By Roch A. King, Ph.D. |
On September 19, 1972 President Richard Nixon signed Proclamation 4157 establishing October 6 of each year as National Coaches Day.
The creation of National Coaches Day came at a very significant time for sports in America. Title IX of the Education Amendments had been signed into law only three months earlier and the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women had just been formalized to conduct national championships in women’s college sports for its 280 member institutions. The triumphs and the tragedies of the 1972 Summer Olympics were still very fresh in the collective mind of the country. However, President Nixon’s words did not focus exclusively on elite athletes and coaches. He acknowledged that the majority of coaches take their satisfaction from the achievements of others as well as made the case that a coach’s role is greater than simply medals and scoreboard wins.
Whether or not they achieve athletic distinction, most of those who participate in organized sports will become better citizens because of the lessons they have learned from their coaches and because of the example which their coaches have set for them.
Today millions of coaches serve as those examples for tens of millions of athletes across the country. The importance of well-trained coaches is clearer now, than at almost any other time in our history so today is good day to recognize the men and women who serve the athletes of this nation well. It is also good time to recognize those organizations and institutions that are committed to preparing coaches to provide not only the technical and tactical knowledge required to coach the sport, but also the interpersonal skills to teach the life lessons that the proclamation states are the moral fiber on which our future as a Nation depends. This is a good day to celebrate a coach that has had a positive impact on you, your child, or your community. It is also a good day to support the push for quality coaches and the institutions that that are committed to this goal.
Dr. Roch King is the chair of sports coaching at the United States Sports Academy.