Two US Lacrosse member coaches were recently named among the 25 national winners of the Positive Coaching Alliance’s coveted Double-Goal Coach Award, presented by MaxPreps. Moorestown (N.J.) High School’s Deanna Knobloch and Powhatan (Va.) School’s Sarah Nelson were each recognized for their positive impact on youth athletes.
The award – named for coaches who strive to win while pursuing the more important goal of teaching life lessons through sports – carries a $250 prize, a trophy and mention within the websites and newsletters of Positive Coaching Alliance.
“Deanna and Sarah help youth athletes win on the field and off,” said Jim Thompson, founder and CEO of Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA). “By creating a positive, character-building youth sports experience, and serving as a Double-Goal Coach, both Sarah and Deanna help youth develop into better athletes and better people.”
“We’re pleased to congratulate both Deanna and Sarah for receiving this distinguished honor as PCA Double-Goal Coach winners,” said Joshua Christian, managing director of sport development at US Lacrosse. “In addition to promoting healthy competition, US Lacrosse endorses a commitment by all participants to honor the game, and these winners, along with the other finalists, certainly provide a wonderful example by their dedication to positively impacting lacrosse players through their coaching leadership.”
Knobloch has coached lacrosse at Moorestown for 22 years with a record of 450-29-4, including 17 state championships. In that time, she has cut players only once because there were just too many freshmen that year for the program’s lone freshman coach.
Wrote one player in testimonials provided as part of Knobloch’s nomination: “I could talk forever about how great of a coach she is to me, but she is also a life mentor. She realizes that life goes beyond lacrosse. She knows when to have fun at practice, and she knows when it's time to be serious. The times we spend dancing in the locker room and laughing at parties with her will be some of my greatest memories leaving high school. Having surgery and rehabbing my knee was the hardest thing that I ever had to do, but I would do it 100 more times if it meant that I could continue to play for Mrs. Knobloch.”
Nelson, a member of the 1997 and 2001 U.S. Women’s National Team, uses an approach rich in enthusiasm, which allies her with players and their parents.
“At the middle school level they’re just learning,” she said. “I want them to love sports. I want coming out to my field to be the best part of their day. Yeah, you have to correct technique sometimes, but it’s important to do it the right way, not trying to break anyone’s spirit or try to make them feel like they can’t accomplish something. And certainly at this age, it should be about inclusiveness, not separating the good from the bad at this point.”
All told, there were among 1,700 coaches nationwide across numerous sports who were nominated for the award. In addition to Knobloch and Nelson, five other lacrosse coaches reached the 75-person finalist stage. They were:
Cathie Connors, Waynflete School, Portland, Maine
Sandy Diebold, Howell (N.J.) Pride
Scott Leong, Trabuco Hills High School, Mission Viejo, Calif.
Claire Mancini, Castilleja Lacrosse & Tenacity Lacrosse, Palo Alto, Calif.
Eric Scearcy Larson, Minnetonka (Minn.) High School
The full list of 2014 Double-Goal Coach winners can be accessed by clicking here.
US Lacrosse and the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) are partners in a nationwide endeavor to make lacrosse a positive, character-building experience for every athlete and to make the experience a more successful one for coaches, parents, fans and officials.