We'd like to give a shout out to Squadlocker Coach of the year Finalist, Dan Duest - Coach in Hopedale, MA
Considered Submission for Coach duest:
"There's many things I can say about this coach. I think the one that I will start off with is the fact that he is not a regular coach. He is someone who really cares about you and your teammates. In his head, it’s not about winning, it’s about getting better.
"He has many quotes that he will say to us. My favorite one is 'Winning is not quitting' there are many, another good one is: 'if you are not making someone else’s life better, you're wasting your time'.
"He not only gives me and my fellow teammates sports knowledge, but he teaches us respect, discipline, and dedication, he teaches us how to be brothers and sisters on and off the mat. He is the type of guy that will start the first Special Olympics wrestling team in the country, he doesn’t care about having his face in the papers, he cares about the kids. He may work us hard, and he may yell at us like there is not tomorrow, but he cares about his team so much he gives up going to his sons JV basket ball games, just to let us practice.
"Wrestling is not as popular as football or as soccer, or basketball, and some people just think of it as two people in spandex hugging each other till one is on there back, but it’s not. Wrestling is not seen as a team sport, and to be honest some people don’t see it that way... I can tell you right now, I joined an off season team, when my main season ended and I went to practice for 1 day, just 1, and my teammates dad asked me how I liked it, my immediate answer was 'They are a team, Milford is a family'.
"My dad has told me in all of his years of watching and playing sports, 'He is the best coach I’ll ever see in my lifetime'. I can remember when I started wrestling in 2nd grade and Coach Dan freaked me out, I didn’t know what to think of him, and now, I’m in 7th grade and my mind is blown. On the mat, he is my coach, my mentor, my idol. Off the mat, nothing changes. We go to tournaments and he gives us a speech about what we as a team need to do that day, it’s amazing what we do. 'We go in there and invade, we are like Vikings, when we enter our battles location, we burn the boats, so there is not way of going back'. We don’t give up. After the team is done wrestling we get another speech, but a different one. The type of speech where the coach comes screaming into the locker room and yells 'We invaded!'
"This coach I will never forget. He is not just a coach, he is more. He will end up going to my high school graduation, if I ever make it to Big Ten he will be there. He will be at my college graduation, and at my wedding. He is more than a coach, he means so much more than a coach. Just ask any of my fellow teammates. You’ll get the same answer, just summed up. Dan Duest is is someone that I will call when I make the junior varsity team, when I make the varsity team, when I get accepted to to college with a full ride scholarship because of wrestling. Although there is going to be many nominations through out this whole contest, this coach should get it. Not just because he’s my coach, but he is Dan Duest, the one and only, and you can’t replace him."