Robinson High School’s Flag Football Coach Josh Saunders exemplifies the merits sought by the Irish 31 World Class Coach Contest. While our coach is a proven winner on the field with a varsity team that has won 4 of the last 5 state championships and a JV team that has not lost a game since March 2011; it is his actions off the field that set him apart. It is the sense of responsibility to the team, to academics, to service and to family that this coach instills and demands of his players that impels this nomination.
While the flag football season is 3 months long, our team plays, bonds, and impacts our school and community 12 months a year—all driven by our coach. He makes sure the team knows grades are important. When a player posts a grade lower than a “B”, Coach makes the entire team run. Suffice it to say, that these players watch their grades and are 4-time Academic State Champions. Coach Saunders 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. His players are leaders in the school and active in every aspect of Robinson High School. He encourages them to be at active in clubs and to attend school events and he expects them to be engaged. As female athletes in a rapidly growing sport, the team has the opportunity to teach and mentor young girls in the sport. Our coach works closely with many local organizations (from the Boys and Girls Clubs to the Bucs) to further the sport. He literally helped write the rules for play and is the only high school representative serving on the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association Rules Committee.
As our players graduate, they are expanding the game to college campuses nationally. In 2018, our players at the University of Florida came to Coach Saunders frustrated by their losing record. Josh volunteered to coach the team—which meant two trips to Gainesville weekly for practice and additional for games. UF won the National Championship with Josh at the helm. His passion and dedication for the game is unparalleled.
For our coach, this is a family affair. His mother is a sponsor of our team. His wife, Erin, washes the team jerseys after every game to ensure none come up missing at game time. She helps plan team bonding events and lends her creativity whenever needed. 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, works two jobs on the side, as a referee and an Uber driver, to make sure he can continue to teach and coach.
Coach Joshua Saunders may not sound like a Celtic name, but he is as IRISH as they come when it comes to your qualifications for World Class Coach.