By Kelsie Hoitomt
WISCONSIN DELLS — On November 9, Joe Jilek was recognized by the Wisconsin Conference Commissioners Association as “Official of the Year.”
There are four districts in Wisconsin and Joe was selected to honor District 1, which covers the northwestern part of the state and includes 11 athletic conferences.
Joe first started referring in 1968 with high school wrestling and over the years he has worked 14 Wisconsin state tournaments.
He was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2008, which is located in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
Then in 1981 Joe started officiating high school football. He has worked two state final games at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison.
He has since been inducted into the Hall of Fame for high school and college football through the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.
And last, but not least, Joe was also an umpire for baseball. He worked two state tournaments that were held in Steven’s Point as well as a 14 game All-Star tournament, which was in 2007.
He and his oldest son Todd both officiated and were the first father-son duo to do so.
Prior to officiating baseball, Joe was the head coach for the Glenwood City High School team from 1981-89.
He coached the Toppers to their first sectional final appearance in 1985 and then again in the summer of 1989.
Joe came to the Glenwood City School District in 1980 and took a position as Administrator and Athletic Director.
About five years into it, the administrator position was dropped and he was just A.D as well as a junior high math teacher.
In 1989, he began just solely teaching and did so until 2000 when he officially retired from education after 33 years.
Joe established a 33 year career after teaching math in Clear Lake for ten years and then he went to the Hayward School District in an administrator position, which he held for two years before moving to Glenwood City.
Today, Joe is living in River Falls with his wife Renee, who grew up in that area and has family there.
Joe and Renee have two children, Todd and Craig. Todd and his wife Andrea and their son Dan live in Clear Lake. Craig lives in Hudson with his three children, Will, Nick and Delanie.
Joe’s sons have truly followed in his footsteps as they both have careers in education working and coaching in Clear Lake and Hudson. Todd also continues to referee.
Aside from sporting events, one of Joe’s favorite things to do and special past times of his is hunting and fishing with his family. He is proud to say that his three grandsons are hunters as well.