As part of Homecoming Weekend activities, the Sidney G. Weikert Award was presented to Amy Schmidt, a soccer and tennis standout who was featured in the last issue. Below is a profile of the man for whom the award is named.

by Steve Hammond ’73

For the past 31 years, Muhlenberg College has annually honored its outstanding sophomore athlete with the Sidney G. Weikert Award. The award is voted upon by the same group that selects the inductees to the College’s Athletic Hall of Fame, and over the years it has been bestowed upon athletes from a variety of sports.

A college, because of its dynamism and being a place for change, has a limited institutional memory. Student bodies turn over every four years, faculty members and staff move on or retire. Today, only a handful of individuals remain on campus who knew Sid Weikert ‘63, and only they really know why it was important and appropriate to name the award for him.

Sid was extended family to me, by a generation removed. His father cut my father’s hair. It was my father’s off-hand conversation while in Bob Weikert’s barber chair that brought me to ’Berg. “Where’s Steve going to college?” Bob asked Dad. “He’s not sure. He’s on a lot of waiting lists,” Dad replied. “Have him call Sid at Muhlenberg,” Bob said. “He’ll help.”

He was right. Sid did help then, and continued to help in every way for as long as I knew him. I was anything but the exception. He was a kind, giving, caring and tough man whom you could not know without his changing and bettering your life.

His title may have been Associate Director of Admissions when he lost his fight with cancer in 1972, but Sid Weikert was much more than that. Once I passed through the red doors, I realized the extent he affected the college community, especially the students.

Sid was a “mentor” before the MBAs and the business process analysts ever threw that term around so liberally. If you had a problem with a class or a faculty member or life in general, Sid offered an open door and a listening ear. He could instruct you in the vagaries of campus politics or the rigors of preparing for your first midterm. He knew when to pat you on the back and when to kick you in the butt. And whether he did the former or the latter, it was always out of love and somehow you knew it was always for your own good.

And now, three decades later, I know he wasn’t teaching us about college or study skills – he was teaching us about life. He was helping us develop the tools that would

prepare us to deal with the array of life’s issues – career, family, children. To say Sid was a friend of Muhlenberg athletics would be a gross understatement. He attended as many home contests as his job and family allowed, and with his wife Nancy often made road trips with the Mules. The athletes knew this and appreciated it. I can still see a mud-covered captain of the 1972 football team handing a game ball from the lone win of that season to Coach Frank Marino. He said the team wanted it to be given to Sid, who by this point was hospitalized and weakening. At his funeral a few weeks later, that game ball and the game ball of that year’s win over Philadelphia Textile by the men’s soccer team (the win that first established Muhlenberg as a top-level soccer program) sat by his casket. The sports teams were that important to him. And he was that important to them.

When Sid died, various tributes were proposed. At the time, there were senior and junior athlete honors. After some discussion, it was decided to honor his memory by creating a sophomore athlete of the year award in his name. Of all the sports clichés, there may be some truth to the concept of the “sophomore jinx.” Like beating a team three times in a season or putting together a multi-game hitting streak, being a standout in the second year of one’s athletic career seems to be one of sports’ most difficult accomplishments. So it seemed right to honor Sid’s memory with an award to a sophomore who is more than good enough to overcome that jinx.


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