Champion Coach of the Week
Play Like a Champion is proud to celebrate coaches who demonstrate a Champion approach to youth and high school sports, developing young athletes in virtue as well as skill. These coaches serve as models for coaches everywhere as they develop athletes not only physically, but socially, emotionally and morally. Each week, we recognize a new coach and celebrate their impact on the lives of countless children in communities across America.
Explore the gallery of Champion Coach honorees below and hover over the images to learn more about each coach.
Coach Te'rajhe Strickland is beloved by the boxers in the South Bend Police Athletic League (PAL). "Coach T" is currently a Junior at Clay High School in South Bend and is a self-described outgoing, independent and responsible student. He started as a participant in PAL boxing in 7th grade and through persistence and consistency has worked his way up to be a coach in the program. Coach T said, “The kids look forward to being here. The program not only provides a safe space for them to exercise, but builds their self-confidence and their character.” The best part of coaching is, “I like to impact the lives of the kids, and to show them that one day they can be a coach, just like me.”
Awarded April 27, 2022
Coach, South Bend Police Athletic League
Jaquelin Navarrete is a Sophomore at Indiana University of South Bend where she studies biological sciences & aspires to attend medical or dental school on graduation. Jaquelin started her personal fitness journey as a sophomore in high school, lifting weights and working out at the South Bend Police Athletic League (PAL) boxing program. She became a PAL coach upon high school graduation and enjoys mentoring the youth in the program. Jaquelin said, “Having relationships with the Police Officers is a blessing. They are kind and playful and give me good advice. There are not a lot of people I can go to like that. I hope to provide this kind of bond as a mentor with the kids I coach.”
Awarded April 13, 2022
Coach, South Bend Police Athletic League
Morgan Gallagher (far right) is the Athletics and Communications Associate and Head Cheer Coach Holy Spirit Preparatory School in Atlanta. Morgan cheered collegiately at Virginia Tech University and is passionate about sharing her unique and fresh ideas with her cheer team and with the entire Holy Spirit community. She leads her team by positive example, meeting the girls where they are and challenging them to support one another in and out of practice and events. Best of all, Morgan believes in the whole formation of each athlete and regularly creates opportunities for team discussions about social and moral issues.
Awarded March 2, 2022
Athletics & Communications Assoc. & Head Cheer Coach
Holy Spirit Preparatory School in Atlanta, GA
As Director of CYO Athletics, Kara is responsible for coordinating sports for 9,000 kids in 78 schools and parishes in Seattle. A collegiate swimmer at the Univ. of Kansas for two years, she graduated from Oregon State and received her Masters in Sports Administration from Seattle University where she worked with the Seattle Storm, Univ. of Washington Athletics and the Seattle Seahawks. Kara understands the essential role of sport parents as the primary educators of youth, so she has committed to training parents with the Parent Like a Champion philosophy. Over the fall, Kara trained 1,000 parents to positively support their athletes and teams.
Awarded January 27, 2022
Director of CYO Athletics
Archdiocese of Seattle, WA
A member of the South Bend Police Department since 1998, Captain David Herron also serves as the Coordinator of the South Bend Police Athletic League (PAL) program, where police officers teach kids life learning skills through athletics. This program serves approximately 1000 youth and young adults each year. The South Bend PAL has been a partner of Play Like a Champion since our inception (over 15 years). Dave serves on the Board of the Michiana Athletic and Recreation Association (MARA), A Team for Every Child partnership in South Bend. Dave tirelessly works on behalf of the community and his leadership and passion are an inspiration to all.
Awarded December 16, 2021
Coordinator, South Bend Police Athletic League
South Bend, IN
In addition to his work as a school principal, Mark Strawbridge has served as the Director of the Denver Catholic Schools Athletic League since 2012. CSAL serves 37 schools offering athletic ministry to hundreds of youth from 3rd through 8th grade in the broader Denver area. Mark has committed to training all coaches & parents to support a positive youth developmental environment. Mark said, “I’m honored to work for the Archdiocese of Denver who combines faith, education, and athletics into one experience. Our players, parents, & coaches are given a genuine opportunity to find God in the athletic arena.”
Awarded December 2, 2021
Director, Denver Catholic Schools Athletic League
Francis Fresneda (far right) is the Physical Education teacher and Athletic Director at St. James School in North Miami. She recently attended the Professional Development Day that Play Like a Champion hosted for Miami Physical Education teachers. Francis was the first teacher to show up and she jumped right in to help with registration. She sat in the front row with a smile on her face and participated whole-heartedly the entire day. Her enthusiasm was contagious. We honor Francis for her energy and positivity knowing this attitude is a tremendous example to her students.
Awarded October 21, 2021
Physical Education Teacher and Athletic Director
St. James School, North Miami, FL
LaTorrance Triplett coaches the U8 team for the North Lawndale Eagles on the West Side of Chicago. Having grown up in the community and played for the Eagles when he was young, Coach LT finds joy and meaning in his work with North Lawndale youth. In addition, he has been busy training for the Chicago Marathon, running in support of the North Lawndale Athletic and Recreation Association. We are honored to work alongside Coach LT and his colleagues at the North Lawndale Eagles. Join us in sending good thoughts his way as he begins race week!
Awarded October 7, 2021
U8 Coach for North Lawndale Eagles
Kory Minor is the head football coach at St. Margaret’s Episcopal School in San Juan Capistrano, CA. Seeing his mission as a mentor-coach, he does not focus on winning but how he can serve his athletes each day by giving them a charge-up, support and a place to share. Kory’s “end goal” is to affect his athletes lives for the good in the short and long term. Kory was a team captain for the University of Notre Dame football program and played in the NFL for the San Francisco 49ers and the Carolina Panthers. We are also proud to have him on our Play Like a Champion team as a trainer in the Los Angeles area.
Awarded September 16, 2021
Head Football Coach, St. Margaret's Episcopal School
San Juan Capistrano, CA
Kate Ludick volunteers as a coach and yoga instructor with South Bend Breakers Basketball in South Bend, Indiana. She incorporates the Montessori Method of holistic, life-skills education with a base in child development as well as yoga to integrate numeracy/literacy skills, life skills and wellness components into the basketball practices and camps that Positive Outlook offers to children and teens in the community. Says Kate, “What you learn on your yoga mat are critical tools for life, school, and your performance in sport. The health effects of mindful movement alleviate so much of the trauma and difficulty of these times.”
Awarded May 27, 2021
Coach & Yoga Instructor, South Bend Breakers
South Bend, IN
Jay Freymiller is the Girls Soccer Head Coach at Adams High School in South Bend, IN. Jay works at the Marquette Montessori Academy, is a Board Member of the Michiana Athletic and Recreation Association (MARA) and has been coordinating FUTSAL programming for youth in the community for 10+ years. Jay’s commitment to “coaching the whole person” means he provides personal, academic & emotional support to his players in addition to creating a high-performance environment. Jay is a driving force in creating A Team for Every Child in the South Bend community and we were also blessed to see Jay in action coaching Play Like a Champion virtual camps last year, where he was awesome.
Awarded May 20, 2021
Girls Soccer Coach, South Bend, IN
Scott Bailey is the Director of CYO Athletics for the Archdiocese of Seattle, responsible for coordinating sports each year for 9,000 kids ages 5-18 in 78 schools & parishes across the Emerald City. Over 13 years with the CYO, Bailey has trained 5,800 coaches in the Play Like a Champion philosophy. With sports cancelled most of this past year due to COVID-19, he creatively committed to take positive advantage of this time by pouring his heart into training and support for his sport parents, presenting the Parent Like a Champion Today clinic virtually. Said Bailey, “Making the parent workshop required for participation in CYO Athletics is an intentional way our sports programs can come out of this time stronger, and more child-centered than ever.”
Awarded May 13, 2021
Director of CYO Athletics, Archdiocese of Seattle
Kate York is an Athletics Associate at Loyola Academy in Wilmette, IL. She previously spent 9 years coaching cross country and track & field at St. Josaphat School in Chicago, also serving as Athletic Director there for 5 years. As the co-chairperson of the Chicago Catholic Youth League for 4 years, she served approx. 3,000 youth each year. Kate has generously shared her “acting” talents by starring in several Play Like a Champion media productions, including a video promoting “A Team for Every Child” and our recently updated youth coach video series, modeling how to have a moral discussion with a sport team. Kate is a beloved member of our Champion community and a role model for all girls seeking to become sport administrators.
Awarded May 6, 2021
Athletics Associate, Loyola Academy
Frank Ramos has taught Physical Education at St. Theresa Catholic School for 52 years & has been the Director of the Dade County Catholic Athletic League for 31 years. Over this time, Frank has coached 10 sports and touched the lives of thousands of children. Frank’s kind and generous spirit are palpable. Val Lloyd, Moderator of athletics for the Archdiocese of Miami (ADOM) explains, “ Frank is an inspiration and mentor to many ADOM athletic directors and coaches; he remains a great example to us all as he encourages everyone to learn new things, serve our community and make a difference in the world. I consider it an honor and a privilege to work alongside him developing lifelong faith-filled athletic mentors for the ADOM."
Awarded April 29, 2021
PE Teacher, Administrator in Miami, FL
Meghan Morgan is Executive Director of Girls In The Game. The mission of Girls in the Game is to help every girl find her voice, discover her strength and lead with confidence through fun and active sports, health and leadership programs. Through Meghan’s leadership, the program has expanded to serve Chicago's highest need communities as well as 3 more cities: Bloomington, Baltimore & Dallas, serving 3,500 girls each year and empowering them to be gamechangers in life. Meghan believes we won’t achieve true equity in sport "unless we address the disparities facing girls, particularly girls of color. All girls deserve the opportunity to thrive; it’s up to all of us to ensure they have the access to the sports programs they need to grow into strong, confident leaders."
Awarded April 22, 2021
Executive Director, Girls in the Game
Coach Charles Rice directs North Lawndale Eagles Football in Chicago while serving as a coach and mentor for the more than 90 young boys who participate in the program every year. Coach Charles has served the Eagles in this capacity since the program’s creation 30 years ago, a tenure that enables him to impact thousands of young people in North Lawndale; he has coached multiple generations within a family, including fathers and their sons. The mission of the Eagles is to “empower at-risk youth through sports development” by providing positive alternatives to the pitfalls waiting in the streets for urban youth. Coach Charles is a humble, faith-filled leader who inspires coaches everywhere.
Awarded April 15, 2021
Executive Director & Coach, North Lawndale Eagles
Dan Fitzgerald retired from the Brentwood Police Department after 34 years and decided to climb his second mountain as the Director of the Archdiocese of St. Louis CYC. Founded in 1941, the CYC serves over 40,000 children each year rallying around three pillars: Faith, Sportsmanship and Service through sport. They were the first youth sports organization in St Louis to allow black children an opportunity to play organized sports. Dan carries this commitment forward with the formation of “ONE TEAM,” a committee whose mission is to understand racial discrimination that manifests in the CYC and works to eradicate all racism in youth sports. Dan’s leadership in this important arena is exemplary.
Awarded April 8, 2021
Director, Archdiocese of St. Louis CYC
Valarie Lloyd is the Dean of Students at Monsignor Edward Pace High School & the Moderator of all athletics for the Archdiocese of Miami. Valarie has been a teacher & coach for 39 years, dedicating her life to the service of children through the goodness of physical activity for wholistic development. She leads the expansion of Play Like a Champion training across all entities, beginning with youth coaches in 2017, training all sports parents in 2018 & all high school coaches in 2019. She is currently working to pilot a physical education curriculum for all Miami middle school students in Fall 2021. We salute Valarie, an inspired leader tirelessly working to create a better world for youth through sports!
Awarded April 1, 2021
Dean of Students, Msgr. Pace High School
Moderator of Athletics, Archdiocese of Miami, FL
Fenton Moore lived a life of service, dedicating himself as a coach, athletic director, and official for 30 years, as well as a Play Like a Champion Trainer. A member of the Ohio Army National Guard for 36 years, he valued creating a fair and fun environment for athletes. Fenton passed away suddenly on February 18, 2021. With this award, we mourn the loss of a soldier for youth. Marty Raines, Director of the Columbus Diocesan Recreation Association remembers, “Fenton gave countless hours to the youth of St. Andrew Parish and the Diocese of Columbus for many years. He was was outgoing and friendly to everyone. All of us in the Diocese will miss him as a leader, a coach, an official, and a role model for the children, as well as a friend. His thoughts and insights were so helpful to us. He was a blessing and a gift to all.”
Awarded March 25, 2021
Coach, Athletic Director & Official
St. Andrew Parish, Columbus, Ohio
Darrin & Debra Brown have run The Investment Basketball Program in the North Lawndale neighborhood of Chicago for more than 25 years. As community leaders, the Brown’s demonstrate how to care for athletes beyond the court, embodying love as they act as mentors, serve as parent-figures, and work together with families to create a supportive environment for the young people they serve. Darrin & Debra are key players in the North Lawndale Athletic and Recreation Association as well as 2016 honorees of Play Like a Champion’s Rich O’Leary Community Sports Award for their selfless community service & spirit. Their life-saving leadership continually inspires our community.
Awarded March 18, 2021
Darrin & Debra Brown
The Investment Basketball Program
North Lawndale Neighborhood in Chicago, IL
Coach Andrea McCabe is a “textbook” example of a Champion coach, creating a fun, encouraging & supportive environment while empowering each athlete to become the best version of themselves. For 38 years, Andrea has coached boys and girls in volleyball and basketball in the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board in Ontario, Canada. A 2019 recipient of Play Like a Champion’s Nan Tulchinsky Award for exemplary High School coaches, she says, “Coaching youth has been such a blessing. My players have been such a big part of my development as a teacher-coach, but more importantly as a person.”
Awarded March 11, 2021
Volleyball & Basketball Coach, Vice Principal
Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board
Michael Carlson is Athletic Director for the Diocese of Fort Worth, TX and Offensive Coordinator for the Nolan Catholic High School Varsity Football team. His coaching resume also includes several years as a girls basketball coach at Nolan. Michael’s passion for coaching began when he was just 15 years old helping coach summer baseball camps. He says, “I love teaching the kids, but more important is being a role model, being available and being an advocate.” Michael’s mission is to ensure sports are available for all young youth in Fort Worth regardless of their athletic ability or economic status.
Awarded March 4, 2021
Athletic Director, Diocese of Fort Worth
Offensive Coordinator, Nolan Catholic HS Football
Dr. Ramona Cox is an Associate Athletic Director with Detroit PAL responsible for PAL’s girls sport programming as well as life skills training. Ramona is also the varsity volleyball coach at Cass Tech High School. PAL serves thousands of girls each year through the joy of athletic competition. Ramona believes, “Sports can be a gateway to experience all of the positive characteristics we value in society like leadership, confidence, discipline and resilience." She is, "committed to this work to make sure girls are not left out of the conversation and to ensure they have opportunities through sports to develop into amazing leaders!"
Awarded February 25, 2021
Associate AD, Detroit PAL
Varsity Volleyball Coach, Cass Tech High School
Joe Wootten is the Athletic Director & Head Boys Basketball Coach at Bishop O'Connell High School in Arlington, VA. Over 22 years as coach, his teams have averaged 23 wins & won 5 State Championships. Wootten is a true character educator, emphasizing with his players the moral values developed by sport and teaming with Play Like a Champion each fall to train parents and coaches in the approach. The son of legendary DeMatha basketball coach Morgan Wootten, Joe continues to run the popular summer basketball camp his father started in 1961, having brought 200,000+ kids the joy of basketball while developing better people.
Awarded February 18, 2021
Athletic Director, Head Boys Basketball Coach
Bishop O'Connell High School
Jamyle Cannon is Founder and Director of The Bloc.
A former National Collegiate Boxing Champion, Jamyle started The Bloc as a boxing club for students in his classroom on Chicago's West Side and has built it into a program that uses the discipline of boxing to support the academic, social and developmental needs of Chicago's teens. His incredible work has been recognized across Chicago and nationally; in 2019 he was named a CNN Hero. The Bloc's goal is to bring hope, purpose and success to Chicago's youth, breaking the cycle of poverty and reducing violence in the community.
Awarded February 11, 2021
Founder & Director, The Bloc
Marty Raines is the Director of the Columbus Diocesan Recreation Association since 2008 & a coach in the league for 30+ years. She believes that athletics are an important part of a child’s development physically, socially, mentally & faithfully, ensuring that all coaches & sport parents attend Play Like a Champion training to build a positive, faith-based sport culture. “I’ve spent my entire life in the Catholic school system," she said, "I enjoy being able to share my faith with the children and encourage coaches & administrators to do the same. I view coaching and administration in the field to be a ministry. I am grateful and thankful to have this opportunity.”
Awarded February 4, 2021
Director, Columbus Diocesan Recreation Association
This week's Champion Coach of the Week is Orlandus Thomas, a 20-year veteran coach & teacher, currently in his first year teaching physical education and serving as the AD at Intrinsic Charter School's Downtown Chicago Campus. "Coach OT" is a caring & energetic mentor for young people with CHAMPS Male Mentoring, Sky Schools and TriMasters Sports Initiatives. Honored by Michelle Obama in her “Let’s Move” campaign for his high energy Hip-Hop Aerobics, he’s also a Certified Athletic Administrator & a Certified Master Personal Trainer through the American Sport and Fitness Association. Click here to see OT in-action or visit his website to learn more about his work!
Awarded January 28, 2021
Athletic Director, Intrinsic Charter School (Chicago)
Allison Fondale is in her 7th year as AD at St. Mary's High School in Annapolis, MD. A standout lacrosse player at Loyola University (Baltimore), she coached lacrosse at Duke, the University of Maryland & the Naval Academy prior to joining St. Mary’s, where she leads 80 coaches & 36 teams. Allison was honored in 2020 as the Maryland State AD of the Year, demonstrating a constant motivation to improve the athletic experience for St. Mary’s athletes, creating programs like the CHAMPS leadership and service program, SAIL to develop student-athletes, and a “Halo” award for those who go above & beyond in a display of character.
Awarded January 21, 2021
Athletic Director, St. Mary's High School
Derek Brown is the Founder & Director of Boxing Out Negativity, an anti-violence organization that serves at-risk youth in Chicago's North Lawndale neighborhood. Over 12 years, he has leveraged his own experience on the streets to teach over 500 youth the importance of “gloves, not guns.” Since the onset of Covid-19, Derek has continued community outreach, organizing a 500-person bike demonstration for peace, leading weekly food distributions, & encouraging families to spend time together with outdoor workouts. We are proud of the ways Derek empowers at-risk youth to realize the “best within themselves”.
Awarded January 14, 2021
Founder & Director, Boxing Out Negativity
James McGoldrick has served as the Director of the Los Angeles CYO for 10 years, sustaining 11 youth sports for 20,000+ children. When COVID-19 halted youth sports, James responded creatively by creating a virtual eSports platform that gave youth an outlet to connect with peers & enjoy competition. In collaboration with Play Like a Champion, every eSports competition begins with prayer & competitors are provided with a list of a variety of movement opportunities to keep them physically active.
Awarded January 7, 2021
Director, Los Angeles CYO
Theresa Mosmeyer is the Athletic Director of the Dallas Parochial League & a long-time coach. Theresa spent nearly 20 years coaching youth, high school and club volleyball before taking over the DPL in June 2007. She also participated in the 1st Play Like a Champion Coach Clinic in 2006! Says Theresa, "I value sports for what it can do for a child… give them confidence, allow them to try something they may or may not be good at, teach them respect and sportsmanship."
Awarded December 17, 2020
Athletic Director, Dallas Parochial League
Anthony Thomas is Athletic Director at Francis Parker High School in San Diego and co-founder of the National Organization of Minority Athletic Directors (NOMAD). He firmly believes we can combat racism through sport and is a key thought leader in Play Like a Champion’s pursuit to inform our community on this critical topic. His goal is to build understanding, allyship and kinship within his local sport community as well as make a national impact to defeat racism.
Awarded December 10, 2020
Athletic Director, Francis Parker High School
Rey Rodriguez has served as League Commissioner for Orlando's Catholic Youth Sports for 10 years, having watched the league of 25 parishes grow to 6,000 kids in Grades K-8. Says Rodriguez: "I believe how we treat and train our student-athletes today will determine how they will treat us tomorrow when they become our leaders and lifelong champions. CYS's vision is to develop players in mind, body, and soul to help them grow as individuals, both physically and spiritually."
Awarded December 3, 2020
Orlando Catholic Youth Sports
A 25 year veteran coach, Donna Camardo from Paul VI High School in Haddonfield NJ believes coaches are charged with developing youth physically, socially, morally and spiritually. Coach Camardo is a role model who treats players fairly and keeps the game in perspective by seeing the big picture, influencing the growth of athletes to be good Christian leaders. As a former player said, "You truly made a difference in my life." That's what it's all about!
Awarded November 19, 2020
Teacher of Mathmatics & Assistant AD
Paul VI High School, Haddonfield, NJ
Kimberly Williams has spent 34 years leading the Maryville (Chicago) CYO. She began coaching as a sophomore in high school reflecting a 41 year coaching career that has focused primarily on cheer, but also gymnastics/tumbling, track, softball and volleyball. In 2020, Williams appeared in Play Like a Champion's brand new video series to help youth coaches coach for character development. As her appearance shows her energy and enthusiasm are contagious!
Awarded November 12, 2020
Coordinator of Athletics, Maryville CYO
Legendary coach & “drum major for justice,” Michael Poole created Positive Outlook to build community from within through basketball teams in the Michiana area. The teams consist of boys & girls in 4th-12th grade, which allow Coach Poole and his Positive Outlook staff to mentor hundreds of area youth through consecutive years of coaching. Coach Poole has given hundreds of kids an opportunity to play & has helped many area students to graduate and continue education beyond high school.
Awarded November 5, 2020
Founder & Head Coach, Positive Outlook, Inc
South Bend, IN