How did you get into coaching?
My first coaching position was as an Assistant Varsity Soccer coach at a school that was notorious for winning. Of course I had no knowledge of this because I had never even heard of the school before & it was an hour from where I lived. I merely responded to an ad in the newspaper. I was only a couple of years out of college & as my father reminded me, I was ’the most well educated bartender" in town, which meant...get a different job! So I did. I saw "soccer coach needed" & I jumped at the opportunity.
After I was told I had gotten the job I called the head coach & ended up speaking with his son who informed me that his father was in emergency quadruple by-pass surgery & that I may be in for more than I bargained for. He was right, it was more than I had bargained for, but in the best way possible. I learned more form this coach in the 2 years that I worked with him than I did in my 2 years of Grad School. I loved it, it was the perfect start to a coaching career!
What do you like about coaching?
When teaching & coaching at a school, what I like most is getting to know the kids on a different level. As a teacher you don’t always get the complete picture of a student, but when you coach that same student there is a whole different person who comes onto the field. It’s more personal & you have a better understanding of who they are.
I love to see athletes improve their game, to help them & see them work for something & the excitement of success is just awesome! That’s when they really take pride in what they do.
What has been your greatest coaching moment?
My greatest coaching moment is probably unlike most. I have not won a state championship or anything like that. My greatest moment was when my team came into preseason conditioned! It was my second year as the Varsity soccer coach & to me that meant that the girls trusted me, respected me enough to have done their conditioning work over the summer (which never happens), & that they were ready to work their butts off for me. And that they did, we were #1 in our division, won the league championship, & made the semi-finals of the sectional tournament. For this team, that was a big deal! These girls were starting to see the bigger picture, & for me, that was mission accomplished.
What was your greatest moment as an athlete?
I don’t recall having a "greatest moment". I was always good at what I did, because I was athletic. I wasn’t a very technical player, but what I lacked in skill I made up for in sheer speed & physicality. I could score goals!!
When you stop coaching one day, what will you most want to be remembered for by the athletes you have coached?
The day I stop coaching will be the day they drag my lifeless body off the soccer field. I suppose that is what I will be remembered for. But I can only hope that the kids I have coached know that no matter how hard I pushed them, or how mean I was some days, that I wanted them to be the best person both on & off of the field that they could possibly be. And that I cared about them as an individual.
What aspects of sports have you learned to appreciate since you have been a coach rather than an athlete?
What I can certainly appreciate now as a coach that as an athlete I didn’t, is the actual time commitment that is put in by coaches. It’s not just showing up to training or games, it’s the countless hours put in off of the field too. Planning training sessions, planning game strategies, traveling, scouting other teams, team building activities, the list goes on. Divide a coach’s salary by the hours worked & it’s actual pennies. More importantly, you become a friend & sometimes like a second parent to players, which is certainly priceless.
The other aspect of sports that I can mostly appreciate now, is that the officials can’t possibly always be wrong. Can they?