This award will be presented annually to recognize one individual who has exemplified passion and leadership locally, statewide and/or nationally for the promotion of coach education. Instructors of coach education, administrators and coaches who have worked to mandate coach training in their state should be considered for this national recognition.
Kathy Vruggink Westdorp has served as assistant director of the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) since 2004. One of her primary responsibilities when she was hired was to revamp and revitalize the Michigan coaches education program. She has established, developed and authored the MHSAA Coaches Advancement Program (CAP) and is still active in training coaches throughout the state. The CAP Program is a six-level, face-to-face coaches education program that is research-based and interactive.
Delivery to Michigan’s current and prospective interscholastic coaches is done in two ways. First, presenters trained and evaluated by Westdorp travel “anytime, anywhere” to provide programs, which are coordinated by schools, school districts, leagues and coaches associations. She personally presents many of the CAP units.
Second, after faculty training and with Westdorp’s regular evaluation, colleges and universities in Michigan are licensed to present up to five levels of CAP through their undergraduate or graduate studies.
All aspects of CAP are administered from the MHSAA office under Westdorp’s direction. This includes the arrangements for continuing education credits through the State Department of Education, as well as liability insurance and an online newsletter for all coaches who complete CAP units.
Nancy O’Neil is an active instructor of the NFHS Fundamentals of Coaching course, and has been involved in pioneering and promoting professional development and education for coaches through a number of different sources. She has developed league-wide partnerships with educational groups that provide workshops for students and coaches in all league schools and speaks at state and national conferences on coaching education topics such as positive conditioning, servant leadership, building teams and shared leadership models. She has also served on the NFHS Coaches Education Committee.
Since 1994, O’Neil has been the director of athletics/wellness/activities at Lincoln Sudbury Regional High School in Sudbury, Massachusetts. She has worked closely with the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association in that state’s active promotion of coach education, and played a leadership role with the concussion education component.
A leader in educational athletics for more than 35 years, Bruce Brown has served the past 12 years as athletic director at Lake High School in Uniontown, Ohio. He has been a member of the NFHS Coaches Publications Committee since 2008 and has written several articles for the NFHS Coaches’ Quarterly and NFHS Coaching Today.
Brown has been very involved in state and national athletic director organizations, and he has served on several athletic administrator association committees as both a member and executive officer. He has also worked closely with the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) the past four years in establishing a coach education program for interscholastic coaches and providing the NFHS Coach Education Program’s “Fundamentals of Coaching” course as the required course of choice.
In 2007, Brown was named Ohio Athletic Administrator of the Year and was the Ohio selection for the 2011 National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA) Frank Kovaleski Award for recognition of his work with professional development among coaches and athletic administrators. In addition, Brown is presently serving as interim executive director of the Ohio Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (OIAAA), and is currently a member of the NIAAA Ad Hoc Committee for Coach Education representing Section 2.
Bobby Guthrie, who was unanimously recommended by the NFHS Coach Education Committee, is the senior administrator for athletics and a former coach in the Wake County (North Carolina) Public School System.
Guthrie, a leader in coach education, was the first Accredited Interscholastic Coach to be certified in the United States through the NFHS Coach Education program. Guthrie has been a pioneer of coach education in North Carolina and took ownership of the NFHS Coach Education program in that state. He has worked closely with the program from the beginning and spoke at the National Athletic Directors Conference last December about the importance of national accreditation and the initiatives in place. Guthrie has taught classes, and trained and certified a large number of athletic directors and coaches.
“As teacher/coaches, we are expected to be role models – accountable, knowledgeable and to care,” Guthrie said. “The NFHS Coach Education and Certification programs place an emphasis in all of these areas.”
At the state level, Guthrie teaches coach education classes at the North Carolina Athletic Directors Association (NCADA) State Conference and Summer Leadership Meetings. Guthrie presides over the State City/County Athletic Director Meetings and was instrumental in developing the NCADA Mentoring Program.
This year’s recipients, who were unanimously recommended by the NFHS Coach Education Committee, are Mike Maghan, athletic director at McNary High School in Keizer, Oregon; Lavonne Norman, director of operations and marketing for the Alaska School Activities Association (ASAA); and the late Ken Yamase, former executive director of the Big Island Interscholastic Federation in Hilo, Hawaii.
Maghan, past president of the Oregon Athletic Directors Association, has tirelessly promoted and supported coaches education in Oregon. He is responsible for the certification of more than 4,000 coaches and 300 leadership trainers throughout the state, and he was also instrumental in securing $50,000 in funding from the Oregon Legislature to help with funding of coach education programs. Maghan, former chair of the NFHS Coach Education Committee, is also leading efforts with the NFHS Coach Education program in Oregon through coordinated instructor training and course scheduling for the entire state. He was instrumental in the development of the Fundamentals of Coaching Instructor Guide.
Since 1992, Norman has been active in promoting spirit coaches education throughout Alaska, and was the only trained instructor in the state from 1992 to 2000. She served four years on the NFHS Spirit Advisory Committee, promoting the education and development of spirit coaches.
In 2007, Norman petitioned the ASAA Board of Directors to adopt the NFHS Fundamentals of Coaching course for all high school coaches. Later that year, the ASAA board approved the courses as part of the mandatory ASAA coach education. Today, Norman serves as the Section 8 representative on the NFHS Coach Education Committee and is the NFHS state spirit director.
Yamase was coordinator and lead instructor for the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA) Leadership Training Courses. He coordinated and assisted in the training of more than 115 Hawaii athletic administrators at the NFHS Fundamentals of Coaching instructor’s workshop. In addition, he was the Section 7 representative on the NFHS Coach Education Committee and the Hawaii program coordinator for the NFHS Coach Education Program.