Read Boys' Coach of the Year ­ Don Rother text version

Boys' Coach of the Year ­ Don Rother

Don Rother's application for Coach of the Year contained repetitions of the following phrases: "teacher, great coach, high standards, respect for the players, inspiring, and devotion." While such praise is not uncommon from team members and supporters, it is unusual to hear such comments from opposing coaches and their supporters. And Don's application file holds many comments from opponents and supporters who repeat that praise. "I really wish to improve the play of my players," says Rother, who is a product of NYSA and began playing as a U6. "Coaches need to be a positive influence in the lives of their players and value the work ethic that must be applied to make them better players." Rother gained many of those concepts from a coach he still admires ­ Gordon Drummond. "Gordon influenced me so much with his belief in honesty and discipline as a player and coach," says Rother. " But Rother has a motto he lives by: "Focus on development, success comes later." For his three competitive teams, 93 Celtic Green, 94 Celtic Green, and 95 Celtic Green, success has come with the trust and belief in their coach. The 94 Celtic squad won back-to-back state championships (2005 & 2006) and the 93 Celtic team was runner-up in the state championships in 2005 and are current OPL champions. Rother's development as a coach came from his many years of playing the game from U6 through high school. "I graduated from OU with a BA in business administration," says Rother, "but OU didn't have varsity soccer for men. I did play both club and high school soccer, though, on the 80's Celtic squad. In high school, I played for Norman my first three years and was on the first Norman North squad my senior year." For many coaches, soccer becomes part of their life when a son or daughter announces they want to play the game. For Don and wife, Sharlee, the game has always been a part of their lives and now the three teams that Don coaches are a family to him. Trevor Laffoon has this to say about his coach: "...you worked us and we are now the hardest working team in the state. You took your spare time to work on our evaluations. I have gotten better because you are a great coach." Many of the players praise Don's ability to teach. "You've helped me improve my touch on the ball, and my vision of the field," says Jack Coleman. "You have taught me to be a more accurate shooter." What a coach teaches players is often more than about the game itself, as Colt Hardage states: "Thank you for all the leadership that I have learned from you." Michael Henke's parents, Richard and Murray, also see aspects of Don's training that goes beyond ball skills. "He does all that is humanly possible to put his players in a position to achieve success. Don never raises his voice to his players. It's that genuine feeling that he cares about them that makes his players want to play their hearts out for him." When a parent supports the efforts of a coach who doesn't work with their son, it demonstrates what a unique person Don is. "...my son is not on any team that Don coaches, but we are well familiar with all of them. Watching Don's teams play at such a high level makes my son proud of his club (his room is painted green and is decorated

with Celtic pictures). The success that Don's teams had is very positive and energizing for our whole club," Lucy Lifschitz, Celtic 95 Black parent. Ellen Ward voices an opinion shared by many of the adults who know Don: "Don has it all when it comes to the ability to coach and be successful. But as a mother, the most important thing I look for is what type of person is going to be around my child. Don has impeccable character. He is the type of man I want my children to be around to be like. Not only does Don teach my children soccer, he also teaches them good character, respect and teaches them how to feel good about themselves. He has the ability to make every child feel like they matter." Don's duties are multiple. He currently coaches three teams, is the director of the Celtic Soccer Academy (where he created a program to develop players), co-director of the Norman Girls Premier Soccer Camp, co-director of the Norman Celtic Camp, and newly appointed head coach for the Norman North High School boys' team. Add in his volunteer efforts with Food For Friends and his Sunday School teaching at Journey Church demonstrates the dedication Don Rother has to his family and his sport. Congratulations, Don Rother as OSA's Boys' Coach of the Year!

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Boys' Coach of the Year ­ Don Rother

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