After pouring over countless tales of exceptional leadership, sacrifice and, of course, inspiration, the finalists have been picked for our Brooks 2013 Inspiring Coaches award! Twenty six dedicated coaches from across the country, each with their own unique background, have been handpicked based on their incredible stories submitted by athletes, parents and fellow community members. But what makes these select few so special? Is there a set “recipe” for success as an inspiring and influential coach? Let’s take a look at what some of our finalists do right to glean some insight into what characteristics makes a great coach!
Coach: Brandon Beltz
High School: Indian Lakes (Indian River, MI)
Recipe for Success: Enthusiasm, Positivity.
Emphasizing personal progress both on and off the track coach Beltz is described as having “an enthusiasm for running that is contagious.” Encouragement and optimism, regardless of outcome, is what makes this coach special. Many of his students mention that there’s always a smile on his face, even following a loss. For coach Beltz, encouragement and a positive attitude keep his team happy and healthy. Combine this with his love and enthusiasm for the sport, and you’ve got the makings of an all star coach.
Coach: Chris Cronin
High School: Northville High School (Northville, MI)
Recipe for Success: Listening Skills, Mentoring Skills.
Don’t let the title of “coach” deceive you. Chris is the English department head at Northville High School, and has been an active member of many community programs, including the National Honors Society. Instead of screaming at the finish line, Chris is described as a thoughtful “listener.” By taking the time to listen to the needs of his athletes, Coach Chris is able to better lead and inspire his kids. In addition, Chris’ dedication as mentor made itself clear when he selflessly volunteered to help tutor a member of his team following a serious surgery. Care and dedication to his students are what make Coach Cronin an inspiring coach!
Coach: Stephanie Winkler
High School: Buena Regional High School (Buena, NJ)
Recipe for Success: Personal Support, Community Outreach.
Coach Winkler goes out of her way to help her support her students, both financially and personally. In a community that has struggled economically, she has contributed gear to the girls on her team who were unable to purchase equipment and is always willing to offer support in her students’ personal lives. In addition, Coach Winkler’s success also lies in her ability to create a community for her team. She hosts pasta parties and organizes other events, making for a close-knit team that is directly involved within their community.
Coach: Jerry Dotson
High School: Cary High School (Cary, NC)
Recipe for Success: Father Figure, Motivator.
The care and dedication that Coach Jerry gives to his students has earned him a reputation as a “father figure” for much of his team. Each nomination we received emphasized the commitment that Coach Dotson gives his kids, regardless of what’s going on in his own life. Leading by example, Jerry inspires his students to give their all in every aspect of their lives, constantly doing his best to motivate his team on and off the track. His ability to connect with his team on a personal level, as well as his steadfast motivating presence makes coach Dotson one of the best out there.
Coach: Steve Grube
High School: Crow High School (Eugene Oregon)
Recipe for Success: Heroic Presence, Fighter.
As a track coach who has been struggling with lung cancer for over six years, Steve’s strength of character is nothing short of heroic. In spite of having one of his lungs removed, Steve continues to run warm-ups with his students day after day. He has many valid excuses not to run, but continues to do so, and his students know this. Knowing that their coach refuses to quit fighting helps to translate that mentality into their own lives, giving them complete motivation to do their best, making him an unmatched source of inspiration for his team.
Recipe For an Inspirational Coach:
- Begin with equal parts enthusiasm and positive attitude and mix thoroughly.
- Let sit, then mix in a healthy amount of community outreach and personal support.
- Blend until mixed, then infuse with great listening and mentoring skills.
- Add motivation until you achieve the right consistency.
- Finally, add a dash of fighting spirit to bring it all together.
Who do you think has the best blend of inspiration herbs and spices? One of these coaches? Or maybe one of our other 21 finalists? Vote now.