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.
From the left: Paul Friedrichs–Executive Director, Brad Hermmann–Program Manager, Christopher Derks–Fall Soccer Coach, Tim Clifford–Softball Coach, CJ Mikucki–Basketball Coach, James Robinette–Spring Soccer Coach, Nathan Kinsinger–Program Manager, Dave Kundrot–Board President
Christopher Derks– Fall Soccer
Chris has been coaching for the Park District for 3 years at varying age levels. He coached his daughter’s first/second grade team named The Rocks, and also found time to assistant coach a PreK team named The Thunder this fall. He is a commodity broker for scrap metal recycling and has lived in Lombard for 12 years. Chris enjoys relaxing and not thinking about work in his free time. He also loves to play with his daughters, watch TV, listen to music, grill, and hang with his neighbors and friends. When asked what his favorite aspect of coaching is, Chris responded: “The camaraderie – I love being a part of a team and I like instilling that into my players. No matter if we win or lose, we are still a team and have each other’s backs.”
Chris’s favorite coaching memory happened this fall. He had a girl join his first/second grade team who had never played soccer before. He admits that he was a little worried for her and that she might not be able to keep up with the other girls that have been playing for a few years. Through Chris’s great coaching technique and by pulling her aside to explain many aspects and rules of the game, he was able to watch her “passion and ability grow with each practice”. Chris said, “By the end of the season, she was having fun and kicking butt with her other teammates.”
Chris believes that playing organized team sports is key to the development of a child. Sports instill a feeling of teamwork, teach how to be a good teammate, how to lose, and how to win together. He said “These are very important skills that I wish more adults had.”
“Coach Chris Derks is by far the best coach ever! The kids love him and he truly cares about the happiness of our children! We’ve had him for a few soccer seasons, this year our team was the Rocks! He comes up with cheers that really keep the 7 and 8 year old Girls engaged! He teaches them about the game and how to have fun playing it! My daughter now wants to play soccer year round, because the love for soccer that Coach Derks has instilled!”
“I would like to nominate both coaches from The Rocks, Chris Derks and Ray Hernandez. Chris and Ray are excellent coaches. They teach the kids the soccer skills that they need to learn all while making it fun and interactive. They make sure that no kid is left out and that everyone takes turns learning new skills. Chris & Ray make an excellent team and have taught the girls so much over the years. I would love to see them win as coaches of the year!”
Tim Clifford– Softball
Tim is always one of the most requested coaches by players due to his passion for sport, learning, and keeping kids active. This year he coached in our spring softball league as well as our fall softball league. Besides softball, Tim also coaches basketball and has coached soccer for the Park District. He has been coaching for the Park District for four years. Tim grew up in Lombard and has been living here with his wife since 2002. When he is not coaching he loves watching his daughter participate in her other activities, spending time with his family and staying active. Tim also plays baseball in the summer and fall in our Over 30 League as well as basketball during the winter. His favorite aspect of coaching is having the opportunity to be part of his daughter’s experiences! He loves team sports, competition, and being on the field working with the kids teaching different fundamentals. He finds great satisfaction in watching his players develop their skills, become good teammates, and continue playing the sport in future years. Tim’s most memorable experience this year was in the All Star game when his daughter hit a ball over the left field’s head to the fence. It cleared the bases. It was wonderful to see all the batting practice, flips, tee work and other hand/eye hitting drills paying off. His advice for other coaches is to keep it simple and fun, don’t be afraid to ask for help from parents, and utilize the Park District clinics. Due to his great passion for the kids, softball, and the Park District we would like to honor him as the 2018 Youth Softball Coach of the Year.
CJ Mikucki– Basketball
CJ is entering his third year as a coach in for the Lombard Park District. He resides in Addison and wanted to give back to the community as much as possible. He reached out to the Lombard Park District and we provided him the opportunity to coach. This year CJ coached in our winter league as well as one of our spring travel teams. In his free time CJ enjoys spending time with his wife, learning, reading, watching documentaries and sports, working out, traveling, and listening to music. He loves having the opportunity to help players grow not only in their basketball skills, but also in life. His favorite memory each year is seeing the positive changes from the beginning of the season to the end. CJ’s advice to coaches is to enjoy it; if you have fun, your team will, too. Involve everyone (if possible) in drills and huddles. Finally, understand that you don’t have to win all the time. There are many lessons to learn in each practice and game, so be open to personal growth, as it will help you become a better coach. Due to all of CJ’s hard work with our league and commitment to teaching kids we would like to present him as the 2018 Youth Basketball Coach of the Year.
James Robinette– Spring Soccer
James has been coaching for the Park District for over 3 years. He has coached different age levels over the years and has done a great job with them all. This spring, James coached a PreK team named The Tigers. He has lived in Lombard for 6 years and is currently the Principal of Congress Park Elementary School in LaGrange. In his free time, James works on achieving his doctorate which entails a lot of reading of educational articles and books. He also tries to run as much as he can and enjoys to cook for his family.
When asked what his favorite aspect of coaching is, James responded: “Seeing the progress the kids make and the smiles they have while it is happening.” His favorite memory of his coaching career happened when he was coaching his oldest son in soccer they had a very rainy game. His family and they boys that were on the team at the time still refer to it as “The Rain Game”. At the end of the game in the huddle, his son came up and gave him a great big hug resulting in James being covered in mud. We asked him, what advice would you have for someone who is coaching for the first time? To which he responded, “If you are having fun, the kids will have fun. Make it fun for all.”
“Coach James Robinette was the best coach. He was extremely patient with all the kids. He really taught the kids how to play soccer while making it so fun for them. He was always encouraging and communicated well with the kids and parents. He taught Preschool in the spring and Kindergarten in the fall. The team name was The Tigers for both.”
“James Robinette, the Coach of the Tigers Kindergarten team this last fall and Coach of the Tigers preschool team this last spring. He is an amazing coach. The kids love playing for him, he makes it very fair, very fun and the kids learn a lot.”