Coach of the Year–2015

Feb 29, 2016 | News

It takes a village. Oftentimes, you’ll hear this phrase in parenting and life in general. It really does take a village to raise happy, healthy children and that includes coaches as part of the village. The Lombard Park District is able to provide athletic leagues to the community because of our volunteer coaches and their assistants. Each year, we recognize and award a Coach of the Year for each sport and season. We would like to take the opportunity to thank all of our coaches as well as the Coaches of the Year.

Spring Youth Soccer – 2015

Tod Kowallis

How long have you been a coach for the Lombard Park District?
I’ve been a coach for 5 years.

Are you a Lombard resident?
I used to live in Lombard for 14 years but moved to Glen Ellyn in June.

What is your occupation?
I’m a high school and middle school music teacher, now in my 11th year of teaching.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
In my spare time I enjoy golf, outdoor activities, reading history, and especially spending time with my wife and two daughters and three step-daughters.

What is your favorite aspect of coaching?
As a teacher, my favorite aspect of coaching is when the kids start to really understand the important parts of the game, but my personal favorite aspect is how much fun the kids have and how “into it” they are.

Fall Youth Soccer – 2015

Jason Cooper

How long have you been a coach for the Lombard Park District?
Since Spring 2012 (4 years)

Are you a Lombard resident?
Yes. If not which town do you live in? How long have you lived there? We’ve lived in Lombard since 2003 (12 years)

What is your occupation?
I’m a landscape architect with Conservation Design Forum – a Lombard-based civil engineering and landscape architecture firm.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I’m an active member and council leader at First Church of Lombard and enjoy camping and spending time outdoors with my family. I’ve assisted with the Prairie Path cleanup – clearing buckthorn – for the past 5 years as a member of the Village’s Environmental Concerns Committee.

What is your favorite aspect of coaching?
I love tracking the kids progress as they develop and grow. Their enthusiasm for the game is infectious.

Youth Basketball – 2015

Brian King

How long have you been a volunteer coach?
Eleven years.

What do you find most rewarding about coaching?
Witnessing the kids improve from week to week. Both as a team and individual.

Please share your favorite coaching story or a memorable moment you had as a coach.
• I would view each year I coach a memorable moment because you usually get different kids every year and watching them become a team in the 6-7 week season is fun to watch.

What advice would you have for someone who is coaching for the first time?
Be patient. Create your practices to be fun and enjoyable. Always involve every player; win or lose always be positive and encouraging

How long have you been a Lombard resident (if you aren’t a Lombard resident, please tell us why you chose Lombard as the community to share your gift of coaching).
• Yes, for 18 years!

Please add any other information that you’d like for us to know.
I have enjoyed coaching for the park district and will continue to volunteer as a coach.

Girls Softball – 2015

Scott Stratton

How long have you been a volunteer coach?
Four years.

What do you find most rewarding about coaching?
My most rewarding takeaway is the progression that each child makes throughout the year. Not only in their softball skills, but in their attitude, team play and sportsmanship.

Please share your favorite coaching story or a memorable moment you had as a coach.
• My favorite coaching moment came in a Lombard Thunder game last season. In the weeks leading up to the game, we’d been practicing bunting and sliding. Our girls had taken the instruction well, but we’ve yet to ask any of them to execute the skills in a game.

• With a runner on third base, one off our players stepped into the batter’s box. After 4 successive balls by the opposing pitcher, I came into the game to pitch to her. On the first pitch, she squared her body up and laid a perfect bunt down the third base line. As she did this, the runner on 3rd base broke for home, running full speed and sliding just out of reach of the catcher in a thrilling play at the plate.

• While the score of the game didn’t require a bunt situation, the two girls applied what they learned, executed a perfect suicide squeeze, without realizing the gravity of the play. But what makes it the most memorable were the smiles and excitement that the players, parents and coaches felt in that special moment.

What advice would you have for someone who is coaching for the first time?
• No matter what hard skills you possess (throwing, hitting, catching) coaching isn’t about being a former All Star or teaching your players to be a future one. It’s about a genuine concern for making the most of their time in a fun, safe way.

• By structuring your practices and games, focusing on fun and development, and encouraging sportsmanship and teamwork, you’ll be building a foundation that all players of all skill levels will enjoy.

How long have you been a Lombard resident (if you aren’t a Lombard resident, please tell us why you chose Lombard as the community to share your gift of coaching).
• I am Lombard native, having played in the Lombard Boys Baseball league as a teenager. I returned to the community in 2012 and plan on being here for years to come.

Please add any other information that you’d like for us to know.
First and foremost, I’d like to thank the parents. Without their support, there’s no possible way we would have the fun seasons and successes we’ve enjoyed. I’d also like to thank my daughter Alex, a senior at Glenbard East, for all of her time and effort in being an assistant coach of the Lombard Thunder for the last 3 years.