BALTIMORE, Jan. 8, 2015 — US Lacrosse has named seven winners of its 2014 Youth Awards, recognizing outstanding contributors to youth lacrosse from around the country. The winners will be officially honored at the US Lacrosse National Convention in Baltimore, January 23-25.
The complete listing of awards and honorees are as follows:
Outstanding Contribution to the Game: U15 and Under
Kate Roper – Woodinville, Washington
This honor is given to a US Lacrosse member who is a long-standing contributor to the youth game and makes a lasting impact by supporting the US Lacrosse mission and vision. Roper has been president of the Washington Schoolgirls’ Lacrosse Association for the past five years, during which time lacrosse has enjoyed a double-digit annual growth rate in the state of Washington. One nomination letter described her as “the driving force” behind the sport’s growth in Washington, while another stated that she has “successfully shepherded the growth of lacrosse by always keeping the big picture in mind.”
Girls’ Youth Coach of the Year
Michael Sanchez – Rocky Point, N.Y.
This award is given to an outstanding youth girls’ coach who embodies the characteristics of an ideal coach by supporting the US Lacrosse mission and vision, dedicating him or herself to his or her players, and providing the best possible lacrosse experience for everyone involved. Sanchez serves as a coach with Rocky Point Girls’ Youth Lacrosse. One of the nomination letters submitted on his behalf, from parents, stated, “we have never met a more dedicated, caring and selfless man. The amount of time he puts into the girls’ lacrosse program is remarkable.”
Boys’ Youth Coach of the Year
Kevin Morrison – Eagan, Minnesota
Similar to the girls’ award, this honor is given to an outstanding youth boys’ coach who embodies the characteristics of an ideal coach by supporting the US Lacrosse mission and vision, dedicating himself to his players and providing the best possible lacrosse experience for everyone involved. Now serving as an assistant coach for Eastview High School, Morrison spent three years previously as a member of the Eastview Athletic Association lacrosse board and as Eastview’s boys’ youth coordinator. One mother of a team member said, “Kevin consistently dedicates himself to his team and the sport. Through his remarkable philosophy, involvement, leadership and accomplishments, he is the perfect candidate for coach of the year.”
Program Administrator of the Year
William “Bill” Karn – Richmond, Virginia
This award is given to an outstanding administrator who runs a league or program of excellence that upholds the mission and vision of US Lacrosse. Bill has been a member of the Hanover (Va.) Lacrosse Club board of directors for five years, and served as club president for the past three years. During that time, he also committed the time to become a US Lacrosse Level III certified women’s coach. In addition, when some parents urged the club to adopt a “try-out” philosophy to remove weaker players, Karn fought to maintain an open policy. One of his colleagues says, “Bill was unwavering on the club’s policy that all children, regardless of their skill level, can play. This was a true testament to his devotion to exposing everyone to lacrosse.”
Outstanding Youth Official
Edith Harris – Seattle, Washington
This award is given to an exemplary member of the “third team on the field” who embodies the characteristics of an ideal role model, teacher and mentor, supporting the US Lacrosse mission and vision and seeking to maintain a high quality of experience on the field for all. The executive director of the Washington Schoolgirls’ Lacrosse Association offered these comments of support for Harris. “Edith has been the main driver behind the development of our very strong corps of youth officials. From recruiting to rating to mentoring during the season, Edith is always there to support and educate and help these officials to become the best they can be.”
Excellence in Growing the Game
Doug Mills – New Orleans, Louisiana
This award is given to an individual who supports the US Lacrosse mission and vision by working effectively and tirelessly to develop lacrosse in a geographic area. As founder of Carrollton Lacrosse, Mills has helped the club grow dramatically during its four years. One parent writes, “Doug had a vision for lacrosse in New Orleans and dove in headfirst.” Another member of the local lacrosse community says, “A major attribute of Coach Mills is his selflessness in his coaching. He turns away no one who is interested in learning and playing lacrosse. Often at his own expense, he does what is needed to keep the game alive and growing.”
One for All
Izak Tibbetts – Montville, Connecticut
This award is given to a young man who has given unselfishly of his time and talent to help grow and build lacrosse awareness. He or she is typically a person who has volunteered time, while balancing a busy schedule, to mentor others and give back to the sport. As a high school student, Tibbetts worked tirelessly to start a youth lacrosse program in the Town of Montville and a team at Montville High School. As a senior captain on the first year high school team, Tibbetts is credited by his coach as being “instrumental” in the program’s development. “Having him as a resource to help build the team from scratch was invaluable. We relied on Izak throughout our inaugural season to help us educate and lead our team of mostly novice players.”
US Lacrosse will begin accepting applications for the 2015 Youth Awards in February. For more information about the Youth Awards, please visit uslacrosse.org/YouthAwards.
About US Lacrosse
US Lacrosse, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, is the national governing body of men’s and women’s lacrosse and the home of the nation’s fastest-growing sport. US Lacrosse has more than 430,000 members in 68 regional chapters across the country. Through responsive and effective leadership, US Lacrosse provides programs and services to inspire participation while protecting the integrity of the sport. Bookmark, like and follow US Lacrosse at uslacrosse.org, fb.com/uslacrosse and @uslacrosse, respectively.
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