Rugby News & Views From an American Perspective
Rugby coaches, Greg Mininger and Brian Boyle, from the Northeast Raiders RFC in Pennsylvania have been awarded the prestigious “Double-Goal Coach Award,” presented by Liberty Mutual Insurance and the Positive Coaching Alliance.
The Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) is transforming youth sports so sports can transform youth. Through partnership with more than 1,100 youth sports organizations, leagues, schools and cities nationwide, PCA has conducted 6,000-plus workshops for youth sports coaches, parents, organizational leaders and athletes.
Since Executive Director Jim Thompson founded PCA as a non-profit within the Stanford University Athletic Department in 1998, they have helped create a positive, character-building youth sports environment for more than 3 million youth athletes.
One of the PCA’s goals is to develope “Double goal” coaches who strive to balance winning with teaching life lessons to their players through sports.
The PCA gains support from elite coaches and athletes, including Los Angeles Lakers Head Coach Phil Jackson as PCA National Spokesperson. Our National Advisory Board comprises such leaders as NBA and NCAA Champion Coach Larry Brown, former senator Bill Bradley, NFL Hall of Fame Member Ronnie Lott, Olympic Gold Medalist swimmer Summer Sanders, Olympic Gold Medal gymnasts Bart Conner and Nadia Comaneci, University of North Carolina Men’s Basketball Retired Head Coach Dean Smith, Cy Young Award winner Barry Zito, and Kansas City Chiefs Head Coach Herm Edwards.
“Brian and Greg win on the scoreboard, and more importantly, they win by creating a positive, character-building sports experience for youth athletes,” said Jim Thompson, PCA’s founder and executive director and author of several books on youth and high school sport coaching and sports parenting.
“Ultimately, the youth athletes Brian and Greg coach are the real winners, and as those athletes become tomorrow’s leaders, our society as a whole wins.”
Nomination letters for the coaching duo of Boyle and Mininger explained that they have provided an alternative to the streets for hundreds of youth in Northeast Philadelphia, first as coaches at Ryan High School and then through establishment of Northeast Raiders RFC, a club for players age 18 and under that competes in the Eastern Pennsylvania Rugby Union.
“Throughout the years,” one parent wrote, “several boys have come from dysfunctional, abusive and single-parent families where the parents are not involved with the boys. Greg and Brian have counseled several boys on how to deal with and work through their off-the-field situations.”
“These boys have become a family,” wrote another player’s parent in a nominating letter. “They look out for each other, they conduct themselves as gentlemen, and this is the direct result of the life lessons taught by these two men…This type of confidence builds character and self-worth, which is so important in this tough world we live in today.”
In addition to preparing players for competition, Boyle and Mininger require all players to participate in community service projects, such as picking up trash, painting buildings and maintaining fields at Palmer Playground, which serves as the team’s home. “We try to teach players more than rugby,” Boyle said. “We try to teach them life lessons, responsibility and how to follow through on what you say you’re going to do.”
Added Mininger: “We try to give players ownership of the team. If they feel like they’re not getting talked at, but talked with, then they buy in, and we have more success as a club.”
Congratulations to the 20 Winners of the 2011 PCA Double-Goal Coach Awards Presented by Liberty Mutual Insurance