Induction Year: 2012
Recipient of the Mertz Mortorelli Coaching Achievement Award
A 1967 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Superior, James Negrini enters the UW-Superior Athletic Hall of Fame as recipient of the Mertz Mortorelli Coaching Achievement Award.
Negrini played four seasons of football with the Yellowjackets, but it is his time after attending UW-Superior where he has made an indelible mark, especially in the area of coaching youth sports in Wisconsin's Chippewa Valley.
Negrini began his coaching career in 1976 when he was one of the founding members of the YMCA Youth Football program in Eau Claire, Wis. In 1983, he helped establish the YMCA Girls Basketball program.That year he became the eighth-grade girls basketball coach at St. Patrick's School in Eau Claire.
Three years later, Negrini moved to Eau Claire's Regis High School to become the girls basketball head coach. In 10 years there he fashioned a record of 210-61. His teams won a pair of WISSA girls basketball state championships and earned two runner-up finishes in six state tournament appearances. Negrini guided Regis to 56 straight CWCC conference victories and six conference titles. He was a five-time CWCC Coach of the Year.
Negrini also coached at Osseo High School from 2000 to 2005, during which time he won his 300th game as a high school head coach. During the 2005-2006 season at Eleva High School, he served as interim head coach and guided the team to a 17-6 record. In 2010, he moved onto McDonnell Central Catholic High School in Chippewa Falls, Wis., where he served as an assistant girls basketball coach, retiring in 2011.
In addition, Negrini has coached numerous AAU teams and all-star teams during his 30-plus years in coaching.
A native of Hurley, Wis., Negrini is a member of the Hurley High School Hall of Fame. He was also inducted into the Wisconsin WIAA Hall of Fame.