There’s no question, coaches coach to win. They drive their players to maximize their abilities, push them to do better — and, yes, sometimes yell at them to fix their mistakes. Winning is one of the driving forces behind involvement in sports in general.
As much as this may be true, and much as Newtown High School girls’ lacrosse Coach Maura Fletcher and NHS girls’ soccer Coach Marc Kenney have won (and like to come out on top), it’s not all about victories for them.
Coaches — Fletcher and Kenney certainly are no exception — also do their job to help players develop and improve on and off the field. Their attention to team chemistry, academics, and the many other behind-the-scenes elements of athletics has led them each to a recent win off the playing fields.
Fletcher and Kenney were both recently selected as a Connecticut High School Coaches Association (CHSCA) Coach of the Year for their respective sports. Newtown High Athletic Director Gregg Simon points out that with only one coach per sport chosen, it’s quite an honor and accomplishment to have two coaches picked from one school.
“Marc Kenney and Maura Fletcher are incredibly deserving of this outstanding award. Although both coaches have had a great amount of success on the field, they have never lost sight of the fact that that their student-athletes should strive to excel in the classroom and to give back to the community,” Simon said. “I am very proud to have two coaches win the CHSCA Coach of the Year in the same year.”
Fletcher is in her tenth and final season coaching the high school team. She’s won the South-West Conference championship in each of her first nine campaigns. Kenney, who plans to coach the girls’ booters for his eighth season this fall, has captured a state title and a trio of conference crowns.
But it’s about so much more than those triumphs — as rewarding as they’ve been.
“Without question. It’s about the relationships I’ve been able to make with the players in the program,” Kenney said. “It becomes like a family.”
Kenney said he was pleased to be picked by his peers and athletic directors in the area. As much as the award belongs to Kenney, he says it was earned with a lot of help from his players given their dedication and how hard they’ve worked to succeed.
Kenney also took home the Connecticut State Girls’ Soccer Coaches Association Coach of the Year award in 2012.
“It’s really nice to be recognized,” Fletcher said. “I wouldn’t have won it if it wasn’t for the girls that play for me and played for me in the past.”
Fletcher, like Kenney, says the wins and loses are secondary to other parts of coaching a team.
“I just love working with the girls — looking at how they’ve evolved from the beginning of the season to the end of the season,” she said.