VANDALIA — Butler High School welcomed former wrestler David Kudla and his wife Cheryl to thank them and formally open the renovated weight room made possible in part due to their generosity.
School staff and athletes gathered for a ribbon cutting on Friday for the David & Cheryl Kudla Center for Strength and Fitness. Kudla, a 1981 Butler graduate, was a wrestler and also played baseball, soccer, and basketball. He was a teammate of current Butler wrestling coach Mark Peck.
He is now the founder, CEO, and CIO of Mainstay Capital Management.
“A lot of the (charitable) work that we have done has been on the academic side at the college level, and this was an opportunity to do something with sports and athletics,” said Kudla. “Those who have done weight training know that it teaches discipline and that’s an important lesson to carry on in life.”
Kudla, who holds multiple master’s degrees, said that sports, especially at the high school level, is about more than just competition.
“Academics is important, but I think athletics teaches some very important life lessons as well,” he said. “Being part of a team, learning to work as a unit, learning to sacrifice for the team, all of those expressions we have later in life about being a team player, taking one for the team, they are taught every day on the field of competition.”
Kudla agreed to match all donations up to $25,000. The remainder was paid with a mixture of athletic department funds and Athletic Booster funds. No tax dollars were used for the facility.
Butler Athletic Director Jordan Shumaker said that when he was hired 18 months ago, one of the needs that became quickly apparent was a need to upgrade the weight room.
“One of the first thing our coaches told me when I got here was that we needed to improve our training and weight room facility,” he said. “We had an incredible space, but it is really inefficient with really old equipment that was donated to us by UD when they replaced it.”
The renovation means that the capacity for students doubled from 21 to 42 lifting at a time.
“It was great to be able celebrate a community partnership with the ribbon cutting for the David & Cheryl Kudla Center for Strength & Fitness,” said Shumaker. “The generosity of our community will make an impact on an entire generation of Aviators.”
“This was a compelling project and it has been a very enjoyable thing working with Coach (Nathan) Hyatt, Jordan (Shumaker), and Coach Peck on the progress of the center,” said Kudla. “Part of the joy of doing the little bit we did I know its going to impact and make a difference. The training facility is state of the art and will enable our athletes to train hard, work together as a team, and win a lot of games, matches, and championships for the Vandalia-Butler Aviators.”
Reach Darrell Wacker at (937) 684-8983 or on Twitter @VandaliaDrummer.