Coaching Today

National Coaches of the Year – 2010

Twenty-one high school coaches from across the country have been selected 2010 National Coaches of the Year by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Coaches Association.

The NFHS, which has been recognizing coaches through an awards program since 1982, honors coaches in the top 10 girls sports and top 10 boys sports (by participation numbers), and in one “other” category that is not included in these 20 categories. Winners of NFHS awards must be active coaches during the year in which they receive their award. This year’s awards recognize coaches for the 2009-10 school year.

Recipients of this year’s national awards for boys sports are: 

Thomas Stone, football, Packwood (Iowa) Pekin High School; Tony Mauldin, basketball, Garland (Texas) Lakeview Centennial High School; John McInnis, track and field, Brandon (Mississippi) High School; Mac Whitaker, baseball, Cynthiana (Kentucky) Harrison County High School; Terry Michler, soccer, St. Louis (Missouri) CBC High School; Bobby Jefferson, wrestling, Muskogee (Oklahoma) High School; Christopher Young, cross country, Ionia (Michigan) High School; Lawrence Ries, golf, Flemington (New Jersey) Hunterdon Central High School; Jeff Wood, tennis, Portland (Oregon) Jesuit High School; and Mark Onstott, swimming and diving, Winnetka (Illinois) New Trier High School.

Recipients of the 2010 NFHS national awards for girls sports are: 

Steve Ingram, basketball, Olathe (Kansas ) South High School; Larry Royce, track and field, Bellevue (Washington) Christian High School; Ann Schilling, volleyball, Daphne (Alabama) Bayside Academy; Rhonda Blevins, softball, Richlands (Virginia) High School; Diane Davey, soccer, Plano (Texas) Senior High School; Jeffrey Holman, tennis, Haddonfield (New Jersey) Memorial High School; Joe Volk, cross country, Medford (Oregon) St. Mary’s School; Rex Watkins, swimming and diving, Albany (Oregon) Crescent Valley High School; Terri Simonetti-Frost, field hockey, Columbus (Ohio) Thomas Worthington High School; and Greg Guinn, golf, West Liberty (Iowa) High School.

The recipient of the National Coach of the Year Award for other sports is Joanne Thaw, girls gymnastics, Newton (Kansas) High School.

Following is bio information on the 2010 award winners:

Boys Sports 


National Coaches of the Year_Mac WhitakerWinning will undoubtedly be a part of the legacy of Mac Whitaker whenever he decides to hang up his cleats. The baseball coach at Harrison County High School in Cynthiana, Kentucky for 32 seasons, Whitaker has been at the helm for 913 victories and 84 championships. His titles include 30 conference championships, 30 district championships, 20 regional championships and four state titles, in addition to 24 state runner-up finishes.

Whitaker was the Kentucky High School Athletic Association’s (KHSAA) Baseball Chairman from 1987 to 2010. He also served as a regional representative for the Kentucky High School Baseball Coaches Association (KHSBCA) for 12 years. The KHSBCA has awarded Whitaker six of his 11 coach of the year honors. Whitaker is also a member of the KHSBCA Hall of Fame and has been named an Honorary Kentucky Colonel by the state governor.

Whitaker has coached both genders on the diamond, serving as Harrison County High’s softball coach for 14 years. He was involved in middle school baseball and softball for 10 years as well as middle school football for six years. The Drug Abuse Resistance Education program at Harrison Country High exists thanks in part to Whitaker, who also helps select members for the KHSAA Youth Leadership Program. Whitaker also belongs to Cynthiana’s Elks Club and Lions Club.

The foundation of Whitaker’s philosophy on athletics is “success in getting athletes to play together as a team, play hard and reach their ultimate potentials while having fun.” Whitaker also “strive[s] to make every player’s baseball experience one that not only develops skills, but provides a well-rounded individual who contributes to his or her community, becomes a successful citizen and will have positive life-long memories.”


National Coach of the Year_Toney MauldinWith 781 wins and six state championship titles in 37 seasons of coaching, Tony Mauldin has had a memorable career thus far at Lakeview Centennial High School in Garland, Texas. Mauldin and his teams have captured eight conference championships, eight district championships and seven regional championships. In 10 appearances at the state finals, Mauldin has gone home with six championships.

A member of the Texas Basketball Hall of Fame and the Garland Sports Hall of Fame, Mauldin has played a large role in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches (TABC) throughout his career. He has been named to the president and vice president posts and has also served as a board member. Mauldin also belongs to the Texas High School Coaches Association (THSCA) and the Texas High School Athletic Directors Association.

Mauldin has been named an All-Star Coach for the THSCA and the TABC, and has been finalist for State Coach of the Year in Texas. Currently the girls athletic coordinator at Lakeview Centennial, Mauldin also has served as basketball representative for the Garland Independent School District and football stadium manager.

Mauldin, who believes that “coaches have an opportunity to take a young athlete and mold them into something beautiful,” participates in a free clinic for Garland Pee Wee Basketball each October. He also has involved his team with a program called Life Kids, and he and the team helped those from Life Kids run the Special Olympics last year.

Mauldin appreciates his opportunity to be a coach because the kids are “the future of our nation, and working with a team is one of the things that helps people be successful, no matter what they choose to do in the future.”

Cross Country 

National Coach of the Year_Christopher YoungChristopher Young has enjoyed tremendous success as a coach and as a member of his community. At Ionia (Michigan) High School, Young has led the boys cross country team to 340 victories in 34 seasons. Over the past five years, Young’s teams have taken home five conference championships and a state title. Young’s career record also includes 19 more conference championships and five regional championships.

A member of the Michigan Interscholastic Track Coaches Association’s (MITCA) Cross Country Committee and the Michigan Retired Teachers Association, Young has received coach of the year honors 14 times. MITCA named Young the Division Two State COTY in 2009 and the Regional COTY on three separate occasions.

Young has been involved in numerous activities and associations outside of Ionia High. He has created a 4-H outdoor wilderness club, a running club for kids and adults, a summer track camp for children ages 4-12 and a middle school sports training program. Young has also done charity work in the form of the March of Dimes and a Habitat Fundraiser.

At Ionia, Young is on the Curriculum Committee and the Social Studies Development of Standards. He has also been a Little League coach for three years and a travel basketball coach for two years. His philosophy on athletics is that “sports are an extension of teaching allowing the student to experience team and social skills not taught in the classroom.”


National Coach of the Year_Thomas StoneUpon completing his 44th season as the head coach of Packwood (Iowa) Pekin High School’s (Iowa) football team, Thomas Stone received a NFHS Coaches Association Coach of the Year award and called it a career. During that career, Stone compiled 332 wins, 13 district championships and 21 regional championships. Stone was a state runner-up finalist four times and a state champion three times.

Stone has been involved with multiple associations during his tenure at Pekin. Within the Iowa Football Coaches Association, Stone has been president and vice president as well as a member of the board of directors, playoff committee, membership committee and coach of the year committee. Stone is also involved with the Iowa Football Coaches Association (IFCA) and the National Education Association.

Stone was recognized as the National Football Coach of the Year in 2000 by the National High School Athletic Coaches Association. He was also named the IFCA State Coach of the Year in Class IA in 1993, and he has been awarded District Coach of the Year on 10 occasions. Outside of football, Stone has also served as a high school and junior high school coach for wrestling, basketball and track and field.

Stone, a member of the Packwood Methodist Church, developed the Boys Letter Club and Leadership Club at Pekin High. He is involved with the Ruritans Club and has been a chairman on the Student Assistance Team, which deals with “at-risk students,” for the past 17 years. Stone’s philosophy on athletics is based on “three things all of our students should strive for: always do your best to perform the fundamentals of your sport, treat others the way you want to be treated and stay together and play together.”


National Coach of the Year_Lawrence RiesIn the 30 seasons that Lawrence Ries has been the boys golf coach of Hunterdon Central High School in Flemington, New Jersey, his school and his community have been given quite the helping hand. As far as the golf team is concerned, Ries has 467 wins, 19 conference championships, 10 regional championships, five runner-up finalist finishes and four state championships.

Ries, who has also had a strong influence on boys soccer at Hunterdon Central, is a member of the New Jersey State Coaches Association and the NFHS Coaches Association. Ries is associated with two golf groups (Spirit of Golf Foundation and High Bridge Golf Group) as well as three soccer associations (National Soccer Coaches Association of America, Greater Flemington Soccer Club and Hunterdon United Soccer Club).

Coach of the year is an honor that has been tied to Ries’ name nine times, including four such awards from Courier News Golf. Ries has also been inducted into the New Jersey Coaches Hall of Fame.

The list of organizations and clubs of which Ries is a part is impressive. He served as varsity soccer coach from 1979 to 2007 and as assistant golf coach from 1975 to 1978. Raritan Valley Community College’s basketball team used Ries as its coach in 1988 and 1989, and he has coached numerous golf, soccer and basketball clinics. In addition, Ries founded the Great Flemington Soccer Club and co-founded the Hunterdon United Soccer Club. He also started girls golf at Hunterdon Central in 2003. Outside of school, Ries works with the Tinicum Conservancy Organization, the Volunteer Palisades Youth Organization and the Volunteer Deep Run Youth Organization.

Ries says he emphasizes “commitment, pride, team spirit and high standards for personal conduct.” Ries also wants his players to “establish realistic goals and play to the best of their ability.”


National Coach of the Year_Terry MichlerTerry Michler believes in athletics being “fun combined with a sense of purpose.” In 39 years as the boys soccer coach at Christian Brothers College High School in St. Louis, Missouri, it’s clear that his philosophy works. Michler holds a career record of 809-199-96 and has captured nine conference championships, 21 district championships and 18 regional championships. In 12 trips to the state championships, Michler’s teams have brought home six titles.

The National Soccer Coaches Association of America, of which Michler is currently a member, awarded Michler the National Coach of the Year award in 1985. Since then, Michler has been inducted into three halls of fame and has won the Catholic Youth Council’s Silver Boot Award, which was given to him for 25 years of dedicated service to soccer in St. Louis.

Michler is associated with the CBC DutchTouch International Soccer Program and New Dimensions Soccer. The latter does work with inner city and refuge kids in soccer instruction and organized play. Michler also runs a summer camp in St. Louis for young soccer players from Holland, as well as a free eight-week youth soccer coaches education program.

The three-book author says that “preparation is the key to performance in sports and in life.”

Swimming and Diving 

National Coach of the Year_Mark OnstottUndefeated in regular season action for the past five seasons, the swimming program at New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois built by Mark Onstott is strong, to say the least. Onstott’s teams have been tough to beat both lately and throughout his 32-year career. Onstott has recorded 392 victories and has been at the helm for 20 conference titles, 22 district championships, two regional titles and seven state championships, along with three runner-up finalist finishes.

Onstott has been a key member of the Iowa High School Coaches Association, the Texas Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association and the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association (NISCA), at which he has held the positions of president, president-elect, secretary, treasurer, region representative, All-America coordinator and zone director. Onstott also belongs to the National Education Association, the American Swimming Coaches Association and the Illinois Swimming Association.

The awards and honors that have come to Onstott are numerous. Onstott has been named coach of the year 38 times, with the majority of the honors (16) coming by way of the District/Sectional Coach of the Year award. Onstott is a member of two halls of fame and has received a NISCA Outstanding Service Award.

Onstott has done what he can to help New Trier and the local community outside of high school swimming. While he is the girls assistant swimming coach, Onstott also serves as Aquatics Director and Kinetic Wellness Course Leader at New Trier High. Within the community, Onstott has helped with the Special Olympics, the New Trier Guard, Boy Scouts and American Red Cross.

Onstott’s philosophy on athletics is that “life lessons learned in athletics are more important than the races won and will benefit the athlete long after the meets are over.”


National Coach of the Year_Jeff WoodJeff Wood has created an absolutely dominant boys tennis program at Portland (Oregon) Jesuit High School during the past 15 years. Wood’s teams have lost a total of three regular-season matches while also compiling 196 wins in 15 seasons. Wood has captured 14 conference and district championships as well as six state championships and three state runner-up finishes.

Wood, who has been rated a Professional 1 by the United States Tennis Association since 1986, was a Class 4A representative to the Oregon Athletic Coaches Association’s Executive Board and a member of the Class 4A seeding committee for the Oregon School Activities Association. Wood also belongs to the Oregon Department of Education’s certified anabolic steroid drug-training program.

Wood has earned 21 Coach of the Year awards, including 11 for the Metro League COTY and one for the Region Eight COTY. An advisor to the Greater Portland Tennis Council, Wood served as Jesuit High’s athletic trainer from 1987 to 2000. He has also been a student coordinator for a work-study program and a school liaison for the Adolescents Training and Learning to Avoid Steroids program. In addition, Wood has provided classes to get Jesuit’s students and faculty CPR-certified.

Wood’s philosophy on athletics is that “as a coach, I hope to instill a sense of team commitment and sacrifice. I would consider that to be more important than winning.”

Track and Field 

National Coach of the Year_John McInnisTrack and field has seen great success at Brandon (Mississippi) High School, thanks, in large part, to the coaching of John McInnis. In his past five seasons, McInnis has captured four district championships, four regional championships and two state championships with his boys and girls teams. McInnis has compiled 26 state championships between the two teams in 38 seasons of coaching, with six of them coming in the past 10 years with the boys squad.

McInnis belongs to the NFHS Coaches Association and was a former member of the Track and Field Committee in the Mississippi Association of Coaches (MAC). McInnis formerly held the title of chairman of the Track and Field Committee in the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools as well.

The NFHS Coaches Association has honored McInnis with a Mississippi Coach of the Year award three times (two for boys track and field). McInnis has been named Coach of the Year by the Mississippi High School Activities Association three times and by the MAC eight times. Also, the Pillow Academy Sports Hall of Fame recently inducted McInnis into its ranks.

Outside of track and field, McInnis stays active within Brandon High and the community. McInnis is the chairman of the physical education department and the head junior high school boys track and field coach. McInnis was a 13-year assistant coach for the varsity and eighth-grade football teams. He is also a member and deacon at the Brandon Presbyterian Church, as well as the Huddle Leader for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

McInnis’ philosophy of athletics is that “participation in athletics provides a foundation for the building of one’s character. An athlete may, through misfortune or fault, lose a lot in life, but the feelings derived from hard work, sacrifice, discipline and teamwork will stay with him or her forever.”


National Coach of the Year_Bobby JeffersonBobby Jefferson has been a coaching force to be reckoned with for 30 seasons. As the wrestling coach at Muskogee (Oklahoma) High School, Jefferson has led his teams to 288 victories with 79 losses and two ties. Jefferson has coached 11 conference championship-winning teams and has nabbed 15 district championships. During the past five seasons, Jefferson has won his first regional and state championship as well.

A member of the Oklahoma Coaches and Oklahoma Wrestling Coaches Associations, Jefferson has held the title of conference president. The NFHS Coaches Association member was also part of the 6A-5A All-State Selection Committee, the 6A Redistricting Committee and the 6A Wrestling Advisory Committee. Jefferson is also a member of the National Wrestling Coaches Association.

Jefferson has been the recipient of multiple awards and honors, including the National Wrestling Coaches Association Oklahoma Coach of the Year distinction, the 6A Coach of the Year award and the Oklahoma Officials Association Coach of the Year award. Jefferson is also an inductee in the Oklahoma Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Having served some important roles at Muskogee, Jefferson’s contributions to his community are recognizable. Jefferson, along with holding the position of athletic director at one time, has been a part of Muskogee’s Superintendent Council and Parent-Teacher-Student Association. He is also an active member of the Muskogee First Baptist Church. A member of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Jefferson also had a hand in setting up drug screening for all local athletes.

Jefferson’s philosophy on athletics is that “we all have been great a time or two in our lives in one phase or another. The challenge in life is to be great in all phases consistently.”

Girls Sports


National Coach of the Year_Steve IngramAs the head coach of the Olathe (Kansas) South High School girls basketball team, Steve Ingram has only lost 14 games in the past five seasons. The 34-year coach has a career mark of 431-260 and has led his squads to eight conference championships, 10 regional championships, three state runner-up finishes and one state championship.

The president of the Greater Kansas City Basketball Coaches Association since 2008, Ingram has received 23 awards and honors, including the Sunflower League Girls Coach of the Year award eight times and the Olathe Newspaper Girls Coach of the Year in All Sports award twice. Ingram was the president of the Kansas Basketball Association in 1986-87 and also held posts as a Kansas Basketball Delegate for the National High School Athletic Coaches Association and as Basketball Rules Committee Chairman for the Kansas Coaches Association. Ingram is a member of the NFHS Coaches Association along with three Kansas-based coaching associations.

Ingram has served as a girls basketball, boys basketball, football, track and field, cross country and volleyball coach across three high schools and a junior high school. Ingram created the Letterman’s Club at Wetmore High School, where he coached boys basketball, football and track and field. He is also involved with the Letterman’s Club at Olathe South High, in addition to the Lions Club, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Anti-Drinking Program. Ingram’s philosophy on athletics is that “high school athletics is intended to teach characteristics and allow people to be more successful in life at a later age.” He added that “lessons learned through competition and training should be able to help a person succeed later in life.” 


Cross Country 

National Coach of the Year_Joe VolkJoe Volk has played an important role in girls cross country at St. Mary’s School in Medford, Oregon, and throughout the Medford area for the past 29 years. Though the school does not keep a win-loss record due to not having a dual-meet season, Volk’s statistics as a coach are impressive. He has led his teams to seven conference championships, five district championship, three runner-up finalist finishes and three state championships.

Volk belongs to the American Sport Education Program and the Oregon Athletic Coaches Association (OACA), as well as the National Catholic Educational Association. Volk, who is also a contributor to the 1A-3A State Cross Country Rankings Coaches Poll, has been named District Six Cross Country Coach of the Year four times and is a three-time winner of both the South Cascade League Coach of the Year and the OACA Cross Country Coach of the Year awards.

Volk’s dedication to running and coaching is evident through the work he has done in his career. Volk has been the head coach of the boys and girls track teams at St. Mary’s since 1987 and he developed St. Mary’s middle school cross country team in 1988. He has been the Crusader Cross Country Invitational Meet director since 1988 and, since 1998, also directs the Crusader Track and Field Relays. Volk has been involved with the District Six Cross Country Championship Meet either as director or assistant director seven times.

Religion has also played a role in Volk’s commitments throughout his career. He has been the Religion Department Chair at St. Mary’s since 1998 and is on the school’s liturgy committee. He is also involved with the Peer Ministry at St. Mary’s, the youth liturgy at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church and the Southern Oregon Chinese Awareness Association.

As a coach, Volk has “tried to bring together those students who may not have thought of themselves primarily as being an athlete.” He believes that characteristics such as “diligence, perseverance and intrinsic motivation are desired in a long distance runner and tend to rub off on others, which helps to build a team focused on a common goal.”

Field Hockey 

National Coach of the Year_Terri Simonetti-FrostIn 12 seasons as girls field hockey coach at Thomas Worthington High School in Columbus, Ohio, Terri Simonetti-Frost has achieved great things both on and off the field. Her past five seasons as the head of the team have been particularly impressive. In those seasons, Simonetti-Frost racked up 82 of her 136 career victories and took home three of her four conference championships as well as three of her four district championships. In 2007, Simonetti-Frost led the squad to her first state championship.

The 16-year elementary school teacher was the president of the Central Ohio Field Hockey Coaches Association (COFHCA) for two years. She is also the current treasurer of the COFHCA and the Ohio Field Hockey Coaches Association. Simonetti-Frost is a member of the Central Ohio Field Hockey League and the National Field Hockey Coaches Association. She has been the recipient of coach of the year awards from both associations, in 2002 and 2007, respectively.

Simonetti-Frost’s work outside of coaching has been important for her community. For 12 years, she has organized and hosted an American Red Cross blood drive for the Central Ohio Field Hockey League. Simonetti-Frost is also the founder of the Buckeye State Field Hockey Winter and Summer Leagues and a program known as Weed Whackers, which is a youth field hockey program that “offers skill based on instruction, character education and life-long skills.”

Simonetti-Frost is also involved with the interview committee for the hiring of the new athletic director at Thomas Worthington. Her philosophy on athletics is that “a coach is someone who not only coaches the sport, but someone who teaches the players life lessons on communication, respect, loyalty and working hard.”


National Coach of the Year_Greg GuinnEastern Iowa Golf Association Hall of Fame Inductee Greg Guinn is the only coach that West Liberty (Iowa) High School’s golf team has ever known. Since implementing girls golf at the school in 1970, Guinn has led the team for 41 seasons and amassed a career record of 1,501-405-2. Guinn’s teams have captured 17 conference championships, 15 district championships and eight regional championships. In six state finals appearances, Guinn’s teams have taken home one state championship.

Guinn has been a member of the Golf Advisory Board at the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union for 26 years, as well as the executive secretary and treasurer of the Eastern Iowa Hawkeye Conference for 16 years. Guinn also belongs to the Iowa Girls Coaches Association and the Iowa Golf Coaches Association. Among Guinn’s multiple awards and honors are State of Iowa Golf Coach of the Year awards for 2000 and 2008, and the National High School Athletic Coaches Association National Golf Coach of the Year in 2008.

Both West Liberty High and the West Liberty community have benefitted from Guinn’s work. For West Liberty High, Guinn served as the athletic director for 30 years as well as a coach for cross country, softball, baseball, football and basketball teams (in addition to golf). Guinn also established the West Liberty Letter Award Club and is the Junior Golf Director of the West Liberty Golf and Country Club. The Iowa City Special Olympics, Big Brothers and Sisters and the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital have all seen support from Guinn as well.

Guinn’s philosophy of athletics reflects his participation in his community. Guinn “believes that every coach should be a parent before they coach” because “that way, they would realize what a powerful impact they have on the lives of kids.” Guinn also says that “every kid should be treated like they are the most important part of the team.”

Girls Soccer 

National Coach of the Year_Diane DaveyDiane Davey has racked up 34 awards and honors in 35 years as the girls soccer coach at Plano (Texas) Senior High School while compiling a win-loss record of 483-98-63. Davey’s teams have taken home 16 district championships, eight regional championships, two runner-up state finalist honors and four state championships.

A founding member of the Texas Association of Soccer Coaches, Davey is also a member of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, the Texas Girls Coaches Association and seven other associations. In her time as a soccer coach at Plano Senior High, Davey has been named District Coach of the Year 12 times, won the Dallas Morning News Coach of the Year four times, and been the recipient of four other awards, including the National Coach of the Year for the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.

Outside of coaching soccer, Davey has established a summer conditioning program for local female athletes. She is also a retired member of the Parker Volunteer Fire Department, a host and attendee at the Special Olympics and a lifetime blood donor at 4 Lives Club. Davey is also part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at Plano Senior High. To give back to the soccer community, Davey mentors young coaches and gives local and national clinics on soccer. Davey believes that “being a role model for athletes is paramount.” Her philosophy is that “athletics should challenge and prepare individuals for a journey through life.”


National Coach of the Year_Rhonda BlevinsA strong presence in the softball community of Richlands, Virginia, Rhonda Blevins has led the Richlands High School softball team for 19 seasons. She founded the school’s varsity softball program and has since compiled a career record of 307-119. That record includes 11 conference championships, 11 district championships, six regional championships and two state finals appearances, both of which resulted in victories.

Blevins, who also created Richlands High’s junior varsity softball program, has received numerous honors and awards. She has been voted the Southwest District Coach of the Year 11 times, the Region Coach of the Year six times and the Class AA State Coach of the Year twice. In 1996 and 1997, Blevins was also selected head coach of the Virginia High School Coaches Association All-Star Softball Team. At the state level, Blevins, who served on the Legislative Council for the Virginia High School Coaches Association softball section, was also a Region Four Class AA and Class AA State softball representative from 1992 to 2006.

While she is an active member on Virginia’s softball scene, Blevins has also held multiple positions and is involved in several organizations in the Richlands’ community. She is a member of the Fellowship Baptist Church in Rosedale, Virginia, where her husband is the pastor. Blevins is also involved in a teen ministry that sends teenagers to Costa Rica to minister, as well as a mission program based in Costa Rica. The mission program, which is associated with Word of Life International, is a youth camp that provides young people with sports activities to help build social skills and character.

A member of the Virginia High School Coaches Association and the NFHS Coaches Association, Blevins has a coaching philosophy that believes “athletics is about building character in our young people and teaching them to overcome adversity in life, so that they can become successful and productive adults.”

Swimming and Diving 

National Coach of the Year_Rex WatkinsThe past five seasons of a 19-year coaching career for Rex Watkins have contained nearly everything a coach could ask for. At Crescent Valley High School in Albany, Oregon, Watkins has led his girls swimming squad to 36 victories while only dropping six contests. Watkins and his team have won the conference and district championships each of the past five seasons, and Watkins has eight of each type of championship in his career. All four of Watkins’ state championships have come in the past five seasons as well.

Watkins is a member of the Oregon Athletic Coaches Association, and he has been an all-star head coach with Oregon Swimming. Watkins has received the Oregon Girls Swimming Coach of the Year award three times with the girls team and once with the school’s boys team.

Watkins has found ways to have fun as a coach while also doing his part in the community. In his free time, Watkins gives interested swimmers the opportunity to learn how to ride all-terrain vehicles. He also hosts the self-named “Moose and a Movie” each year at his home. The event features a dinner of wild game, the viewing of an inspiring sports movie and bonding time for the team’s seniors. Watkins is also a part-time coach with the Albany Aquatics Association.

Away from the pool, Watkins is active in the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, the Oakville Presbyterian Church and the Presbytery of the Cascades. He also recently ran for governor of Oregon. Watkins’ philosophy on athletics is that “every athlete on the team is important…we don’t play around a star; we are a team of stars.”


National Coach of the Year_Jeffrey HolmanA man who has been a champion for 31 of his 34 seasons as a coach, Jeffrey Holman has an impressive record in girls tennis. Holman, who coaches the team at Haddonfield Memorial High School in New Jersey, has racked up 912 wins against just 120 losses. Since he began coaching for Haddonfield in 1977, Holman has led his teams to 31 conference championships and 17 state titles.

Holman, a member of the United States Tennis Association, founded and currently presides over the South Jersey Tennis Coaches Association, which provides up to 10 scholarships per year to outgoing high school seniors. Holman is also a member of the New Jersey State Tennis Committee, and the organizer and director of the Camden County Tennis Championships. Holman also holds 13 other positions in local and national associations.

As a coach, Holman has been awarded 20 coach-of-the-year honors, including an award from the NFHS Coaches Association in 2001 for boys tennis. Holman is a member of five halls of fame, with his first entry being into the South Jersey Tennis Hall of Fame in 1998.

Holman, who relies “heavily on enthusiasm and positive reinforcement to motivate [his] players,” has a sizeable role in his community as well. The former English teacher and current school counselor is a trustee for three different foundations, a financial contributor to the Haddonfield Lions Club and a coordinator of the Peer Mentors Program. He also writes the school’s Counseling Department newsletter and operates the clock at varsity basketball games.

Holman’s dedication to local—and especially high school—tennis is unquestionable. He feels “that the team should see by my actions that I am completely dedicated to the program and expect more of myself than I do of anyone else.”

Track and Field 

National Coach of the Year_Larry RoyceLarry Royce has been a staple of Bellevue (Washington) Christian School’s girls track and field program for the past 40 years. During those four decades of coaching, Royce has captured 12 conference championships and eight district titles. Under his leadership, Bellevue Christian has won five state championships in 10 state finals appearances.

Royce is and has been in a variety of associations during his tenure. For 15 years, he has held positions on the board of directors and as a coaches’ representative on the Washington State Track and Field Coaches Association. Royce also belongs to the National Strength Coaches Association, the National Council of Computer Educators and the American Association of Health.

The Cascade League awarded Royce the Coach of the Year honor six times, while the North Cascades Conference has given him the award twice. Royce was Washington State Women’s Track and Field Coach of the Year in 1992 as well. He received the award again in 1993 in Class A.

In addition to being the girls track and field coach since 1976, Royce has also led the girls soccer team at Bellevue Christian since 1976. He has also been a coach for girls basketball and boys track and field. He served as the athletic director of the school for 10 years and is also the Technology Department chair. Royce started wood shop, weightlifting and video production classes at Bellevue Christian and teaches all three. He also started the school’s BCS Booster Club as well as a mission trip to Tijuana, Mexico, both of which are still active.

The man who has started and led multiple organizations at Bellevue Christian says he wants to “help athletes win in all areas of their sport and life” and that he wants “student athletes to develop attitudes such as self-discipline and perseverance that will serve them for the remainder of their lives.”


National Coach of the Year_Ann SchillingWinning has been a major part of Daphne (Alabama) Bayside Academy’s volleyball landscape for all 23 seasons that Ann Schilling has been the coach. Schilling has amassed 1,035 victories and has seen every one of her teams win conference and district championships. Under Schilling, the team has also won 22 regional and 15 state championships, along with four runner-up finalist finishes.

Schilling is a member of the American Volleyball Coaches Association and the Alabama Volleyball Coaches Association. She is also involved with the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. Schilling has been named coach of the year eight times by three different organizations during her 23 seasons. She has also been announced as an Alabama Volleyball All-Star Coach on six different occasions.

The Eastern Shore Volleyball Club was founded by Schilling, who also started a ‘volleytots’ program for girls ages 4-8. Schilling was a basketball coach for 17 years (until 2004) and a golf coach for two years. She is also part of Bayside Academy’s Fellowship for Christian Athletes.

Schilling’s philosophy on athletics is that “athletics teaches many life skills…[which] will serve the student-athlete for the rest of his or her life both on and off the playing field or court.”


Newton (Kansas) High School’s gymnastics program owes its existence to 37-year coach JoAnne Thaw. In 2009, Thaw saved the program from being cut and led her team to a state championship. The victory gave Thaw one of her three state championships to go along with 816 career wins. Thaw also holds four conference championships, four regional championships and six runner-up state finalist finishes.

Thaw has held the position of president of the Kansas Gymnastics Association twice. The three-time Kansas Gymnastics Association (KGA) coach of the year award winner is a member of the KGA, as well as the Kansas Coaches Association (KCA); the Kansas Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (KAPHERD); and the National Association of Women Gymnastics Judges. In addition to her three KGA awards, Thaw has also been a three-time KCA Coach of the Year and also received the KAPHERD Pathfinder Award in 2009.

Thaw’s 2009-10 team, referred to as “The Team That Almost Wasn’t,” had to raise $11,000 for Newton to retain the program. Thaw spearheaded that effort and eventually persuaded the school board to add the gymnastics program back to the budget in 2010. Thaw’s other contributions to local gymnastics include coaching intramural middle school gymnastics for 25 years and starting the Flip Flop Shop and running it for 22 years in order to promote gymnastics in the community.

Also an usher and lector at church as well as a volunteer in a local first grade classroom, Thaw believes that “athletics should focus on the athletes and help them to reach their skill potential and teach lifetime skills that will contribute toward their overall education and growth in citizenship and respect for others.”


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