2017 Coaching Corps Game Changer Awards Details Announced!



“Coaching Corps Game Changer Awards” Presented by Levi’s®
Airing Sunday, Jan. 29 at 9 p.m. on CSN Bay Area

Golden State Warriors Forward Draymond Green, Oakland Raiders Head Coach

Jack Del Rio, San Francisco 49ers Linebacker NaVorro Bowman, San Francisco Giants Pitcher

George Kontos and Oakland A’s Pitcher Kendall Graveman to Honor their Coaches and Mentors

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – January 12, 2017 – Coaching Corps (@CoachingCorps) and CSN Bay Area (@CSNAuthentic), the home of “Authentic Bay Area Sports,” today announced the 3rd Annual Coaching Corps Game Changer Awards, presented by Levi’s®, airing Sunday, Jan. 29 at 9 p.m. This event supports Coaching Corps’ mission to provide youth from under-resourced communities access to trained coaches and the benefits of sports. The Coaching Corps Game Changer Awards will feature top Bay Area professional athletes celebrating the profound influence of coaches on their lives and in the community.

The presenters – prominent Bay Area athletes whose lives have been shaped by the mentorship and transformative influence of caring coaches and other important persons – include:

  • Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors 2016 All-Star forward and Olympic gold medalist, honoring his college coach Tom Izzo, Men’s Basketball Head Coach, Michigan State University;
  • Jack Del Rio, Oakland Raiders head coach, honoring his Hayward High School coaches (Hayward, CA.)  Jim Bisenius (baseball), Joe Fuccy (basketball), and Jeff Rankin (football);
  • NaVorro Bowman, San Francisco 49ers linebacker, honoring his Suitland High School (Forestville, MD) football coach David “Nick” Lynch posthumously;
  • George Kontos, San Francisco Giants pitcher, honoring Niles West High School (Skokie, IL) Freshman A Baseball coach Chris Schwarz; and
  • Kendall Graveman, Oakland A’s pitcher, honoring his father Gary Graveman.

For the pinnacle moment of the evening, the Coaching Corps Game Changer Awards will honor Annette Lopez with the Coach of the Year Award.  Annette is a Stanford graduate and is currently studying Occupational Therapy as a graduate student at CSU-Dominguez Hills. She credits her love of sports to her first coach, her father, and played sports throughout her time at Stanford. While in college, she was a part of Stanford’s national championship women’s rugby team. Annette became a Coaching Corps coach because she believes in the power of sports to bring youth together, and values the importance of coaches who encourage kids to be their best selves.

The 3rd Annual Coaching Corps Game Changer Awards, a 90-minute program, is hosted by CSN Bay Area’s Dave Feldman (@FeldyCSN) and Ahmed Fareed (@AhmedFareedCSN). The awards ceremony will be taped on Friday, Jan. 27 at The Fairmont in San Francisco.  After the broadcast debut (Sunday, Jan. 29 at 9 p.m. on CSN Bay Area), the show will re-air on CSN Bay Area on Monday, Jan. 30 at 12 p.m. and Tuesday, Jan. 31 at 8 p.m.  Visit CSNBayArea.com for additional air dates and times.

“Youth from underserved communities are less likely to have a mentor outside of the home compared to youth from more resourced communities. Coaching Corps is committed to ensure that all youth, regardless of their zip code, have access to dedicated and trained coaches and mentors; and the opportunity to learn the vital life lessons that come from playing sports,” said Coaching Corps Executive Director Janet Carter. “We are motivated by the excitement around the Game Changer Awards and look forward to broadening our impact both in the Bay Area and nationwide.”

“This unique event is a true demonstration of teamwork in sports. Without the support of CSN Bay Area, Levi’s, and every professional Bay Area team, the Game Changer Awards would not be what it is today,” said Coaching Corps Founder and Chairperson of the Board Wally Haas. “This event allows us to raise funds to better serve the youth, community partners, and coaches who believe in sport as a vehicle for positive character development and social change. We are thrilled to honor extraordinary coaches who have dedicated their time to making a difference, one person at a time.”

“We are pleased to be a part of the Coaching Corps Game Changer Awards, an event highlighting the organization’s mission to provide all kids, especially those in the most under-resourced communities, with the opportunity to be on a team with a professionally trained coach,” said Tom Stathakes, Senior Vice President and General Manager of CSN Bay Area and CSN California.  “Dedicated coaches can help kids create positive peer relationships, to become inspired by leadership, and to learn the many life lessons that sports can teach.  We’re especially grateful for the participation of the Bay Area sports teams in this extraordinary event.”

Twitter & Instagram:  @coachingcorps, @CSNAuthentic

Hashtags:  #CoachingCorpsGCA17, #coachingcorps, #coacheschangethegame


About Coaching Corps:

Since 2002, Coaching Corps has been dedicated to harnessing the power of service and sports to inspire and mentor youth in underserved communities. Coaching Corps recruits, trains and supports thousands of volunteers who create opportunities for kids to participate in high-quality afterschool sports programs that allow them to embrace a healthy lifestyle and reach their full potential. Based in Oakland, California, Coaching Corps is a 501(c)(3) organization. More information about Coaching Corps can be found at www.coachingcorps.org.

Facebook: Facebook.com/coachingcorps

Twitter & Instagram: @coachingcorps

About CSN:

CSN Bay Area and CSN California, both part of NBC Sports Regional Networks, serve more than four million households in Northern California, Nevada, Southern Oregon and Hawaii. CSN Bay Area, the television home of MLB’s San Francisco Giants, NBA’s Golden State Warriors, and the official regional sports network of the San Francisco 49ers, also features a robust lineup of Emmy Award-winning news, analysis and original programming. CSN California offers live coverage of MLB’s Oakland Athletics, NBA’s Sacramento Kings, NHL’s San Jose Sharks, MLS’s San Jose Earthquakes and is the official regional sports network of the Oakland Raiders. Collectively, these networks deliver more than 600 live sporting events per year, over 1,500 live studio shows, including SportsNet Central, SportsTalk Live, Pregame Live, Postgame Live, Press Conference Live, as well as compelling digital content, up-to-the-minute scores, highlights and breaking news via www.CSNBayArea.com and www.CSNCalifornia.com.  Follow both networks on social media –Twitter: @CSNAuthentic; Instagram: CSNAuthentic; Snapchat: CSNAuthentic; and Facebook: facebook.com/csnbayarea.

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Media Contact:

Jay dela Cruz, CSN

Krista Washington, Coaching Corps

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Going Above and Beyond the Call of Duty

Benita Vargas-Brown, Volleyball Coach at Hampstead Hill Academy

Benita Vargas-Brown grew up in one of the poorest parts of Baltimore. She always wanted to make a difference in the city, which is why she became a social worker. That same passion eventually led her to coach and mentor kids in sports. Learn more about Benita’s journey in her own words.
How did you become a Coaching Corps coach?
I didn’t go looking for coaching, it found me. I was really stressed with my job and my final semester in undergrad, so my husband said, “You’re really not helping yourself. Why don’t you leave your job, take the semester off, and figure out what you want to do next?” So, I went to a volunteering fair, and that’s when I got to know Coaching Corps. It was destiny: They were looking for a volleyball coach, and I am qualified to coach volleyball. They said they needed a coach for Hampstead Hill Academy, which is literally just a walk away from our home. So, it was really perfect.
Can you tell us more about the challenges that the kids you coach face at school and at home?
When people hear Baltimore, crime and violence are among the usual challenges that come to mind, so it was extra important to keep the kids off the streets. I’ve had to drive some of the girls home so they don’t have to take the bus when it’s dark.
There have also been some differences among the girls. The school is located at Patterson Park, where on one side you have the million-dollar houses, and on the other you have boarded-up houses. So you wind up having kids coming from privileged and underprivileged situations. This created some interesting dynamics within the team that led to some difficult conversations, but we got through it eventually. That’s one of the benefits of team sports. We got this whole learning experience that wound up really positive at the end.
You mentioned something about “interesting team dynamics.” Can you share more about that?
This is actually one of the things I’m proudest [of] about my team. The girls take it upon themselves to address differences within the group. At one point, it became very clear during our practice that something wasn’t right. We were on this championship drive but there was obvious tension within the team. The girls came to me and gathered as a group to talk things through. The fact that they came up with that strategy on their own is really amazing. For me, it meant that we’re doing something right. After that talk, we got back together as a team. I’m so glad we did it because I know for a fact we wouldn’t have won the championship without sorting things out. Everybody makes mistakes. At the end of the day, what’s important is to be there and have each other’s backs.
What changes or improvements did you see in the girls as a result of being on the team?
The most obvious one would be the sense of maturity. To be in a position where you have a responsibility over something, to be able to practice and play, there are expectations. If you didn’t come to practice on Wednesday, you’re not going to play on Thursday: that’s the consequence for skipping practice.  Eventually it wasn’t the consequence that really drove them. It was their commitment.
All my [Coaching Corps] girls who tried out for high school sports made their teams. There are two highly-rated schools in Baltimore, Baltimore Polytechnic institute and Baltimore City College. To get into those schools is every parent’s and kid’s dream. They have great education and high graduation rates, and they don’t tolerate gang-related violence, which creates a safer environment for the kids. Fifteen of the girls from the team got in and played for Poly while 13 went to City. That makes me really happy.
Wow! If there’s one way to describe success and promoting equity, that would be it. With all these experiences, what advice would you give aspiring coaches and mentors for kids?
Show up. You have to be there. You have to be consistent. You can’t cancel on these kids. Over the course of my time, if I know something’s going to come up in my schedule, I plan for an assistant coach to take over. Kids know if you care. You can figure out everything else, there are Youtube videos for that. You just have to show up because these kids expect you to be there for them.
Afterschool Partners


Boys & Girls Club of Central Florida

City of Orlando Athletics

Afterschool Program Partners


JT Dorsey Foundation

Afterschool Program Partners

San Diego

Gompers Preparatory Academy

High Tech High

La Maestra Foundation – Center for Youth Advancement at Generations

The Monarch School

Pro Kids | The First Tee of San Diego

Soccer Kids America

YMCA of San Diego County

Afterschool Program Partners

Los Angeles

A Place Called Home


After School All Stars: Los Angeles

Boys & Girls Club of Venice

Boys & Girls Clubs of Carson

Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Los Angeles

Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica

Boys and Girls Clubs of the LA Harbor

Brotherhood Crusade

City of Huntington Park Department of Parks

East Los Angeles Rising Youth Club

Equitas Academy

Girls on the Run of Los Angeles

Girls Play Los Angeles

ICES Education


L.A.C.E.R. Afterschool Programs

Long Beach Parks, Recreation and Marine

Los Angeles Rec and Parks

Major League Baseball Youth Academy

Norwalk La Mirada Unified

P.F. Bresee Foundation

Sloane Stephens Foundation

Street Soccer USA: Los Angeles

Team Prime Time

Variety Boys & Girls Club

Watts Rams

YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles

Afterschool Program Partners


Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta: Samuel L. Jones Boys & Girls Club
Afterschool Program Partners


All Dorchester Sports and Leadership

Boston Centers for Youth & Families


Cambridge Community Center

East End House

Oak Square YMCA

Sole Train: Boston Runs Together