Twenty-two high school coaches from across the country have been selected as 2015 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” sport that is 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 2014-15 school year.
Recipients of this year’s national awards for boys sports are: Cooper Henderson, football, Artesia (New Mexico) High School; Tom Millbrooke, track and field, Canby (Oregon) High School; Britt Cooper, basketball, Roswell (New Mexico) High School; Dom Cecere, baseball, Eastchester (New York) High School; Thomas Walston, soccer, Wendell (North Carolina) Corinth Holders High School; Tim Berrier, wrestling, Tucson (Arizona) Ironwood Ridge High School; Arnie Miehe, cross country, Darlington (Wisconsin) High School; Larry Faulkner, tennis, Glenview (Illinois) Glenbrook South High School; Brennan Torgerson, golf, Buhler (Kansas) High School; and Linda Wiginton, swimming and diving, Altus (Oklahoma) High School.
The recipients of the 2015 NFHS national awards for girls sports are: Linda Richter, track and field, Cameron (Texas) C.H. Yoe High School; Anthony Pappas, basketball, Waterloo (Iowa) West High School; Paula Toney, volleyball, Burns (Oregon) High School; Lucas Kollross, soccer, Weston (Wisconsin) D. C. Everest High School; Cheri Ritz, softball, Wayland (Michigan) Union School; Kristin McWilliams, cross country, Winter Park (Florida) High School; Judith Hehs, tennis, Bloomfield Hills (Michigan) Academy of the Sacred Heart; Marty Keating, swimming and diving, Pittsford (New York) Central Schools; Stacie Butler, golf, Youngstown (Ohio) Cardinal Mooney High School; and Jessica Battle, lacrosse, Coronado (California) High School.
The recipient of the National Coach of the Year Award for spirit is Natalie Horton of Valley Center (Kansas) High School, and Karen Kuhlmann of Holmen (Wisconsin) High School was chosen in the other sports category for Girls Gymnastics.
In addition to the 22 National Coaches of the Year, the NFHS Coaches Association has selected Ron Anders of Auburn, Alabama, as the recipient of the National Coach Contributor Award. This award is presented to an individual who has gone above and beyond in the coaching profession by exemplifying the highest standards of sportsmanship, ethical conduct and moral character, and who carries the endorsement of his or her respective state high school association.
The NFHS has a contact person in each state who is responsible for selecting deserving coach award recipients. This contact 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 one “other” category.
A total of 537 coaches will be recognized this year with state, sectional and national awards.
Barbara Johnson, CIC, is coordinator of Coach Program Services with the NFHS who works with the NFHS Coaches Association and the NFHS Coach Education Program.