Coaches and youth programs allow athletes to succeed; Players develop over time due to strengthened relationships


Track coaches Mr. Jeremiah Pope and Ms. Virginia McMahon record times during a track meet.

Dan Miranda, Sports Editor

At Schreiber, the coach plays an essential role on the team and makes sure all of its components are running smoothly.

“The single most important hiring I could do in the school—other than a teacher—is that of a coach,” said Athletic Director Ms. Stephanie Joannon.  “They are the role models for our athletes.”

The process of hiring a coach is a long one.  In order for a teacher to become a coach, he or she needs to get a coach’s certificate.  Teachers have as many as five years to acquire this certification, but most can get it within one or two years, said Ms. Joannon.

“If Derek Jeter wanted to coach baseball at Schreiber, he would not be able to do so because it’s not about the knowledge, it’s about the certification,” said Ms. Joannon.

Once there is an opening for a coaching position, an email is first sent to all district staff members letting them know about the opening.

“We love when our teachers coach our students,” said Ms. Joannon.

If nobody from the school district wants the job, the next step is to look outside the school for somebody who would be interested in the position.  Then, an interview is completed and when she is satisfied with the candidate, Ms. Joannon recommends them to the Superintendent.

There is a difference between coaching at the different levels of high school competition.

One area that stays the same though is that the relationships between the player and the coach are built and fostered, so that the coach can help the player attain personal growth and group achievement for the entire team.

“At the JV level, it’s more about development and improving players so that they can get to the varsity level.  On varsity, it is still about developing and growing players, but also about competing to win,” said softball Head Coach Mr. Eric Sutz.

The connections between coaching and teaching is likely one of the many reasons why Ms. Joannon wants Port Washington teachers to coach Port Washington students.

“I look at Coach Holzer as just another guy on the team,” said senior Zach Baer, who starts at second base for the baseball team.

On the softball team, Coach Sutz believes relationships are the most rewarding part of his job.

“Coaching is just teaching in a field or gym.  Management of different personalities, relationships with different parents.  To me, coaching is just a different venue for teaching,” said Mr. Sutz.  “The most rewarding part about coaching is the relationships with the kids.”

There are a couple of youth organizations that take pride in developing the children of the town from a young age.  These include the Port Washington Activities League (PAL), which was established in 1948, and the Port Washington Youth Association (PYA), which was created in 1963. Both organizations offer a myriad of sports, such as baseball, basketball, and lacrosse.  Children grow up playing these sports and finding friendships that last them throughout high school and sometimes to college.

“PYA and Port Washington youth athletics in general create an environment that hones success due to the fact that it teaches leadership and development that would be unable to be attained in other clubs or activities,” said senior Christian Kane.

The development of the athletes as players and people is the goal of these youth organizations and coaches, not necessarily preparing them for lifelong athletics.


Preparing children from kindergarten to the end of high school for life lessons appears to be much more important than any win or loss can teach.  And that is the beauty of coaching: the best can make relationships and teach, using the field as a classroom.