This is the first full month where sports practices, races, competitions, tournaments, and games have come to a near standstill across the US. The phrase “unprecedented time” has been overused but captures exactly what is happening in this historical period.
This month we wanted to recognize a coach that has pivoted and adapted to this new way of social distancing life and continued to find ways to motivate and support their student-athletes and community. We received so many heartfelt stories and strong nominee’s this month that we are featuring six incredible coaches across the country that continue to represent the “heart of the game” even when the official “game” has halted.
Bob Spahn – April Coach of the Month
- Head Coach of Del Norte Boys Basketball in San Diego, CA
- Started the annual “Best Buddies” program meetup with Rancho Bernardo High School Basketball that is dedicated to creating friendships among disabled and able-bodied students.
Coach Spahn has not let social distancing impact how he leads and coaches his team to be better players on and off the court. These are some of the initiatives he has started to continue to motivate and check-in with his athletes during this challenging time:
- Bought the book “The Energy Bus” and “The Hard Hat” by Jon Gordon for every player on his team, and reads the book weekly with the players and discusses leadership.
- Sets up Zoom meetings 1-2 times per week with all three basketball teams (Varsity, JV, Freshmen) to check-in with each other and continue building the team virtually. Encourages his coaching staff to lead some of the Zoom meetings each week
- Sent digital e-cards to every athlete on his team to show support and uplift them
Denny Molzen – April Coach of the Month
- Head Football Coach at Castro Valley High School in Castro Valley, CA
- Founder of Bay Area Football Coaches Clinic
Coach Molzen, based out of the Bay Area in California, has a passion for helping other football coaches. He understands the positive influence a coach can have on student-athletes, and that’s why he started the Bay Area Coaches Clinic. However, the pandemic hit and stay-at-home orders prevented the in-person clinic from happening this spring. Coach Molzen pivoted and moved the full clinic online with 12 speakers ranging from former professional football players to college coaches with hundreds of California coaches joining. He did this solely to help the game and other coaches. Coach Molzen truly walks the walk of “The Heart of the Game.”
Dave Frantz – April Coach of the Month
- Athletic Director, Girls Basketball Coach and Track Coach at Northwest High School in McDermott, Ohio
Coach Frantz wears a lot of hats at Northwest High School pivoting from Girls Basketball Coach in the winter to the Track Coach in the spring, all while leading the athletic department as the Athletic Director. Frantz has done a tremendous job supporting his players and community in this time of uncertainty where the rural town has been severely impacted by the business and school closures. His actions showcase how much he truly cares about his student-athletes:
- He has personally delivered lunches to all students
- Dropped-off athletic equipment to players at home who have no way of working out.
- Leveraged the Varsity Brands video series “Believe in You” from Kevin Atlas as an online course and team practice tool to keep spirits high, instill positivity and support for each other.
Nickolas Davis – April Coach of the Month
- Head Coach of the Women’s Track & Field Team at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Track & Field team was set to open its 2020 outdoor season on April 4th, but their entire season and all competitions were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Coach Davis understood how disappointing and stressful this was for the athletes and didn’t let a canceled season stop him from coaching, leading and being a positive support system for his team. He continued to engage his team with these initiatives:
- Provided resources and information to his team on how to cope with these challenging times
- Setup weekly Zoom meetings in each team’s respective event group, so they could continue to feel like a team
- Helped coordinate the team captains and group leaders to have virtual “coffee talks” with one another so the athletes would have an opportunity to continue to connect socially
- Leveraging social media to help alums and partners reach out to current student-athletes to provide support and words of encouragement
- Planning a Virtual Dual Meet with UW-Stevens Point to provide the team an opportunity to “compete” against a conference rival.
- You can read more about Coach Davis’s incredible commitment to his team here.
Dustin Wilson – April Coach of the Month
- Athletic Director and Head Football Coach at Springfield High School in Springfield, TN
Coach Wilson never stopped working once school was canceled. He quickly identified ways he could continue to coach his team and help the community:
- Filmed workout videos for his student-athletes at different locations that could be done at home.
- Mows the school fields and works around the school daily ensuring the facilities are kept in good shape.
- There are a lot of families impacted by the loss of jobs and struggling with food resources, so he helps pack lunches every day and then rides around the community on a school bus and drops them off to families in need.
Adam Gonczy – April Coach of the Month
- Track & Field Coach at Athens High School in Athens, Ohio
Coach Gonczy knew the moment the spring sports season was cancelled he wasn’t going to let this change stop him from coaching and motivating his team. He immediately figured out a way to plan a virtual track meet for his team to prepare for at home and compete to help keep his team motivated and excited. He also wanted to keep spirits high, so he has been sharing daily motivationally quotes and images with this team. He has leveraged social media to get out the word on the virtual track and meet; check it out here. Coach Gonczy has found a way to stay connected with his team and for the team to continue to compete despite school closures and season cancellations.
BSN SPORTS Coach of the Month
Want to learn more about our Coach of the Month program, and nominate a deserving coach you know? Visit our Coach of the Month page here.