Erica Lepley '09
Coaches score high as role models
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The learning cycle
Perhaps nothing drives home to coaches the influence they have on student-athletes—or prepares them better for coaching—more than their past experiences as athletes training under inspiring coaches.
As a runner, Fogelsanger remembers “catching” a contagious self-confidence from his coach, Doug Miller, and learning from Miller’s intimate knowledge of the technical aspects of training. From Rich Lingrind, the mid-distance assistant coach at the time, Fogelsanger says he absorbed “a genuine caring concern for the whole person. It was not just, ‘How fast are you?’”
Lester Zook also benefited from coach role models: “Sometimes we can have our life changed by a certain intellectual insight, but the best learning always happens when one life is influencing another. In my life, the people who have taken that place are coaches,” he says.
Likewise, Horst believes her best preparation for coaching was learning from the way she was coached. A lifelong athlete and four-year starting forward for Messiah’s field hockey team, Horst says the depth of her athletic commitment resulted from coaches who recognized her athletic gifts as positive even though “it was not always [considered] a great thing to grow up as a female athlete in the Mennonite Church.” The encouragement and support of my coaches “meant a lot,” she remembers.
Personal attention from high school coaches also made a significant impact on Joshua (“Hutch”) Hutchinson ’04, currently head coach and director of the boys’ basketball program at Christian Academy of Indiana. He recalls “a couple of assistant coaches who poured an incredible amount of energy into me.” From one in particular, “I was able to learn firsthand what a good coach does by observing what he did. He was always available, always there, always giving energy to the guys and holding the guys accountable,” says Hutchinson. “I still touch base with him and talk to him on a regular basis.”