Twenty-three high school coaches from across the country have been selected as 2019 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 2018-19 school year.
Recipients of this year’s national awards for boys sports are: Glenn Cecchini, baseball, Lake Charles (Louisiana) Alfred M. Barbe High School; J.R. Holmes, basketball, Bloomington (Indiana) South High School; Karl Koonce, cross country, Pearcy (Arkansas) Lake Hamilton High School; Terry Curtis, football, Mobile (Alabama) UMS-Wright Preparatory School; James Orcutt, golf, North Platte (Nebraska) High School; Terry Michler, soccer, St. Louis (Missouri) Christian Brothers College High School; David Hanson, swimming and diving, Warwick (Rhode Island) Bishop Hendricken Catholic High School; David Fredette, tennis, Armada (Michigan) High School; William “Bill” Thorn, track and field, Fairburn (Georgia) Landmark Christian School; and James Matney, wrestling, Paintsville (Kentucky) Johnson Central High School.
The recipients of the 2019 NFHS national awards for girls sports are: Jack Gayle, swimming and diving, Snellville (Georgia) Brookwood High School; Cherry Roberds, tennis, Miami (Arizona) High School; Desmond Dunham, track and field, St. John’s (District of Columbia) College High School; Valorie McKenzie, volleyball, Scottsdale (Arizona) Horizon High School; Sherri Anthony, basketball, Ponte Vedra (Florida) Nease High School; Dave Van Sickle, cross country, Phoenix (Arizona) Xavier College Preparatory; Dick Bliss, golf, Hopkinton (Massachusetts) High School; Carol Rainson-Rose, lacrosse, Northport (New York) High School; Meredith Messer, soccer, Rockport (Maine) Camden Hills Regional High School; and Deborah Schwartz, softball, Toms River (New Jersey) Donovan Catholic High School.
The recipient of the National Coach of the Year Award for spirit is Stephanie Blackwell of Bixby (Oklahoma) High School. Steven DeAngelis, a cross country skiing coach at Readfield (Maine) Maranacook Community High School, was chosen in the “other” category for boys sports, and Lois Emshoff, a badminton coach at Chandler (Arizona) High School, 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 857 coaches will be recognized this year with state, sectional and national awards.