Coaches – Westshore Cheers Check Presentation

As our Inaugural Cheers to PUBLic Service – Coaches Cycle comes to a close, we would like to take a moment to thank all 80 coaches that were nominated for these awards. Your stories are touching, encouraging, and honest representations of the heart and soul it takes to be a youth coach, and we are truly blessed to have so many legendary leaders coaching our kids throughout Hillsborough and Pasco County – Thank you for all that you do for our youth, and the community!

Although incredibly difficult, alongside our Pillar Partners, we have selected twenty stand-out coaches that will receive $1000 each as winners of our Cheers to PUBlic Service awards! CONGRATULATIONS, WINNERS!

In addition to $1,000 each, our partners at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers invited all of our coaches along with their guests to enjoy the Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Atlanta Falcons game on December 30th, 2018 and Ed Morse Cadillac of Brandon chose four winners to enjoy a Weekend Excursion in a brand new Cadillac Escalade! Huge thanks to all of our Pillar Partners who make this program possible: DeBartolo Family Foundation, The Junior League of Tampa, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Ed Morse Cadillac of Brandon, and The Outback Bowl. We couldn’t do it without you!

Please read on to learn a little more about our 2018 Westshore winners:
JERRY MARSH – Special Olympics of Pasco County

It’s coaches like Jerry Marsh, and stories like this one, that make us so grateful for the opportunity to recognize and celebrate these pillars of our community through the Cheers to PUBlic Service program.  Coach Marsh coaches for Special Olympics of Pasco County and shares this incredible story as the ‘why’ he loves coaching:  “This past summer, I was able to work with both youth and adults through Special Olympics of Pasco as a Stand Up Paddle Board (SUP) coach. One of the athletes I coach is intellectually disabled and blind and is also one of the best paddlers on our team. The fact that this athlete is blind does not stop him from being a fierce competitor. He shows no fear on the water and puts all of his trust in me as a coach, which is very humbling. I always have to be within earshot of this athlete and run the races he competes in with him. I have worked out verbal commands and paddling techniques with him during practices and we have gotten pretty good at operating in traffic among other SUP athletes when competing. It blows me away the bond we have developed through this experience. There has never been any coaching experience that has emphasized the deep and committed connection between a coach and an athlete like this one. I look forward to this upcoming summer season of SUP competition and hope to make it to the state competition with this amazing athlete.”

While on active duty in the U.S. Air Force stationed at Comiso Air Station in Sicily, Coach Marsh was inspired to work with youth.  His last year on station, Air Force personnel were permitted to bring their families to the once remote location with the completion of base housing. As a Security Police sergeant he noticed that many of the teens started finding their way into trouble on the station due to boredom, so he began hanging out at the recreation center on Friday nights with a few other Security Policeman and got the youth involved in basketball, volleyball, weight lifting, and racquetball. It wasn’t long before the on-duty Air Force Firefighters got involved as well.  This rewarding experience eventually led Coach Marsh to a career path in education.  He separated from Active Duty in the United States Air Force, went directly into the Air Force Reserves at Mac Dill AFB, and began working on his education degree at the University of South Florida, Tampa.  He has since earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in education and has been teaching and coaching disabled and non-disabled youth and adults for 26 years in the Tampa Bay Area.

When asked what he planned to do with the $1,000, Coach Marsh told us he looks to ‘share the love’ in three very touching ways:  (1) Some bean bag chairs for the students in his wife’s classroom.  “Receiving this honor as a Cheers Coach was kept a secret from me and was a total surprise.  I want to give back to the students in my wife’s 5th grade class at Longleaf Elementary School that helped me win.”  (2) A bike for one of his students that is a Special Olympian.  “I have a student that I have worked with for the past four years that has really come a long way with cycling. I have seen him go from beginning cycling with training wheels to flying at top speed on a 20” BMX bike. I want to get a 24” multispeed bike for this student to train and compete with for the upcoming Special Olympics season. It is my hope he will make it to the Special Olympics State Games for cycling in Orlando this year.” (3)  A down payment for a used truck for his son. “Unfortunately, his vehicle of the past 3 years kicked the bucket and he is in desperate need of transportation to get him back and forth from home to USF in Tampa while he works on completing his degree in Broadcast Journalism. I spent many years coaching during my son’s athletic endeavors and it is my hope that he’ll be just as motivated to work hard at his future journalism career as he did while playing football.”

Thank you, Coach Marsh – For warming our hearts and inspiring so many.  You truly are a force for good in the lives of your athletes, your family, and your community, and we are so lucky to know you!
JOSHUA SAUNDERS – Flag Football Coach Robinson High School

When it comes to Coach Joshua Saunders and the Robinson High School flag football team, every aspect of his championship program is a family affair.  Joshua Saunders’ love for sports led him to take his first assistant coaching job at Armwood High School in 1999, and now, twenty years later, his passion, desire, and commitment to his team has built a legacy at Robinson High.

Coach Saunders’ sense of responsibility to his team, to academics, to service and to family is what drives his coaching style and inspires his players. While the flag football season is only 3 months long, his team plays, bonds, and impacts their school and community year-round, all driven by Coach Saunders. He makes sure the team knows grades are important, he encourages the players to participate in multiple sports and spends countless hours rearranging practice schedules to accommodate conflicting schedules because he knows that playing multiple sports makes his players better, and he encourages them to be active in clubs and to attend school events.  As a direct result, his players are leaders in the school and active in every aspect of Robinson High School.
When asked if there is one story from coaching that sticks out as a great representation of why he loves what he does, Coach Saunders shared the following: “High school flag football is not a mainstream sport. Most of our players have a “main” sport but they all manage to be committed to the program and they stay that way. Just last week we had our 4th annual Alumni game. We had 22 alumni come back to play in a game with each other and our current teams. We had players from graduating class of 2008 playing with people graduating in 2021. Not only do they come back, but many of their parents came back as well. Our players, coaches, and parents have created a real “family” within our program. Even with winning four state championships, that day may be my favorite because it shows what Robinson Flag Football has meant to these players.”
Coach Saunders’ passion and dedication for the game is unparalleled, and while he sees a “family” within the flag football program, it’s his family and their involvement in the team that speaks volumes to his players and their parents:  “His mother is a team sponsor.  His wife, Erin, washes the team jerseys after every game to ensure none come up missing at game time, and she helps plan team bonding events lending her creativity whenever needed.  And his adorable 7 yr. old son, Kallen, has no interest in Robinson flag, but he is out there rooting for his dad. To top it off, this is a family of educators. Josh and his wife are teachers.  So, our coach who eats, sleeps and breaths flag football, also works two jobs on the side, as a referee and an Uber driver, to make sure he can continue to teach and coach.”
Coach Saunders plans to do two things with the $1,000 award:  (1) Take the coaches out to a nice dinner before the season starts because “none of what happens in our program happens without the commitment of our coaches, and most importantly, (2) Whatever his wife wants to do with it.  “I am able to do NONE of what I do without her support of the time I spend with the team. It would be impossible to show enough how appreciated she is so hopefully this will help.”
Thank you, Coach Saunders – For being the driving force in these young women’s lives, an extraordinary example both on and off the field, and the center of one big family of true champions.
JOEY JAIME – Football Coach Leto High School
The coaches that Coach Joey Jaime had growing up not only helped shape the man he is today, but also inspired him to coach football and mentor other young adults at both the high school and collegiate level.  As Head Football Coach at Leto High School, Coach Jaime tells us that the best part of coaching is seeing his kids walk across the stage, shake their principal’s hand, and receive their diploma.  Although he recognizes that it’s not easy being a player at Leto, he is infinitely proud of his boys, and grateful for their willingness to go 100 miles an hour for him every day without question.
Coach Jaime’s goal for his kids is for them to be the best people they can be when they leave his program.  He grew up watching his coaches teach in the classroom and shine as fathers outside of school and thought it was an amazing sight.  He wants his kids to be the best father, son, employee, human that they can be, using what football has taught them to be the best at whatever their future holds.  Coach Jaime believes that football is the ultimate team sport and teaches you a vast majority of life lessons that mold boys into men.
When asked what he planned to do with the $1,000, without hesitation Coach Jaime said he plans to use it towards his players.  “Whether it’s new football pants, workout gear, etc it’s for them. They put in the hard work day in and day out.  I love my boys! They are the reason I’m a coach.”
Thank you, Coach Jaime – for your commitment to these boys, and your passion for the game!
Coach Jaime also won a weekend excursion in a brand new Cadillac Escalade courtesy of Ed Morse Cadillac of Brandon!
TODD BARRERA – Football Coach East Bay Buccaneers
Coach Todd Barrera was inspired by those that coached him from a very young age.  “Growing up without a father and not having any male figure in my entire family was hard, and my mother identified that I needed that male figure in my life. She signed me up for football and I immediately took a love to the sport. I was given that structure and hard love/discipline that I needed. My coaches had a huge impact on my life and steered me down the right path. Both my mother and coaches played a huge part in the type of man I am today, and I want to do the same for anyone that I can have a positive effect on. I am always there for my athletes mentally, emotionally, and physically. I use my distressed past as a child to inspire others that there is hope and to show that I am living proof. I want to assist in helping pave a glide-path where they will succeed.”
Now in his twelfth year of coaching football, Coach Barrera shares one story that sticks out as a great representation of why he loves coaching:  “I teach my boys that they are part of a brotherhood, a family outside of the home. They will get mad at each other, grow tired of each other, yell, and sometimes fight with each other, but no matter what happens, they are family and need to resolve all issues with each other….face to face and on their own. I had an issue where I had to get involved and send both boys to run to the wall and hash things out before they got back. It worked out, and all was well. Fast-forward a couple of months later, and some bickering was going on between two different boys.  Before it got too heated, I began to walk over and see what the issue was, and as I was walking in their direction, the team as a whole told the two boys to go run to the wall and work it out before they got back.  Both boys took off running. I smiled and turned around and went back to my drills.”
When asked what Coach Barrera plans to do with the $1,000, it was no surprise that he planned to use it to throw a team party at Skyzone.  “This will be the last time we are together as a team until July 2019.  I want them to have fun and let loose; no whistles, no drills, no hitting, no structure.  Just be boys and be free!”
Thank you, Coach Barrera – For giving these boys a positive male role model, a support system, and maybe most importantly, a friend that recognizes when it’s time to ‘let boys be boys.’
KATE MORANVILLE – Bowling Coach Pepin Academies
Coach Moranville is one of the best coaches that I have had the pleasure of meeting. She welcomes any athlete with open arms and is willing to help them when the bowler ask for it. She motivates every athlete to try their best and never give up on themselves.
Thank you for being legendary, Coach Moranville!
Congratulations, Winners!  You truly embody the I.R.I.S.H. that we feel define the best of the best, and we hope you spend this prize on whatever brings you joy!