Bay Area professional athletes gathered at the Coaching Corps Annual Game Changer Awards to honor impactful coaches who helped them reach their full potential.
Ron Wotus, three-time World Series Champion coach of the San Francisco Giants awarded his high school soccer coach, John McKiernan, and thanked him for instilling life lessons about values, character, and sportsmanship, beyond the game.
Golden State Warriors power forward Eric Paschall honored Jay Wright, the head men’s basketball coach of Villanova University and six-time Big East coach of the year. Paschall thanked Coach Wright for showing him how to make it in the NBA, and for teaching him how to do things the right way. Coach Wright joined via satellite and spoke of the honor to work with young athletes and help shape their futures.
Darren Waller, a tight end for the Raiders, honored Raiders tight ends coach Frank Smith for his dedication to push him to be his best self. Smith credits working with Waller and watching him grow as a man as one of the greatest accomplishments of his career.
Arik Armstead of the San Francisco 49ers awarded Joe Cattolico, his high school football coach as the coach he loved to play for, and never wanted to disappoint, because of Cattolico’s belief in him.
Stephen Piscotty, an outfielder for the Oakland Athletics honored his father, Michael Piscotty as his hero for both being the coach of his youth teams, and for coaching their family through the illness of Stephen’s mother, Gretchen.
Coaching Corps was honored to present this year’s Coach of the Year Award to San Diego based Mackenzie O’Connell, a veteran volleyball coach. Mackenzie was selected from the thousands of Coaching Corps volunteers across the country because of her passion, dedication, and ability to make a positive impact in the lives of her players – Mackenzie has never hesitated to support them with challenges they face both on and off the court. For three years and counting, she’s come back to be there for them, season after season. Mackenzie was presented the Coach of the Year award from one of her youth athletes, SoSo, who shared how Mackenzie has helped her face bullying issues in school, while also perfecting her overhand serve in volleyball.
Mackenzie has fostered such a community within her team that SoSo even announced that she would like to be Mackenzie’s bridesmaid!
Coaching Corps is grateful to the presenters, honorees, sponsors, and so many others for supporting this year’s awards and shining a light on the importance of giving all youth, regardless of their circumstances, access to the caring sports mentors they want and deserve.