Support the next generation of leaders
The future of interscholastic and collegiate athletics is contingent upon those in charge — coaches, athletic directors, athletic trainers, manufacturers, strength professionals. That fact prompted Coach & Athletic Director to launch the Sports 40 Under 40 Awards, presented at the National High School Athletic Coaches Association’s annual conference in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
More than a year ago, we began asking ourselves what we could do to honor the next generation of leaders tasked with promoting team sports and guiding student-athletes. The idea is that by honoring their efforts and achievements, we encourage them and their colleagues to become more involved in interscholastic sports.
Our inaugural class comes with some remarkable résumés. We have coaches who have turned their programs into valued community organizations by volunteering their time to help the less fortunate. There are suppliers who have used their innovative products to completely reinvent the way coaches and athletic administrators manage their programs, forever altering the landscape of high school and college sports. There also are athletic administrators who have fully committed to the education-based athletics philosophy, prioritizing character and sportsmanship over wins and championships. It’s leaders like these who have bright futures in their respective professions.
The 40 Under 40 program is a promising start, but we need more schools and state organizations to make individualized efforts to honor the newcomers in team sports. When it comes to coaching, thousands of people each year dip their toes into the profession for the first time. It’s a volatile time, so the encouragement and recognition of those around them goes a long way in keeping them in the game. We often don’t do enough to support our young coaches and athletic administrators, but the future of your athletic programs rests on their shoulders. Give them the help they need.
As you look through the names and bios of this year’s class, consider how the efforts of these 40 individuals could make a difference in your own program. Adopt some of their ideas, or brainstorm ways to support the young coaches in your school. Challenge your sport coaches, athletic administrators, strength coaches and athletic trainers to develop at least one initiative that benefits their student-athletes. It might not be easy, but we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Kevin Hoffman is the Editorial Director of Coach & Athletic Director magazine. He can be reached at [email protected].