Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Elite Coaches!

A recent phone call reminded me to write a blog that I have been intending to do for some time. The call came from a respected trainer and part time middle school referee. He called to ask me if I have I seen Ashlin Ross. Of course I am familiar with the ultra talented Ross and wrote about her last year. He went on to say that Wagner coach, Tina Camacho was in attendance at the middle school game where Ross put on a show. Ross will be a freshman at Wagner next year and is part of a very deep and talented 2014 class. The call was a reminder of why Camacho is one of the best coaches in the city. She invests into her program.

While Camacho coaches the #1 ranked team in the city, she spent the summer raising money for a trip to Arizona for her Thunderbirds to attend the prestigious Nike Tournament of Champions. Eventhough she is chasing another trip to Austin, Camacho takes the time to attend middle school games. She encourages her kids to play club ball and get individual training. The thing that is most impressive about Camacho is that she works for her kids. Coach Camacho has a board in her office that allows her to keep track of individual kids and schools pursuing them. For instance, when superstar Len'Nique Brown was being heavily recruited by multiple schools, Camacho kept track of each school, when and what video tapes were needed for duplication, scheduled visits,etc. She does this for ALL of her kids getting college attention. This may seem like what a coach is SUPPOSED to do but it is far from they all do.

Here is an email from a frustrated dad sent to me a few weeks ago:

"I have a child playing High School Basketball. I have been TRYING to coordinate information and requests for visits from a college to the High School Coach. I thought the HS Coach would be appreciative of this and felt compelled keep all parties on the same page, working in unison for the benefit of the student athlete. What I have experienced is a total lack of assistance from the HS Coach. The coach gives the impression (which goes a long way with me) that the process of setting up visits to observe the player in practice is a headache and they have other things to do. ..... It seems some coaches use the kids to win games, ensure the kid meets minimum academic standards (to be eligible to play) but when it comes time to assist with getting the kid in college (academically or athletically), their involvement and interests dramatically decreases" .

Like Camacho, John Jay coach Mike Floyd knows the happenings of his middle school coaches and kids. He knew that he was getting freshman stars Destiny Amezquita and Aleeya Harris and monitored their grades while both were still in middle school. He encouraged his high school stars to become mentors to the young pups even before they arrived on his campus. He visits the club practices of his kids to determine if he agrees with what is being taught. He too orchestrates fundraisers to ensure his program looks as good as it plays and has the resources to play in great events in order to showcase his kids. Coach Floyd also develops relationships with trainers to help his kids in the summer. The recruiting madness that accompanies a star like Erica Donovan is embraced by Coach Floyd and his staff instead of treating it like a burden. I am personally familiar with the lengths that Coach Floyd goes to keep his players in positions to succeed.

I am sure that plenty of coaches invest in their programs. Reagan coach, Terry Barton is active in his middle school programs and personally takes interest in his up and coming players. Boerne Champions, Johnathan Tate is another coach that is often seen at middle school games. No coach gave more to her program than former Fox Tech coach and current Stevens assistant, Anissa Hastings. Hastings is one of the brightest young coaches in the city and her energy and passion for her kids is limitless. I saw incidents of her becoming a second mother to many of her underprivileged players at Fox Tech. Not only was she instilling basketball skills but she spent a lot of time developing her girls as young women and helping them overcome social ills.

These are just a few coaches that deserve some mention. I personally would like to see girls basketball coaches be held to the same standard as we hold our football coaches. Then we would see ALL of the coaches go above and beyond for their kids and take pride in their development.