Student-Athlete Conferences

Huddle Junior logo

Junior Huddle registration and information available HERE.

Tulare Western pose for photoThank you to everyone who attended the first annual Huddle: High School Student-Athlete Conference!  For a recap of the conference, click HERE.

To sign up for the Sportsmanship Action Team, click HERE.

Pursuing Victory with Honors hosts two annual student-athlete conferences throughout the year – the Huddle for high school student-athletes in the fall and Huddle Junior in the spring for middle school students transitioning into high school athletics. The middle school conference will be held on March 29.

The first Huddle: High School Student-Athlete Conference was held Tuesday, September 13, 2022,  at the Tulare County Office of Education Administration Building. The event hosted 118 students from 16 Tulare County high schools and was the brainchild of the Sportsmanship Action Team (SAT) of Tulare County.

The Huddle and Huddle Junior are centered around sportsmanship and leadership for high school athletes, as well as future college athletes and adults. In addition, SAT members, county coaches, and professionals lead breakout sessions for their student-athletes in communication, team building, nutrition, collegiate student-athlete preparation, and social media.

The goal of the Huddle is to empower youth to take back the information they learn and create a school athletic advisory team that will positively impact their team and school culture.

For more information on the Huddle, SAT, or PVWH, contact Gene Mendes at

2022 John Forenti Sportsmanship and Athletic Director Award Winners

Victoria "Tori" Johnson, Mt. Whitney High School volleyball coach

Tori Johnson walked into her first CHARACTER COUNTS! training 15 years ago. From that year on, Coach Johnson has been all-in on developing the entire student-athlete. She bought into the T.E.A.M. (Teach, Enforcement, Advocate, Model) concept of including the Six Pillars of Character in her coaching program. She takes time to teach the values and does not hesitate to enforce them even when it may cost the team a point. Regardless of her team or season, Coach Johnson is steadfast in advocating, and most importantly modeling, the core ethical values of Pursuing Victory with Honor.

Tim Hire, Tori Johnson, Gene Mendes

Rich Lambie, Granite Hills High School coach

During his 45 years of coaching, Rich Lambie developed a Pursuing Victory with Honor (PVWH) Game Plan that the CHARACTER COUNTS! office still uses today as a model for coaches. His PVWH Game Plan includes developing the student-athlete by helping them to make a difference on their campus, in their community, and by having fun. Coach Lambie lives and models a personal code of ethics symbolized by the Six Pillars of Character – trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship. He carries his mission of developing the student-athlete through all avenues. For his students, he inspires them to reach personal physical fitness through a safe student-learning environment where all levels of physical ability experience support and success.
Tim Hire, Rich Lambie, Gene Mendes

John Perez, Visalia Unified School District / Mt. Whitney High School athletic director

John Perez is a Mt. Whitney High School alumna. He played football and baseball and graduated in 1989. Perez then began his teaching career at Reedley High School in 1994. In the fall of 1995, he started at Mt. Whitney, where he also coached football and baseball, spending four years as the head varsity baseball coach. Perez became the athletic director at Mt. Whitney in the winter of 2008. He remained as the athletic director until August 2022, when he started his new position as Visalia Unified School District's director of athletics. Perez has served Mt. Whitney students for a total of 27 years. 
Tim Hire, John Perez, Gene Mendes