Joco Sports

Community for Coaches spotlights award winning efforts

The first annual Community for Coaches recognition banquet was held last Sunday at the Colonial Presbyterian Church in Kansas City.

The event honored the 12 nominees from different levels for male and female coaches of the year for both Missouri and Kansas in the Kansas City area. Mitch Holthus, the voice of the Kansas City Chiefs, was the emcee

“Coaches face a lot of challenges today, but it is a rewarding time to coach and to have an impact on the lives of the athlete’s they coach,” Holthus said. “It is a time when life’s lessons can be learned.

“CFC provides a safe place for coaches to go.”

Board of Directors member and Blue Valley Northwest softball coach Kim White said, “CFC serves coaches in public and private schools, colleges and youth leagues of all kinds by way of coaching workshops, seminars, discussion groups and personal mentoring.”

The nominees for coaches of the year were picked from nominations submitted to the CFC’s website: starting in February.

“We had a team that looked at the nominees,” CFC director Ryan Krzykowski said. “We had the voting on line in April. We had over 196,000 total votes cast.”

The nominees for Missouri male coach of the year were Eric Berg, Rockhurst High assistant football coach; Heath Lay, Oak Grove assistant basketball and baseball coach, and Roger Stirtz, Liberty boys basketball coach. The winner was Lay, who announced that he will be the head baseball coach at Winnetonka in 2015.

“Heath not only invests in the physical, mental and emotional development of his athletes he coaches on the field or court, but also seeks to focus on their spiritual development, recognizing the eternal value this investment can make in their lives.” the nomination information said. “As a young coach, he’s able to develop rapport with his athletes that gives him the opportunity to give them a biblical life perspective and be a positive influence in their lives and the lives of their families.”

The nominees for Missouri female coach of the year were Stephanie Kim, KC Dirt Devils Softball Club; Miikki Sharer, volleyball coach at Summit Christian Academy, and Kate Sollars, Oak Grove assistant in volleyball and track. The winner was Sollars.

“Coach Sollars is very devoted to making her players better and having fun along the way,” the nomination information said. “I have never had a coach be as dedicated to coaching the sport while showing their true love for you as a person and a student.”

The nominees for Kansas male coach of the year were Blue Valley football and track coach Eric Driskell; Jacob Gunn, Olathe East assistant in cross country and tennis, and Luke Town of Advanced Baseball Academy. The winner was Town.

“What separates Coach Town from the other coaches that have coached my son is his passion to teach the boys the right way, but also about life,” the nominating information said. “He is also about teaching the boys to respect coaches, umpires, teammates as well as opposing players.

He cultivates a family friendly culture and a pride in playing for Advanced Baseball Academy.”

The nominees for Kansas female coach of the year were Wendy Louque, KC Courage Soccer Club; Rachel Magana, Southwind Rising Volleyball Club, and Julie Sparks, Shawnee Mission East assistant girls basketball coach. The winner was Magana.

“Rachel is an amazing role model as the director and coach for our girls on the Southwind Rising Volleyball Club,” the nominating information said. “She teaches them not only about being strong women for their team, but also talks to them about being strong women in their personal lives and the importance of treating their teammates, coaches, parents and friends with respect.”