AURORA — CHSAA's Rhonda Blanford-Green and Ernie Derrera addressed a group of more than 800 coaches on Friday morning, and made clear how important their jobs were in the lives of young athletes.
Speaking at the annual Multi-Sport Clinic held by the Colorado High School Coaches Association (CHSCA), Blanford-Green, in her first year as CHSAA commissioner, spoke to the impact coaches have.
"Your voices — your actions, things that you do — make a difference on the grassroots level more than the eight of us that sit in a building (in Aurora)," she said. "We need you. Coaches are the ones that take our message forward. They are the ones that speak to the mission and the vision of the Association. I am just honored to serve as your commissioner. Everyday, you are making a difference."
Blanford-Green reflected on the importance of her own high school coaches when she was a star athlete at Aurora Central.
"They impacted my life, and they make a difference for me, even now, on a personal and professional level," Blanford-Green said.
She spoke about the importance of the relationship between CHSCA and CHSAA — "We are making a concerted effort to expand all the things we've done," she said — and about how coaching today transcends wins and losses.
"We are building lives," Blanford-Green said, "and we are building kids for a lifetime of participation."
Derrera, the assistant commissioner who oversees coaching in the CHSAA office, echoed Blanford-Green's message.
"The people in this room, and your colleagues who aren't here," he said, "you probably have the biggest impact on athletes in students, even when you don't know it."
The CHSCA clinic continues through Saturday with all types of workshops for coaches to attend, and speakers to listen to. This year saw the clinic draw more than 800 coaches, the most in its history.