Helping a homeless athlete get back on his feet by inviting him into your own home is a remarkably selfless act. So is being present at your team’s practices and competitions while undergoing cancer treatment. But for this year’s Brooks Inspiring Coaches Finalists, it’s just another day as coach.
From thousands of your nominations, we’re excited to announce the 25 finalists for the Brooks 2014 Inspiring Coach of the Year Award. As a finalist, each one of these coaches will receive $5,000 in Brooks gear, $500 cash for team expenses and membership into the Inspire Daily program. Vote for who you think should win today.
- Anthony Belber- Georgetown Day School, Washington D.C. – Grew a 15-person track team into a 100-athlete program.
- Brandon Back- La Cueva High School, New Mexico – Encourages special needs students to join his teams.
- Bret Neylon- Brownsburg High School, Indiana – Uses his personal testimony of being paralyzed to motivate his athletes to new accomplishments.
- Brian Lombardo- Sweet Home High School, New York – Helps athletes struggling financially by finding work for them.
- Dan Reeks- Sherwood high School, Maryland – Nominated by athletes from rival high schools for his inspiring coaching style.
- Dave Halliday- Flagler Palm Coast High School, Florida – More than 40 of his athletes have gone to college on running scholarships.
- David Culp- TC Roberson High School, North Carolina – Uses humor and compassion for his athletes to help them reach their goals.
- Davis Eidahl- Pekin Community High School, Iowa – After more than 50 years coaching, he is the unspoken hero of his town.
- Desmond Dunham- Woodrow Wilson high School, Washington D. C. – Coach’s holistic focus on the athlete pays dividends in the classroom, on the track and in life.
- Dominic Newman- Shorewood High School, Wisconsin – Nominated by fellow coaches and former athletes for his dedication to building community.
- Garlynn Boyd- Lightning Bolt Track Club, Florida – Pushes through her own health challenges to be present and inspiring for her athletes.
- Gilberto Ruiz- Lytle High School, Texas – Coaches a state championship winning team all while undergoing treatment for bone cancer.
- Jason Capelli- Pinelands Regional High School, New Jersey – Organizes volunteer activities for his athletes to help their community.
- Jeremy Bartley- Alleghany County High School, Virginia – Donates gear to low-income students and also constructed the team’s cross country course.
- John Neff- North Allegheny High School, Pennsylvania – Built a running community in and outside of his school by training parents and family members.
- Keith Olsen- Westosha Central high School, Wisconsin – Inspires his team with his motto, “You have heart, and that’s the most important muscle in the body.”
- Kelly Richards- Inglemoor High School, Washington – Begins every practice with a recap of her runners’ latest achievements.
- Kris Keppel- Land O’ Lakes High School, Florida – Powered through a state cross country championship while undergoing chemotherapy.
- Matthew Tompkins- The King’s Academy, California – Has a talent for mentoring athletes through difficult life situations.
- Nick Accardo- Holy Rosary High School, Louisiana – Coached a small team with few resources to seven top-5 cross country finishes in seven years.
- Nick Scott- Boothbay Region High School, Maine – Built a running program that consists of 25 percent of the school population.
- Renee Williams-Smith- Mira Costa high School, California – Returned to Mira Costa years after graduating to launch a girls cross country program.
- Ruqayya Gibson- Cypress Springs High School, Texas – Prioritizes community service and enlists athletes to host annual charity events.
- Stan Fryczynski- Secaucus High School, New Jersey – Is known for helping athletes in crises like hurricane relief, flooded homes and more.
- Tracy Hawkins- Georgetown High School, Ohio – Battled through a cancer diagnosis to be present and inspiring for her athletes.
Vote now on Facebook and make your voice heard. Who should win the 2014 Inspiring Coach of the Year Award?
We’ll announce the winner in early August, so stay tuned and remember to cast your vote once a day. Brooks will take your votes into account and choose a winner who will receive an additional $5,000 in Brooks gear, $2,000 for team expenses and a trip for two to the 2015 Brooks PR Invitational.
Brooks began giving the Inspiring Coaches Award in 2011 to honor high school track and cross country coaches who create lasting, meaningful differences in their schools and communities and to celebrate their work, energy and all that they do for youth running.
Past recipients of the Brooks Inspiring Coach of the Year Award include 2013 Winner Justin Torres, 2012 Winner Paul Raley and 2011 Winner Amy Pitzel.