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Andy Thompson, CSUS Football Photo:

Featured Article

Unleashing Champions

Local School Coaches Shaping Lives On and Off the Field

In a world where heroes come in many forms, school sports coaches have a unique opportunity to shape the lives of students on and off the field.  From being role models in the sport to being teachers in new skills, these coaches have a great impact on today’s youth.

Defensive Coach for Sacramento State Football, Cherokee Valeria, says high school coaches are responsible for building the players they see at the university level.  “High school coaches provide the foundation of character, responsibility, and work ethic to their players at an early age.  This foundation allows college coaches to mold a teenager into a future adult that will impact society in a positive manner once he has graduated and is transitioning into the work force,” said Valeria. 

From high school to the university level, coaches embody the epitome of role models.  They exemplify the values of discipline, perseverance, and teamwork, inspiring their students to dream big and reach for the stars.  These coaches lead by example, showing young athletes what it takes to succeed both as individuals and as part of a team.  Beyond the sidelines and locker rooms, these coaches bridge the gap between schools and communities.  They understand the profound impact sports can have on fostering unity, so they actively engage with parents, alumni, and local businesses.  Whether it's organizing fundraisers, volunteering for community events, or simply being a friendly face in the neighborhood, coaches bring people together.

Life is not just about winning games or scoring goals; it's about developing the skills that will carry us through the challenges we face.  School coaches go beyond coaching tactics and strategies, taking on the role of mentors to their students.  When Folsom resident Andrew Thompson took over as Head Football Coach at Sacramento State University in December 2022, he pointed out that he was not only there to coach football, but to make sure his students were successful in school, stating, "I look forward to continuing our program's success in graduating our student-athletes and building upon what we have accomplished on the field."

“Football is a beautiful sport!  It allows us to use the physical results of a game to teach our players how to navigate through life.  From individual battles to a collective team effort, nothing is ever going to be perfect.  No matter how hard you train, you will always have to work for success.  Football allows coaches to teach the standards of what it will take to be successful in life.  I would hope that as a coach, we impact our players off the field in their social life as well.  Teaching them to communicate in an academic environment if they need help, being there for them when life gets rocky, and providing a stable foundation to help guide them through problems,” said Valeria.

Athletic coaches are more than just instructors; they are shaping lives, building bridges, and inspiring greatness within their students.  Through their dedication, passion, and commitment to mentorship, these coaches create a ripple effect that extends far beyond the schools.  They are the ones who ignite the spark of ambition, instilling a belief in young hearts that they can conquer any challenge.  

“High school coaches provide the foundation of character, responsibility, and work ethic to their players at an early age...” 

-Cherokee Valeria, Sac State Football

  • Andy Thompson, CSUS Football Photo: