Cedar Valley Coaches Honored for Excellence

Posted by on Aug 9 in News

Coaches of the Year Awards Recognize Dedication

WATERLOO, IOWA (August 9, 2013) – Eleven local coaches and one umpire were recognized at the third annual Coaches of the Year Awards on Wednesday. The event was hosted by Waterloo Leisure Services and Build Our Ballpark, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of youth by providing the opportunity to play baseball and softball.

About 100 coaches, players, parents and community members attended the ceremony at the Boat House in Waterloo to honor the commitment and sportsmanship of volunteer coaches and umpires.

The ceremony included remarks from Bob Hellman, founder and executive director of Build Our Ballpark; Buck Clark, mayor of Waterloo; and Abby McClain, former Waterloo West softball standout and current assistant coach.

“Of the many things I wish I’d done in my life, at the very top of the list is what these marvelous men and women do for our kids and our community,” said Hellman. “We cannot thank them enough.”

Mayor Clark touted Hellman’s dedication and accomplishments through Build Our Ballpark, and McClain spoke about what her coaches taught her and what makes a great coach.

Those recognized include Tim Coonradt, Assistant Coach of the Year; Jose Becerra, Breakout Coach of the Year; John Brinker, T-Ball/Coach-Pitch Coach of the Year; Mike Cooling, AA Baseball Coach of the Year; Greg Townsend, AA Softball Coach of the Year; Joe Barnett, AAA Baseball Coach of the Year; Mark Sinnwell and Dave Gerst, AAA Softball Coaches of the Year; Chris Olmstead, Major League Baseball Coach of the Year; Rossi Payne, Major League Softball Coach of the Year; Brian Anderson, recipient of the Build Our Ballpark Legacy Award; and Nathan Porter for the new Umpire of the Year category.

“We added the umpire category this year because they can have just as much affect on the players,” said Hellman. “Interactions with the umps are great learning opportunities in terms of sportsmanship and respect.”

Coaches nominated were evaluated by a selection committee in three categories: leadership, sportsmanship, and going above and beyond what is expected. They each received a trophy and gift card from Build Our Ballpark.

The Waterloo Leisure Services Players of the Year Awards were also distributed at the ceremony. Five kids, ages seven to 14, were recognized for their skills and sportsmanship.

Those in attendance enjoyed refreshments before the ceremony, and most went to the Waterloo Bucks game afterward, courtesy of Build Our Ballpark.

Hellman hopes to see the event continue and grow.

“Not a lot of communities recognize the everyday heroes who coach and inspire their kids,” he said. “There is a lot of potential for this event to grow and reach more people, and we plan to do that.”

Nominations were submitted at www.BuildOurBallpark.org by parents and players at the end of the season. Donation opportunities and other information can be found on the site as well.

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