Twenty-three high school coaches from across the country have been selected as 2018 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 two “other” sports – one for boys and one for girls – that are not included in the top 10 listings. The NFHS also recognizes a spirit coach as a separate award category. Winners of NFHS awards must be active coaches during the year for which they receive their award. This year’s awards recognize coaches for the 2017-18 school year.
Recipients of this year’s national awards for boys sports are: Randy Allen, football (11-player), Dallas (Texas) Highland Park High School; Alan Arata, swimming and diving, Monument (Colorado) Lewis-Palmer High School; Leon Braisted III, golf, Birmingham (Michigan) Brother Rice High School; Scott Brown, baseball, St. Louis (Missouri) St. John Vianney High School; Alan Clinton, wrestling, Anaheim (California) Servite High School; Fred Lorensen, basketball, Monroe (Iowa) PCM High School; James Paccia, outdoor track and field, Tully (New York) Junior-Senior High School; Jason Pendleton, soccer, Overland Park (Kansas) Blue Valley Southwest High School; Terry Schwartzkopf, tennis, Midland (Michigan) H.H. Dow High School; and Lee Sternberg, cross country, East Canton (Ohio) High School.
The recipients of the 2018 NFHS national awards for girls sports are: Clinton Caldwell, swimming and diving, Santa Fe (New Mexico) Prep School; Richard DeSomma, lacrosse, South Riding (Virginia) Freedom High School; Amy Dunlap, soccer, Cincinnati (Ohio) Indian Hill High School; Janet Glaser, tennis, Andover (Kansas) Central High School; Stanley Goodell, cross country, Grants Pass (Oregon) High School; Phyllis Hicks, fast-pitch softball, Southaven (Mississippi) DeSoto Central High School; George Maya, basketball, Las Cruces (New Mexico) Mayfield High School; Richard Smith, golf, Allendale (New Jersey) Northern Highlands Regional High School; Roger Whittaker, outdoor track and field, Gahanna (Ohio) Lincoln High School; and Betty Wroubel, volleyball, Pontiac (Michigan) Notre Dame Preparatory School.
The recipient of the National Coach of the Year Award for spirit is Sandra Seals of Winfield City (Alabama) High School. Jack Henderson, an 8-player football coach at Dufur (Oregon) High School, was chosen in the “other” category for boys sports, and Anne Horton, a field hockey coach at Columbus (Ohio) Academy was chosen in the “other” category for girls sports.
The NFHS has a contact in each state who is responsible for selecting deserving coach award recipients. This person often works with the state coaches’ association in his or her respective state. He or she contacts the potential state award recipients to complete a coach profile form that requests information regarding the coach’s record, membership in and affiliation with coaching and other professional organizations, involvement with other school and community activities and programs, and coaching philosophy. To be approved as an award recipient and considered for sectional and national coach of the year consideration, this profile form must be completed by the coach or designee and then approved by the executive director (or designee) of the state athletic/activities association.
The next award level after state coach of the year is sectional coach of the year. The NFHS is divided into eight geographical sections. They are as follows: Section 1 – Northeast (CT, ME, MA, NH, NJ, NY, RI, VT); Section 2 – Mideast (DE, DC, KY, MD, OH, PA, VA, WV); Section 3 – South (AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN); Section 4 – Central (IL, IN, IA, MI, WI); Section 5 – Midwest (KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD); Section 6 – Southwest (AR, CO, NM, OK, TX); Section 7 – West (AZ, CA, HI, NV, UT); and Section 8 – Northwest (AK, ID, MT, OR, WA, WY).
The NFHS Coaches Association has an advisory committee composed of a chair and eight sectional representatives. The sectional committee representatives evaluate the state award recipients from the states in their respective sections and select the best candidates for the sectional award in each sport category. The NFHS Coaches Association Advisory Committee then considers the sectional candidates in each sport, ranks them according to a point system, and determines a national winner for each of the 20 sport categories, the spirit category and two “other” categories.
A total of 806 coaches will be recognized this year with state, sectional and national awards.
Hannah Wishart is Coordinator of Educational Services with the NFHS who works with the NFHS Coaches Association and the NFHS Coach Education Program.