Each year, the Idaho State Coaches Association presents a coach from each sport out of the entire state with a Distinguished Coach of the Year Award.

The fifth district landed three coaches on the awards list: Highland football coach Gino Mariani, Highland tennis coach Ron Osborn and Pocatello cross country coach Shannon Whitmer.

Here are bios on each coach, courtesy of the assocation.

Gino Mariani, Highland

Gino has coached football at Highland High School for 21 years and he holds an outstanding record of 177-48, and four state championship titles. He is the winningest coach in Highland history. In his 26 years as a head coach (five at Pocatello High School) he has led his teams to 25 state playoffs. In addition to his coaching duties at HHS, Gino has been an outstanding English teacher. Gino came to Pocatello to play football at Idaho State University as a quarterback, and it was during this time as the starting quarterback for the Bengals that Mariani realized his fondness for the Gate City and after graduation he accepted his first teaching/coaching job at Pocatello High School. Gino Mariani responds to the call of leadership and he has earned a reputation as a hard-working, trustworthy individual who strives toward excellence. Gino spends countless hours at Highland High School building up student athletes and putting forth great effort ensuring our playing fields are prepped and ready to go. Gino has demonstrated the ability to foster growth in his coaching staff and team to be their best on and off the field each week. He has been committed to Highland High School in every way. Gino also serves our community and especially our youth football program here in Pocatello. For the past 20 years he has been hosting clinics and camps for all ages, which oftentimes include former athletes willing to give back to the community. He is always willing to help and mentor new and younger coaches in the Youth Football Program as well.

Ron Osborn, Highland

Ron has coached tennis at Highland High School for the past 11 years. His teams have also been competitive bringing home multiple district titles and has had multiple individuals placing in the top three at state. In 2009, Ron joined the Idaho Tennis Association Board of Directors, and he was then voted president and joined the Intermountain Board. In 2014, the Osborn Tennis Complex opened to the public. Ron secured grant funding totaling nearly a half a million dollars to build eight lighted outdoor tennis courts in Chubbuck. In 2017, he was inducted into the Intermountain Tennis Hall of Fame. Not only does Ron volunteer his time and money to tennis, but he built a venue that hosts junior programs, camps and tournaments. He also runs adult programs, USTA leagues and tournaments, not to mention high school and college events. None of this would have been possible without Ron’s vision, passion, and commitment to the game he loves.

Shannon Whitmer, Pocatello

Shannon Whitmer has coached cross country at Pocatello for the past 21 years. She is also one of the track coaches at PHS, and she teaches health professions and health. In that time, she has led her teams to the state cross country meet numerous times, winning a total of five state team titles and has had seven individual state champions and a total of 51 all-state athletes. Shannon was a cross country and track and field athlete at Idaho State University, and she took a job in the Pocatello School District as a teacher and coach after she finished her masters program. Shannon sits on the fifth district Board of Control as a girls representative, on the ISCA as a fifth district representative and on the NFHS rules committee. She has volunteered at the ISU track meets and Simplot Games for over 25 years, and is camp director of the Simplot Games Track Camp. Shannon also works with area coaches and athletes to provide summer track & field experiences to Pocatello’s youth by heading up the Pocatello Track Club since 2009. Her commitment is evident. If there is a cross country or track meet in town you will see Shannon there as either a coach or volunteer.