Lovell High School volleyball coach Stormy Jameson and golf coach Devon Parks were each named “Coach of the Year” for their sport, by the Wyoming Coaches Association this week. This is Jameson’s third year of coaching the volleyball team. For Parks, it was his first experience coaching a golf team.
After coaching her team to a state championship this year and a second-place finish at the state tournament the previous year, it came as no surprise that her peers in the WCA honored Jameson.
“She’s done a very good job in her third year of the program,” said LHS athletic director Joe Koritnik. “At the recent awards banquet she gave a lot of credit to the players for being determined not to lose, but I think it’s also fair to give her credit for coaching them. She got them prepared by drilling the fundamentals, and when it came down to it they played hard, but they demonstrated good skills to go with that determination.”
Koritnik cited the team’s setter Megan McClure’s progress as a “perfect example” of the result of spending a fair amount of time coaching an individual player to excellence.
“She is a very deserving young coach and to see her get this kind of recognition is really great,” said Koritnik. “As far as coaches go, she has a great rapport with the kids. They like her and they respect her. She pushes them hard to improve but she does a good job of making it fun for them, too.”
“It’s only her third year,” added LHS principal Scott O’Tremba, “and already she has taken the team to first and second at State. It doesn’t seem like anything gets her down. She’s always positive and it helps the kids stay positive, too.”
“Part of being an effective coach is having a team that is willing to be coachable and buy into the things that you’re instructing them to do,” said Jameson. “Our job as coaches is to help each athlete and our team reach their highest potential and that’s exactly what happened this year. I’ve been blessed with good girls to coach over the past three years on the varsity team, which has made my job not only easier but much more enjoyable, too.”
Often the “Coach of the Year” honor goes to the coach who brought his team to a state title, so it came as quite a surprise to Parks when he was chosen for the honor by his fellow coaches in the association. Although not a first-place win, Parks took his young team to a respectable second-place finish at the state tournament in Lovell.
“I was very surprised,” said Parks. “Since I’m still learning how to coach golf, I wasn’t expecting to be nominated for this at all.”
“When we looked to a coach to fill the position, Devon stood out for his work ethic and organizational skills,” Koritnik said. “Although he didn’t have a lot of golfing experience, he embraced the sport and quickly learned everything he could about it. He has a great rapport with the kids and was really good at getting them out there to work on their skills.”
Parks said he has always been a “recreational” golfer with virtually no experience competing in the sport.
“I know the game, the rules, course management and all that,” explained Parks. “I’ve just never taught it or coached it before. I was lucky this first year to come into a talented group, and the fact that they did well I attribute to them.”
Parks said he called on his skills as a math teacher to break things down “by the numbers” and to get the young golfers to “buy into it.”
“Golf is a very mental game,” said Parks. “I would say 95 percent of the game is mental. In that respect, it’s different than other sports; where you react in other sports you have time to think in golf. In this sport, you have to prepare mentally and you must be mentally tough or this is not a good sport for you.”
Parks said he placed a lot of emphasis on the mental aspect and worked with each golfer individually around their particular swing.
“Golf is a very individual game and I tried to work on that individual aspect of the game with each member. Each golfer has a different swing and different approaches are appropriate for different golfers,” said Parks. “I tried to get them to relax and keep the anxiety level down.”
“Devon is a good role model for the kids,” said O’Tremba. “He is really enthusiastic and that rubs off on the kids and helps them with their program.”
By Patti Carpenter