The Top 50
Thousands of coaches were nominated and these 50 were selected by our judges.
Gladbrook-Reinbeck High School, Reinbeck, IA
Coach Olson is Gladbrook-Reinbeck’s head football coach, physical education teacher and athletic director. On or off the field, Coach Olson talks about how his goal is to “not win championships, but to help raise championship kids.” He encourages kids to volunteer, to do the right thing and to be role models for the younger kids. Even though he has won state football championships, the true winners are the kids that he teaches and coaches.
Muscatine High School, Muscatine, IA
Coach Judd Anderson has been coaching swimming in Muscatine, Iowa, since 1964 and continues today. At 72 years old, he has accumulated 656 combined boys’ and girls’ victories, 17 conference titles and five state championships. He helped organize football players from Muscatine High School to help with Special Olympics swimming meets, which was a growing experience for everyone involved. He has recruited his daughter and friends in the swimming community to help with coaching. He is at the pool at 6:30 every morning and usually there till 6:30 at night, splitting up practices so more kids can swim and get individual attention. Every year there are several kids who barely know how to swim, and every year, he molds them into part of the team. He also encourages the whole team to cheer for others. As Coach Anderson says, it’s not about winning but about achieving goals and being able to accomplish what you put your mind to.
Lafollette, Madison, WI
For more than a decade, Coach Green has dedicated his time and energy, heart and soul, mind and spirit to making a difference for the kids of Dane County. He coaches the girls team at LaFollette High School, and he has done everything from foster care to mentoring. He created a small business to support the community, called Mentoring Positives. He developed products from his own kitchen and marketed them in grocery stores. The proceeds go toward mentoring troubled youths to see themselves as more. More than they dreamed, more than they knew, more than they hoped for. Coach Green continues to stretch himself and the kids he works with. Reach higher, dream bigger, be more. Give back, family is everything, do your best. These are the messages he has always given, and the way he has always lived.
Portage High School, Portage, WI
Coach Engelhart is not only there for the whole team, but also there for each individual. She makes her team a second family. She’s a friend, a mentor, a tutor and a role model. She pushes each student to do their best and try their hardest at everything they do. Coach Engelhart demonstrates what it means to be a team player. Not only on the field but in the community as well, by volunteering the team to help out in many events. The cheer and dance teams have competed for state titles because of the confidence and drive she instills in them. She has grown the cheerleading team from 10 students to 30, and she has earned the school’s respect for the sport.
Lakewood Christian School , McAlester, OK
Coach Holiman puts his all into each child he interacts with, and he always has the child's best interests at heart. Coach Holiman loves to teach the fundamentals of basketball and always explains how to apply those lessons to the child's future. He is a tough-love coach who is very passionate about the importance of athletics. He spends his own personal funds to assist children whose parents can't. He has driven miles out of his way to ensure one of his players could attend a tournament. He has many times over connected a student and a college scout to help a student attend college. It is a sacrifice that he makes with such passion that it benefits many children in the state of Oklahoma, not just the students on his team. The commitment he gives to the children of this state is immeasurable and priceless.
Shenandoah Hogh School, Shenandoah, IA
Coach Weinrich always goes above and beyond to help his players better themselves. He is always willing to get up in the mornings to rebound for a basketball player, or catch for a practicing pitcher. For basketball, Coach Weinrich hosts camps and clinics to help the younger girls in the community. Coach Weinrich also organizes a breast cancer awareness “pink-out” game where all of the proceeds are donated to research. He is always willing to put in the extra effort for his teams to help them get where they want to be. Even after they graduate high school, he continues to take an interest in his players, and he’ll drive to colleges just to watch them play.
Tarboro High School , Tarboro , NC
Coach Craddock has been the head football coach at THS for nine seasons. Under his leadership, THS has played in five state championships, winning three in a row. Coach Craddock unites young men from various walks of life, inspiring them to create a brotherhood that reaches far beyond the gridiron. Players come to his home each year for a barbeque and pool party. And the team goes on a free beach trip as a bonding experience. He has mentored players who have had successful professional careers. Coach Craddock has a detailed plan that promotes academics and athletics. He believes in preparing his players for life after football. He has standards for accountability, responsibility and principles of leadership. Coach Craddock has a big heart. One of his players went through a difficult family situation, and Coach Craddock rallied around this student, organizing donation and supply drives. And once this student was ready to return to school, Coach Craddock helped him through the process. For the community, Coach Craddock organizes and speaks at Tailgate Sunday. It’s a day full of football, fun and fellowship, where coaches and families come out for a true game day tailgate experience.
Jones high school , Jones , OK
Coach Martin was born and raised in Jones, Oklahoma. Several years ago, he left a high-profile coaching job in Dallas, Texas, to come back to the small Oklahoma town where he grew up. He had two goals at the time: to win their first state championship, and to mentor a new generation. He has accomplished both. He led the Jones Football team to becoming state 3A champions last year, for the first time in their history. Coach Martin expects his students to make good grades and be respectful in all ways. He teaches responsibility, respect and sportsmanship to all his students. He always goes above and beyond not only for his players, athletes and students, but for every person he meets. He works constantly to schedule with other schools for all the various sports Jones High School offers. He brings the entire community together to support his team, and he has stood by more than one of his football boys at Senior Night in place of their parents. His passion for sports and all of his students is unmatched. Coach Martin has astounding morals, a huge heart full of kindness, unwavering love and life-long support for his school.
Sumner-Fredericksburg High School, Sumner, IA
Softball & Girls Basketball
Coach Bergman has been with the Sumner-Fredericksburg High School girls’ basketball team since 2007. In his first year as head coach, he was voted District Coach of the Year by his peers. He has also served as head softball coach since 2005. His peers named him softball District Coach of the Year in 2012, after he lead his team to a fourth-place finish at the state tournament. Coach Bergman’s generosity extends beyond his coaching duties. In 2008, he took his softball team to clean up Parkersburg when the town suffered tragic losses in an EF5 tornado. Recently, he organized a harvest for a family stricken by cancer. In terms of the contributions to the school system, his gift of time is unrivaled. He preps the football field, organizes sports clinics and youth tournaments, supervises strength and conditioning, takes stats for football and helped establish the Cougar Betterment Foundation. Coach Bergman also funded a softball scoreboard upgrade with his own money. In 2017, he repaired flood damage baseball diamonds. Outside of his commitments at school, he operates the Bergman family farm, owns a successful seed-corn business, remains active in his church congregation and, most recently, took on a new title: grandpa.
Wewoka Public School, Wewoka, OK
Football & Baseball
Coach Cooper is truly selfless. He's a fantastic coach who cares about his players deeply. He is more than just a coach. He is a leader, a mentor, a veteran, and a true voice for his community. Coach Cooper is a fantastic role model for his students. He helps those in need, and he works for many charitable causes. He started a non-profit, No Surrender, for those who struggle with PTSD, addiction, suicide and many other illnesses. He's always a people-first kind of guy, with a genuine desire to lead his students in the right direction.
Lewiston High School, Lewiston , ME
Soccer & Basketball
Coach McGraw is an icon at Lewiston High School, a legend who is loved by many in the school and community. He is entering his 42nd year of teaching and his 35th year as the boys soccer head coach. He always goes above and beyond for his players, and he shows them that he cares about them. He has been named League Coach of the Year six times, Maine Coach of the Year four times and New England Coach of the Year. His 2015 team ranked in the top 15 in the country by USA Today. When immigrant students started to arrive in Lewiston, Coach McGraw was one of the first people to embrace them. He met with immigrant parents and set up meetings with the community leaders. He helped give these students a home at Lewiston High School and in his soccer program. Each fall, Coach McGraw is the first person to greet the freshman class. Additionally, he runs every pep rally throughout the year. His school pride and enthusiasm are infectious. Coach McGraw has touched the lives of so many members of the Lewiston community, whether it be in the classroom or on the field.
Newman Central Catholic High School, Sterling, IL
One of the keys to keeping Newman High School vibrant for the past 40 years has been Coach Pappoccia’s successful athletics program. Coach Pappoccia doesn't just teach the sport of football. He teaches young people about God and family; he builds a sense of community, loyalty, and caring among his players who become not just a team, but a family. He stresses strong character and teamwork as the underpinnings of his successful program, and spends countless hours supporting students at school sporting events and supporting the community through acts such as a homecoming week food drive for surrounding towns. With a smile, Coach Pappoccia has dedicated his life to the community, and anyone that knows him is proud to call him a friend.
Farragut High School , Farragut , TN
Coach Courtney has been a coach at Farragut High School for 37 years, showing dedication as a coach, teacher, parent, counselor, and community member. His perseverance is unparalleled – even when he battled cancer, he never missed a game or practice. His team won the state championship last year for the first time in school history, but his love for his players go far beyond the football field. Coach Courtney teaches life skills, not just x's and o's, and more emphasis is placed leadership and character than competition and rivalry. He encourages his students to be active in their school, church, and community and believes that his primary responsibility as a high school coach and educator is to help shape his players into thoughtful, respectful individuals.
Park High School, Racine, WI
Coach Betker is not only a basketball coach, but a life coach who teaches the importance of community, giving back and academics. He reminds his players that basketball is just a game, and years from now they may not remember the scores of the games, but they will always remember their team and community. Coach Betker ensures that his basketball program gives back to those around him. One example of Coach Betker’s selflessness comes each Thanksgiving, when his basketball program and his family spend their day volunteering at a community meal for those in need. He donates his time volunteering and he instills those same values in his players. Coach Betker is always willing to help out his players and each of his students. He teaches the importance of an education. Coach Betker does not tolerate poor grades. If his players do not perform in the classroom, they will not excel on the court. Before practice and before games or tournaments, all classwork must be completed. Without an education, there is no basketball.
North Mahaska Community Schools, New Sharon, IA
Wrestling & Golf
Coach Groom is a hard worker. He is a very determined father, husband, teacher, volunteer fire fighter and coach. Coach Groom takes kids under his wing to make sure they become successful in school and outside it. As a teacher, Coach Groom works hard with local businesses to make sure his students get up-to-date knowledge of the latest technology. As a coach, this determination also shows up on the mat and on the field. He is very positive when coaching his athletes, and he helps them succeed. Coach Groom spends time outside of practice learning more about the sports he coaches so he can become a better coach. Coach Groom also volunteers his time at a wrestling club for younger kids, where he has helped kids get to nationals. Coach Groom loves coaching and loves to help kids succeed. As a father, Coach Groom works with his four kids to follow their dreams. In his community, Coach Groom is also a volunteer fire fighter for the city of New Sharon. Volunteering for his community is important to him. Coach Groom is well-known for always being willing to help, motivate and mentor.
Dr. Dean Boyd
MARLBORO COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL, BENNETTSVILLE, SC
Coach Boyd put Marlboro county on the map. In his fifteen years of coaching, he has really made a difference, both the team and in the community. Fifteen years ago, sports programs were flailing and grades were low. Coach Boyd changed everything. Scouts come every year to recruit students to professional teams. Grades are up. He tutors students who need extra attention. He takes them to church. He goes above and beyond the call of duty as a high school coach. And even though he has had opportunities to coach for bigger schools, he stays in Marlboro. He loves his school, his students and his community.
Knox County High School, Edina, MO
Coach Barnhill gives her all to her team. She works to not only make her students the best athletes they can be, but also strong individuals off the field. She has led the team to district and conference titles as well as an appearance in the state tournament. Without Coach Barnhill, the school wouldn’t have a softball field. She organized both the fundraising and the construction of the field on her own. She worked with the school and community to create something special for her players. She is a dedicated coach, teacher, mentor, wife and mother to two toddlers.
Nash Central High, Rocky Mount, NC
Football & Track
Coach Jackson takes his athletes to tour different colleges and summer camps in North Carolina and Virginia, often at his own expense, to expose them to new environments and make them thirsty for more knowledge. He is committed to having a beautiful school, often mowing grass well into the night and throughout the summer. He provides his athletes with the tools to help them become healthy, productive citizens. Coach Jackson has opened his home to athletes and coaches who needed a place to stay. He strives to make each athlete strong physically, emotionally, academically and spirituality. He treats them like his family. He is strong and firm, yet compassionate.
Assumption , Davenport , IA
Track & Cross Country
Coach O’Neill is dedicated to all the kids in his program, from the top athlete to the new freshman coming in. His dedication speaks for itself. Under Coach O’Neill’s guidance, his team has won five consecutive state titles. But Coach O’Neill impacts not only the high school team, but the entire community. He is also very involved in local charities. He serves as the director for local 5k races, as well as the Easter Egg Scramble in Davenport. He oversees the strength and conditioning program for all athletes at the high school. The countless hours he gives to make these athletes the best they can be demonstrates his commitment. Kids want to run track and cross-country at Assumption because they know he will make them better.
Payson Seymour High School, Payson, IL
Basketball, Baseball & Golf
Coach Rea has changed the culture of basketball in Payson. Not only did he turn it into a winning program again, but he also changed how the kids respect each other and the community that supports them. After each game, home or away, win or lose, the players walk into the stands and thank every person who came to watch. Coach Rea taught them the importance of being a good, respectful student athlete and also a good person, both now and after they get out of school. He is currently also the athletic director and is working to bring all the programs together and really get the community behind every sport. He spends many extra hours and his own money on his programs and his classes. He works hard to make Payson Athletics a respectable name.
North High School, Des Moines, IA
Coach Ryan has turned one of the poorest schools in the state into a school with a proud athletic program and lots of school spirit. He goes above and beyond for the school, the staff and especially the players. This year, for the first time in 26 years, he led his team to the state tournament. But Coach Ryan is more than just a coach. He provides food, shelter and safety for his students. Many of his students have unstable home environments. Their parents are on drugs, in gangs or in prison. Coach Ryan provides them a secure home in the gym and encourages them to grow as leaders in their community. Coach Ryan is also the academic interventionist at North High School. He puts his students first, spending late nights driving them home from games and making sure they have a meal when they get there. He is also a shoulder to cry on. When one of his players was fatally shot, he made his team his priority in every respect. He’ll do anything for his team. He does not give up on them when they are at their worst, so they can rise to their best.
Upper Kennebec Valley Memorial , BINGHAM, ME
Soccer & Baseball
Coach Laweryson has been a great asset to his community, giving his time unselfishly. Living in a small school district, the entire high school may consist of 60 students or less in a given year, making it a challenge at times to form an entire team. Coach Laweryson still manages to inspire and cultivate these young men and women. Coach Laweryson focuses on challenging the student athletes to reach their full potential, encouraging them to develop emotional maturity, and giving them the opportunity to learn how to deal with both success and failure in a variety of situations— individual and team, on and off the field of play. Throughout the season, the student athletes don’t just learn the physical skills of soccer and baseball, they also learn lifelong skills such as self-confidence, self-discipline, self-motivation, goal-setting, teamwork, cooperation, sportsmanship and leadership. He believes that these players are children first, students second, and athletes third. He finds teachable moments to help his players learn about commitment and balancing many obligations. In addition, Coach Laweryson is the local fire chief, protecting the community. Coach Laweryson has been, and continues to be, a great asset to his student athletes, and to his community.
Vj&Angela skutt Catholic High School, Omaha,, NE
Coach Renee Saunders runs an amazing volleyball program from top to bottom. She cares about how every player progresses and makes everyone from freshmen up to varsity feel like they have an important role to fill. In the past two years, Coach Saunders and her team won consecutive state titles. She was the first coach in Nebraska to win Coach of the Year after being named Player of the Year during her high school career. But those accolades are not the most important things. She holds her players to the highest standard. She inspires her players to focus on high achievement in academics as well as service to their school and community. Her grade requirements are higher than those for any other sport. Coach Saunders leads clinics for the local YMCA, working with first-through third-graders. She is the first one into the gym and the last one to leave. She is accessible to every player and provides great communication to the parents with detailed weekly emails. She coaches her players to be women of strength, women of character and women of faith. And she leads by example.
Solon High School, Solon, IA
Coach McAtee has been coaching cheerleading for several years, making the youth better athletes and better people. Coach McAtee built the cheerleading program from the ground up, and now her teams go to camps, attend competitions and try out for national honors. Although cheerleading may seem like a sport just for young women, Coach McAtee has successfully recruited several young men to try out and join her squads. Coach McAtee has developed youth well enough to have several receive scholarships for cheerleading. She has encouraged and prepped youth to try out for national honors. Many of these tryouts have resulted in youth being selected to national honor squads. It is not always about the trophies for Coach McAtee and her squads. It is about the youth, what they get from cheerleading and making sure all are welcome, and all participate. Coach McAtee is a role model for these youth, and the youth show her respect and gratitude. As her fourth year starts at Solon, there is excitement for her and her squad. Go Spartans!
Waukesha South High school, Waukesha, WI
The Waukesha South soccer program needed help, but once Coach Camacho came along, it all changed. There are a lot of kids in Waukesha, thanks to Coach Camacho, who can now play in High Level Soccer Club, which is one of the best clubs in Wisconsin. He has worked with players to improve their grades. Every Monday and Wednesday, he hosts Study Night, when everyone in the soccer program goes to the school library for tutoring. He always checks his players’ grades and classroom behavior. He truly cares about his players as if they were his children. Coach Camacho is not just a coach, but also a father figure to the team. Coach Camacho has done a wonderful job improving the culture of Waukesha South soccer and turning the program into a winner.
East Newton High School, Granby, MO
Coach Guinn is a good man and a great sport coach. He always asks, “How could we make things better?” Coach Guinn encourages each athlete to have a good attitude, to always show good sportsmanship and to cheer for the team. He has a long history of undefeated games and record-setting wins, because Coach Guinn believes that hard work pays off. If any player gets down on herself for any reason, he is always building her confidence back up. If kids want to play in the summer league and they can’t afford the fee, he will either waive the fee or pay it himself. He is willing to do whatever it takes to make sure the games can be played. He will work concession stands, umpire the games, mow the grass at the Granby fields, take out the trash and keep the bathrooms cleaned. During the summer, he is always the first person at the field and always the last one to leave. He also makes sure the kids have what they need to play, like gloves, cleats and equipment. And if they don’t, he manages to get them what they need. Our communities need more people like Coach Guinn.
Northwest collegiate and Technical academy school, Littleton, NC
Coach Basnight strives for his players to have a great school year, and he works hard to create great memories for them. Coach Basnight uses his own money to pay for the kids’ equipment and meals before games, and he inspires them to give back. He also had the players clean and move furniture at another school just to give a helping hand to the maintenance department. Before the season started, Coach had the players go to church together, and he told them, “I do not just want you to be great players. I want you to be great young men of the community.”
Alburnett CSD/Cedar Valley Christian , Alburnett, IA
A true coach is not rooted in wins and losses on the field or court. He is rooted in the wins and losses of people. Coach Slagle creates an environment built on caring, empathy and true compassion. He not only lives this on the field but also as a law enforcement agent, father, husband and community member. His positivity and willingness to give back is evident. His strong relationships and other intrapersonal beliefs contribute to his success on the field. Coach Slagle has true passion for his student-athletes as people. He is there to shake their hands or console their sorrows. Coach Slagle's commitment to his community shows through his work as a policeman, coach and volunteer. On a daily basis he serves lunch at the school as a way to be a servant to the school and students. His actions show others what they can accomplish when inspired by a purpose beyond themselves. He pushes for high standards of athletics, academics and behavior, holding each team member accountable for their performance.
Mt. Horeb High School, Mt Horeb , WI
Coach Koller-Faust makes every student feel like a worthy part of the team. The team has become her extended family. She fights for every tenth of a point when she feels a judge missed giving credit. She is organized, whether the team hosts invites, sectionals or just a normal meet. Coach Koller-Faust has had many accomplishments and awards over the years at Mt. Horeb High School, yet she remains humble. Her teams have excelled, going to state championships many times. She continues to instill in future generations that hard work can make wishes come true in becoming a good gymnast, while having fun in the process. She also contributes to the community. She and her team partnered with the local American Legion to place flags on lawns for different holidays, such as Independence Day.
Southwestern, Hazel Green, WI
Coach Wiederholt truly has a love for gymnastics and a love for helping her athletes succeed. It doesn't matter if they are new to gymnastics or if they have been in it for most of their lives, every student receives the same attention and dedication each and every day. She's been coaching since 1974 and has no plans to stop; she's too busy improving her gymnasts. Coach Wiederholt has won a number of team and individual state championship titles, coach of the year awards, and a place in the Wisconsin Hall of Fame. She also serves on coaches’ advisory councils, committees and has even worked with the WIAA (state sports organization) to bring about changes to include more gymnasts in the state tournament. In addition to coaching, she led efforts to start a nonprofit gymnastic center in her town. For over 20 years she and her gymnasts had set up the entire gymnastics gym every day, practiced for three hours, and then tore down and put away the equipment because the school did not have designated space for the gymnastics team. She also leads a number of fundraisers each year to raise funds for new equipment, leotards, and more for her students.
Mount Ayr Community High School, Mount Ayr, IA
Coach Ford is not only a great coach, but also a great mentor. He cares about each of the students, helping them improve on the wrestling mat and in life. For over twenty years, Coach Ford has helped young athletes from peewee wrestling all the way up to high school. He does his best to make each student feel that they can accomplish anything with hard work and dedication. Every year, the wrestling team donates money toward a cancer foundation; last year Coach Ford had the idea to help people in the community as well. The team used part of the money to get gift cards for local families who were dealing with cancer. Four years ago, Coach Ford’s wife went through a double lung transplant, so he knows firsthand how expensive it can be. Every little bit helps. Coach Ford believes in helping young athletes grow into strong, good, kind and passionate adults, as well as building their self-esteem to know they can accomplish any task. Even if the score at the end of the meet isn't a winning score, his young athletes always win in his eyes.
Springville Community Schools, Springville, IA
Football and Athletic Director
Coach Martin goes above and beyond when it comes to his players. He takes time to help his players who are having problems with their grades. He wants all the students who play sports to succeed and be better students and members of the community. He encourages them to volunteer in the community. He has a very positive attitude, and if a student is having a problem with their schoolwork or on the football field, he'll figure out a way to help them.
Sutherlin High School, Sutherlin, OR
Coach Grotting makes an amazing impact on his students. It is easy to point to the stats – four consecutive state girls basketball titles, 10 of the last 11 league championships. But the bigger impact is the development of person, team and culture he creates. Based on height or natural talent alone, his players should not be state champions. Yet his teams have every hallmark of champions: work ethic, communication, teamwork, learned skill and applied intelligence. They are good because he brings the best out of them and creates championship teams of players he has invested a great deal in. That's why they win on the court, in the classroom and when they leave high school, and it is why he is indeed a great coach.
Keokuk senior high school, Keokuk, IA
Football, Basketball, Track & Weight Room
Coach McGhghy coaches his players to be their best on the field and in their everyday lives. He requires his players to commit to at least ten hours of community service every season, and to become team captain, the player must submit a resume and go through an interview process. Because he wants to produce not only great players, but great citizens. Coach McGhghy has started an annual event in our community to bring awareness and raise funds for cerebral palsy. The "captains" of the night are children who have cerebral palsy. There is also a balloon release at the start of the night and a silent auction to raise funds. Each year the event grows in our community and the surrounding area. Another achievement for Coach McGhghy is the creation of "Bentley's Playground." It is a special needs accessible playground for all kids to enjoy. It has taken over three years' worth of fundraising and volunteer work from our entire community to complete this project. Coach McGhghy doesn’t just win football games, he uses his position to make a difference in the lives of his players and his entire community.
Claremore Christian School, CLAREMORE, OK
At Claremore Christian, Coach Mullins is a teacher and an Administrator – and he cleans the school. He began the eight-man football team in 2005 and it’s still going strong. He has taught his students to succeed on the field and in life. He teaches giving, respect and so much more. He helps in the community by participating in food drives, at the Good Samaritan Ministries, Rogers County DHS Crisis Center, Blue Starr Mothers, Mexico missions, Thailand missions and more. The amount of time that he puts into the school and the community is incredible; he even takes care of the football field. He is consistently thoughtful of others and puts his staff members and students first.
Thomas Jefferson High School, Council Bluffs, IA
Coach Manz, through his insistence upon character and effort, is truly changing the lives of students and the culture of Thomas Jefferson High School. He is a role model for his athletes, as well as all of his students. He sets the bar high and he gives kids the tools to reach it. As a wrestling coach, he has built up the program so much that the team has had individual state wrestling champions two years in a row, along with other wrestlers competing at the state meet. He teaches the kids grit, dedication, positive mindset, focus and resilience. They learn to put in effort every single day to achieve their goals, so when they leave his program, they know how to accomplish great things for themselves, and also how to be part of a larger community.
Mt. Abram High School, Salem Twp., ME
Soccer, Track, Skiing & Robotics
Coach Danala makes each of his athletes feel valued, so they are eager to be represent Mt. Abram High School. He opens his teams to everyone who has a desire to participate. His track team started with just a few students and has now grown to over 50 athletes of all levels. The soccer program was in need of a coach and Coach Danala stepped up to fill the position. He is also involved in the Mt. Abram summer school program, which helps at-risk and failing students get back on track. As part of that program, the students and leaders tackle a high adventure event, utilizing the vast outdoor resources in the area. Coach Danala also inspires students in the classroom. He teaches a robotics class that he started from scratch, and over the years it has grown so much that the students now compete in state competitions. Coach Danala is also the Scout Master in a local Boy Scout troop. Whether it’s in school, on the field, or throughout the greater community, Coach Danala’s jovial, caring way helps young people grow. If someone needs uplifting, Coach Danala is there.
Bellevue East , Bellevue, NE
Coach Horton does nothing but give of his time, talents and treasures. He has had plenty of opportunities to move on to college coaching or other positions, but instead he remains loyal to Bellevue East, his team and his community. He proudly displays love for his school and community. He pushes the students to be the best softball players and teammates they can be, but more importantly, he teaches them to give back to their community and school. His players work as a team at the monthly mobile food pantry at Mission Middle School, and at a separate food pantry in December, to give back. He also has the students help at the annual Buddy Baseball game, where the players pair up with the kids from the Down Syndrome Alliance of the Midlands. You’ll see Coach Horton working at fireworks stands or running bowling fundraisers to help support the team. He spends countless hours cheering on his high school players throughout the summer, as they play with their traveling teams. And he invites the team into his home to share time with his family for his annual holiday party. Nobody is as dedicated to their players, program, school, and community as Coach Horton.
Narraguagus Jr/Sr High School , Harrington , ME
Coach Thompson returned to her alma mater Narraguagus High School to take over the coaching position when the program was struggling, and participation has increased drastically since. In her second year as the girls’ basketball coach, she led the team to the Maine Class C state title by teaching hard work, sportsmanship and dedication. On and off the court, she is an outstanding role model who encourages her players to be good citizens, show the community their appreciation, and to give back. She is responsible for the creation of a mentorship program and basketball camp for younger female athletes, organizing donations to the Ronald McDonald House charity, sending cards overseas made by the basketball team, winter clothing donation efforts, and so much more. Her enthusiasm is contagious and the community feels she has breathed new life and excitement into basketball in Downeast Maine. Coach Thompson does so much for her teams, and she is loved by all who have played for her.
Brian C. Stone
Manchester Trinity, Manchester, NH
Coach Stone is a state champion coach, but he teaches more than just ice hockey. Coach Stone is a "transformational" coach, as opposed to a "transactional" coach. He truly cares about each player as a person and would rather teach life lessons than win hockey games. Coach Stone and his students volunteer at Food for Children. As a team, they distribute food to the underprivileged families in the city. At each team breakfast, he’ll ask a player to prepare a speech on a given topic—integrity, sacrifice, respect, character, humility— and how it relates to both hockey and life.
Brodhead Highschool, Brodhead, WI
Cross country, Track and field
Coach Gratz is not just a coach, but also a friend to his students. He inspires success in running and also at life. He spends hours at practice with his team, and hours after practice helping his students with their homework. His door is open to anyone in need and his family is constantly organizing fundraisers and mission trips to help impoverished African communities. Whether it’s as a tutor, mentor or friend, he will help anyone who needs it. As a coach, he has made practice a thing that everyone looks forward to, even when it’s a hard workout. He sees the good in people and their true potential. At home, he is a father to four amazing kids, a husband to an incredibly supportive wife, a friend and, most importantly, a role model. Under Coach Gratz’s leadership, the cross-country team won their first-ever conference title in back to back years.
Duncan High School, Duncan, OK
Coach Bowers is dedicated to his team, his community and the service of others. Coach Bowers has been on the leadership team for several youth mission trips, helping to repair homes for those in need. He serves as a deacon at his church. He has helped deliver summer lunches to needy children. Coach Bowers recently started a community swim team that allowed small-town and homeschool students to be part of a competitive swim team. He has grown the high school team from a few swimmers to a team with several champions. He has been the Regional Coach of the Year two years in a row. And was an All-State coach. Not long ago, he welcomed a special needs student onto his swim team. He trained her, encouraged her and cheered her on as she won gold in the Special Olympics. Later, she represented the team as the Sports Queen candidate. He recently went to a child's swim birthday party and gave a presentation on water safety and teamwork. The students respect and honor him, as he respects and honors them. As he says, "It’s not teaching them to swim, but teaching them how to be men and women."
Putnam City North High School, Oklahoma City, OK
Coach Scott is the high school softball coach at Piedmont High School. He pushes his players to do their best, not just on the field but off the field as well. Coach Scott loves the game of softball but he loves his players even more. Coach Scott always puts his players first. In 14 years of coaching, he has been to the state tournament 10 times. He has helped over 42 of his athletes get college scholarships. Coach Scott makes his athletes believe in themselves and motivates them to become a winning team. Coach Scott is a positive role model for many generations of players, and has made a difference in countless lives.
Northern Garrett High School, Accident, MD
Coach Houser has been coaching in one way or another for the past 14 years, including little league, travel softball, high school softball and football. Coach Houser respects the sports that he coaches, and he has respect for his athletes. He enforces the importance of academics, with more than 95% of last year’s softball team achieving Minds in Motion awards. Coach Houser is always there for his athletes, whether they need help in school, at home or on the field. He is always encouraging them, connecting with his players on a personal level and making them feel good about their efforts and talents. He makes practice fun while teaching the skills of the game. Coach Houser has held clinics to raise money for a local charity. Last year, he started a winter weight-lifting program for the school’s female athletes. He has taken the team to the playoffs the last two years and the team continues to improve with great strides.
Blanchard High school, Blanchard , OK
Coach Booker is a tough coach. She pushes her teams to be the best they can be, and she does not accept anything less. Her efforts are constant and consistent, not only with the team on the field, but the field maintenance, in the classroom as a science teacher and even as a bus driver picking up students. Coach Booker was a former collegiate-level athlete, and has great knowledge of the game. She runs off-season weight training and conditioning to improve the team's strength, speed and agility. Coach Booker is more than a coach. She shapes the lives of her players, and she teaches them to work hard and never quit.
Clinton High School, Clinton, TN
Coach McKamey goes above and beyond. Not only for his school and community, but also for his family. He is a motivator to all whom he comes in contact with. Coach McKamey is a Clinton alumnus, and since he has returned to his alma mater, there has been a revitalization in the community. He helped fundraise for a new campus field house, he had the football team help with pancake breakfasts and he even helped open cars for Clinton Elementary School students and walk them to class. Coach McKamey has overcome tremendous adversity over the past couple years. His son was a football player for the United States Naval Academy and tragically passed away during a non-contact play at practice. His son’s impact was without compare and touched the hearts of many in the East Tennessee region and beyond. Former president Obama even spoke a few words regarding the matter. And throughout it all, Coach McKamey has maintained a high level of excellence and been a fixture in the community. Coach McKamey challenges his players and helps them grow to carry on the excellence he inspires.
Foxcroft Academy , Dover Foxcroft , ME
Soccer & Wrestling
Coach Luis Ayala has coached varsity soccer and wrestling at Foxcroft Academy for the past eighteen years. Coach Ayala also coaches the youth soccer teams, travel teams and K-12 wrestling. Each year, he coaches 250 children. He is a coach who leads by example, is passionate about teaching life lessons that extend far beyond the soccer field and wrestling mat, and treats all of his athletes as if they were his own children. The youth wrestling program was completely established and has been sustained by fundraising efforts by Coach Ayala and he believes if athletes are given the tools to succeed, they will. Coach Ayala has seen his teams win conference, regional and state championships. He has been voted Conference and State Coach of the Year four times and has amassed over 400 team wins. His former athletes frequently return to visit and thank Coach Ayala for pushing them to succeed in the classroom, on the field, on the mat and in their future goals and ambitions—wherever that might take them. Truly, this small—town coach has not only made a positive impact on the community, but an impact that has been felt worldwide.
Holmen High School, Holmen, WI
Coach Kowalski goes above and beyond just football. He teaches the team about brotherhood. As a team, all players matter and work together, whether that is on the field, running laps or completing school work. Coach Kowalski has started a program where the players do team building and drills with local ROTC members, and he takes the time to get to know the players and their parents. He teaches the students about showing others respect and making good choices. In the classroom, Coach Kowalski teaches social studies, world geography, history and driver’s ed. In his off time, he volunteers a lot of his time supervising the weight room and putting on strength and conditioning programs for all athletes. He is a positive role model keeps a cool head regardless of the game outcome. He strives to make every game a positive experience, making his players better people.
Milton High School, Milton, WI
Wrestling and Baseball
Along with teaching social studies, Coach Jauch is also the wrestling coach. He has also started coaching high school baseball and youth wrestling for the city. He is always giving of himself and never asking for anything in return. His community is enriched by his dedication to his faith, which he uses to support a men's shelter, lead a men's study group at his church and hold an ongoing bible study for high school students. He puts in countless hours as a coach, as a student council advisor and as a mentor. Coach Jauch has dedicated his life to teaching his students and athletes, not only knowledge and skills, but responsibility and accountability. Although winning is always the goal, he focuses on character building. He teaches them the values of hard work and selflessness, and the importance of being a kind, caring human being who never gives up on themselves or on others. He shows empathy to kids going through tough times by spending extra time with them. He doesn't judge, he supports. He doesn't let kids settle or take the easy way out. He teaches kids to overcome adversity and to be humble in both success and defeat.
Pekin High School, Packwood, IA
Cross Country, Girls Basketball & Boys Track
Coach Eidahl has coached for 53 years and has had great success. He has received numerous State Coach of the Year awards for both cross-country and track and field, he’s been a National Coach of the Year, and was the first cross-country coach to receive the Golden Plaque of Distinction from the Girls High School Athletic Union. These awards show his dedication to the sport, but very few know what he does behind the scenes for his community and students. Coach Eidahl buys shoes, spikes, sweats and meals for kids who can't afford them. He has also spent over 20 years organizing girls’ youth basketball teams and hosting tournaments to get more young girls participating in basketball in the community. One of the most kind and generous things Coach Eidahl has done for countless years is organize a Turkey Trot road race. It is the longest running race in Iowa, and all the money helps a local family in need. In the past few years, recipients have included two students who have had organ donations, and a janitor who needed back surgery. Coach Eidahl doesn't want the recognition. He loves his school, his community, his athletes and his students.