In May, we asked people to nominate an Uncommon Coach in their community for our Uncommon Coaches contest. The prize was a trip to our Uncommon Coaches Clinic, co-hosted with Rachel’s Challenge, July 17-19. But more importantly, it was a chance to recognize the dedicated men and women who are out on the fields, courts, tracks, and pools, not only teaching sports but also coaching young athletes who will grow up to be uncommon people. We had two winners. One of them is Brett McEvoy, pictured here with his baseball team:
Nominations for Brett McEvoy mentioned how he treats his players with dignity and respect, always makes time for them, and uses his sense of humor to motivate his teams, especially when they’re having a rough time. A math teacher at Pickerington Community School, Brett coaches a variety of sports year-round through different leagues, including baseball, football, and wrestling. However, he’s quick to say he doesn’t really teach sports. “It’s more the mental game and how you approach the situation,” says Brett.
As a teacher at a non-traditional school focused on dropout prevention, he enjoys the challenges of getting to know each student’s background and trying to figure out what motivates each of them—very similar to what he does on the field as a coach. And he tries to make sure the kids are having fun. Celebrating the individual and making it fun, as Cal Ripken, Sr. did, are two essential parts of coaching “The Ripken Way.” Of his ultimate goal, whether he’s in the classroom or on the field, Brett says, “You’re motivating kids to reach their potential.”
Coach (or mentor) who inspired him:
Easy answer: My father.
Not-easy answer: My JV/Freshmen Wrestling Coach is the type of coach I wanted to be. He showed he cared about us while still being tough on us when we needed it. He always seemed to know what approach to take in each situation.
Best coaching advice he’s ever received:
"Let your athletes be athletes." Don't try to change the personality in a person, let them be themselves, and they'll perform at their best with technical coaching and motivation.
Tips for celebrating the individual:
I like myself available during class change. Compliment players on something they did the previous day or mention something I'd like them to focus on. Ask them about class. I interact with players via Twitter. I think players enjoy it when their coaches interact with them outside of the field and outside of the sport.