Twenty-three high school coaches from across the country have been selected as 2020 National Coaches of the Year by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Coaches Association.
The NFHS, which has been recognizing coaches through an awards program since 1982, honors coaches in the top 10 girls sports and top 10 boys sports (by participation numbers), and in two “other” sports – one for boys and one for girls – that are not included in the top 10 listings. The NFHS also recognizes a spirit coach as a separate award category. Winners of NFHS awards must be active coaches during the year for which they receive their award. This year’s awards recognize coaches for the 2019-20 school year.
Recipients of this year’s national awards for boys sports are: Ron Murphy, baseball, Rio Rancho (New Mexico) High School; Jerry Petitgoue, basketball, Cuba City (Wisconsin) High School; Kevin Ryan, cross country, Bellingham (Washington) Sehome High School; Gerry Pannoni, football, Lorton (Virginia) South County High School; Steve Kanner, golf, Chandler (Arizona) Hamilton High School; David Halligan, soccer, Falmouth (Maine) High School; Douglas Krecklow, swimming and diving, Omaha (Nebraska) Westside High School; Douglas Chapman, tennis, Somerset (Massachusetts) Berkley Regional High School; Robert Palazzo, track and field, Providence (Rhode Island) Classical High School; Douglas Hislop, wrestling, Imbler (Oregon) High School.
The recipients of the 2020 NFHS national awards for girls sports are: Michael Rose, swimming and diving, Brookfield (Wisconsin) East High School; Judith Hehs, tennis, Wixom (Michigan) St. Catherine of Siena Academy; Willie Smith, track and field, Beachwood (Ohio) High School; Kevin Bordewick, volleyball, Topeka (Kansas) Washburn Rural High School; Donna Moir, basketball, Louisville (Kentucky) Sacred Heart Academy; William Clifton, cross country, Middletown (New Jersey) South High School; Carol Fromuth, golf, St. Louis (Missouri) St. Joseph’s Academy; Tim Carey, lacrosse, Fresno (California) Hoover High School; Stephen Estelle, soccer, Huntington (Massachusetts) Gateway Regional High School; Mary Truesdale, softball, Sacramento (California) Sheldon High School.
The recipient of the National Coach of the Year Award for spirit is Anne Ellett of Gresham (Oregon) Centennial High School. Michael Bowler, a lacrosse coach at Rocky Point (New York) High School, was chosen in the “other” category for boys sports, and Mary Beth Bourgoin, a field hockey coach at Winslow (Maine) High School, was chosen in the “other” category for girls sports.
The NFHS has a contact in each state who is responsible for selecting deserving coach award recipients. This person often works with the state coaches’ association in his or her respective state. He or she contacts the potential state award recipients to complete a coach profile form that requests information regarding the coach’s record, membership in and affiliation with coaching and other professional organizations, involvement with other school and community activities and programs, and coaching philosophy. To be approved as an award recipient and considered for sectional and national coach of the year consideration, this profile form must be completed by the coach or designee and then approved by the executive director (or designee) of the state athletic/activities association.
The next award level after state coach of the year is sectional coach of the year. The NFHS is divided into eight geographical sections. They are as follows: Section 1 – Northeast (CT, ME, MA, NH, NJ, NY, RI, VT); Section 2 – Mideast (DE, DC, KY, MD, OH, PA, VA, WV); Section 3 – South (AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN); Section 4 – Central (IL, IN, IA, MI, WI); Section 5 – Midwest (KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD); Section 6 – Southwest (AR, CO, NM, OK, TX); Section 7 – West (AZ, CA, HI, NV, UT); and Section 8 – Northwest (AK, ID, MT, OR, WA, WY).
The NFHS Coaches Association has an advisory committee composed of a chair and eight sectional representatives. The sectional committee representatives evaluate the state award recipients from the states in their respective sections and select the best candidates for the sectional award in each sport category. The NFHS Coaches Association Advisory Committee then considers the sectional candidates in each sport, ranks them according to a point system, and determines a national winner for each of the 20 sport categories, the spirit category and two “other” categories.
A total of 707 coaches will be recognized this year with state, sectional and national awards.