Player of the Year in 2010.  He was an NFL free agent in both 2011 and 2012.  Kurt has been a life-long member of Bethany Lutheran Church in Parma and has been involved in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA).  Kurt’s siblings Jay, Luke, and Gwen were all very fine student-athletes at West as well, while his father Phil was a former coach for the Longhorns.  Kurt is currently serving in a leadership role for our school as a member of the Lutheran West Operating Board.

“I am humbled by the honor to be inducted in to the Lutheran West Athletic Hall of Fame. I am thankful for the coaches, teammates, and friends who supported me and pushed me to be a better student-athlete. Lutheran West helped shape me in to the person I am today and I am forever grateful.” – Kurt Schnittger ‘05

Josh Malave ‘08: 
Josh was an outstanding two-sport athlete during his years at Lutheran West in both football and wrestling. In football he excelled at both running back and defensive back, earning All-Conference honors both his junior and senior seasons, and was a team captain as a senior.  Josh had an exceptional career as a Longhorn wrestler, earning All-Conference honors three times including two conference championships.  He was a three-time District qualifier, and as a senior battled all the way to a third-place finish at the State Tournament in Columbus.  Josh was named to the Greater Cleveland Wrestling Coaches’ All-Star Team in 2008, He was the Longhorns’ team captain as a junior and senior and was the team’s M.V.P. in 2008. Josh was named Lutheran West’s Longhorn Athlete of the Year in 2008. 

Following graduation Josh continued his outstanding wrestling career as a student-athlete at Mount Union University.  During his four years at Mount Union the accomplishments just kept coming.  Josh was a four-year letterman, an Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) champion in 2011 and 2012, and was on the OAC All–Academic team in 2011-12.  He was a two-time NCAA Division III qualifier, a team captain in 2010-2012, the teams’ M.V.P. in 2011-12, and was a NCAA Division III All-American in 2012. 

After his impressive collegiate career Josh entered the coaching profession as the head wrestling coach and a teacher at Firelands High School.  Within two years he led the Falcons to two conference championships and Josh was named the Lorain County Coach of the Year in 2014-15, and the Patriot Conference Coach of the year in 2015-16.  Josh now serves as the Head Wrestling Coach at his alma mater Mount Union, where currently his team is undefeated and ranked 13th in the nation.  Josh along with wife Jill and daughters Sophia and Lainey, live in Louisville, Ohio.

“First and foremost, being inducted in the Hall of Fame is incredibly humbling and very unexpected. There are so many deserving student-athletes and coaches that being selected in to this prestigious company is a great honor. I would like to thank my family, coaches, fellow athletes and teachers for their support during my time at West. Specifically, I would like to thank my mother. Due to her hard work, perseverance, and commitment she made the dream of an education at Lutheran West a reality. Without the guidance and leadership of those people around me during my time at West I would not have the opportunities I do today. In addition, I would like to thank the selection committee and congratulate Kurt Schnittger and Stephanie Rivera on their induction as well. Lutheran West has a long and proud tradition and I look forward to much more success to come. Go West!” – Josh Malave ‘08
 
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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Ryan Miller at 440-333-1660 or email at rmiller@lutheranwest.com.
 


Lisa Fenn

Features Producer at ESPN; Alum 1992

What inspired me towards faith were the relationships I developed with friends, teachers and coaches. As they loved me and befriended me, I grew to understand Christ’s love for me.

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