AIA News

Hamilton’s Kanner named NFHS Boys Golf National Coach of the Year for 2019-20

(Indianapolis, IN)  Twenty-three high school coaches from across the country have been selected as 2020 National Coaches of the Year by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Coaches Association.

Hamilton’s Steve Kanner earned Boys Golf National Coach of the Year honors after guiding his team to the 2019-20 AIA Division I State Championship. At the time it was his sixth state title as the Huskies’ coach, and he followed that up with his seventh crown this past fall.

Arizona was also well represented regionally, as St. Michael’s Carl Adams (girls basketball), Gilbert Christian’s Jay Feely (girls soccer), Flagstaff’s Trina Painter (girls cross country) and Xavier Prep’s Monica Gaspar (Spiritline) all took home Section 7 honors. These four ended up as finalists for the National Coach of the Year award in their respective sports. Section 7 comprises the states of Arizona, Nevada, Utah, California and Hawaii.

The NFHS, which has been recognizing coaches through an awards program since 1982, honors coaches in the top 10 girls sports and top 10 boys sports (by participation numbers), and in two “other” sports – one for boys and one for girls – that are not included in the top 10 listings. The NFHS also recognizes a spirit coach as a separate award category. Winners of NFHS awards must be active coaches during the year for which they receive their award. This year’s awards recognize coaches for the 2019-20 school year.

Other recipients of this year’s national awards for boys sports are: Ron Murphy, baseball, Rio Rancho  (New Mexico) High School; Jerry Petitgoue, basketball, Cuba City (Wisconsin) High School; Kevin Ryan, cross country, Bellingham (Washington) Sehome High School; Gerry Pannoni, football, Lorton (Virginia) South County High School; David Halligan, soccer, Falmouth (Maine) High School; Douglas Krecklow, swimming and diving, Omaha (Nebraska) Westside High School; Douglas Chapman, tennis, Somerset (Massachusetts) Berkley Regional High School; Robert Palazzo, track and field, Providence (Rhode Island) Classical High School; Douglas Hislop, wrestling, Imbler (Oregon) High School.

The recipients of the 2020 NFHS national awards for girls sports are: Michael Rose, swimming and diving, Brookfield (Wisconsin) East High School; Judith Hehs, tennis, Wixom (Michigan) St. Catherine of Siena Academy; Willie Smith, track and field, Beachwood (Ohio) High School; Kevin Bordewick, volleyball, Topeka (Kansas) Washburn Rural High School; Donna Moir, basketball, Louisville (Kentucky) Sacred Heart Academy; William Clifton, cross country, Middletown (New Jersey) South High School; Carol Fromuth, golf, St. Louis (Missouri) St. Joseph’s Academy; Tim Carey, lacrosse, Fresno (California) Hoover High School; Stephen Estelle, soccer, Huntington (Massachusetts) Gateway Regional High School; Mary Truesdale, softball, Sacramento (California) Sheldon High School.

The recipient of the National Coach of the Year Award for spirit is Anne Ellettof Gresham (Oregon) Centennial High School. Michael Bowler, a lacrosse coach at Rocky Point (New York) High School, was chosen in the “other” category for boys sports, and Mary Beth Bourgoin, a field hockey coach at Winslow (Maine) High School, was chosen in the “other” category for girls sports.

The NFHS has a contact in each state who is responsible for selecting deserving coach award recipients. This person often works with the state coaches’ association in his or her respective state. He or she contacts the potential state award recipients to complete a coach profile form that requests information regarding the coach’s record, membership in and affiliation with coaching and other professional organizations, involvement with other school and community activities and programs, and coaching philosophy. To be approved as an award recipient and considered for sectional and national coach of the year consideration, this profile form must be completed by the coach or designee and then approved by the executive director (or designee) of the state athletic/activities association.

The next award level after state coach of the year is sectional coach of the year. The NFHS is divided into eight geographical sections. They are as follows: Section 1 – Northeast (CT, ME, MA, NH, NJ, NY, RI, VT); Section 2 – Mideast (DE, DC, KY, MD, OH, PA, VA, WV); Section 3 – South (AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN); Section 4 – Central (IL, IN, IA, MI, WI); Section 5 – Midwest (KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD); Section 6 – Southwest (AR, CO, NM, OK, TX); Section 7 – West (AZ, CA, HI, NV, UT); and Section 8 – Northwest (AK, ID, MT, OR, WA, WY).

The NFHS Coaches Association has an advisory committee composed of a chair and eight sectional representatives. The sectional committee representatives evaluate the state award recipients from the states in their respective sections and select the best candidates for the sectional award in each sport category. The NFHS Coaches Association Advisory Committee then considers the sectional candidates in each sport, ranks them according to a point system, and determines a national winner for each of the 20 sport categories, the spirit category and two “other” categories.

A total of 707 coaches will be recognized this year with state, sectional and national awards. For a complete list of coaches click here.

This press release was written by Abby Toppe, Coordinator of Educational Services with the NFHS who works with the NFHS Coaches Association and the NFHS Coach Education Program.


About the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS)

The NFHS, based in Indianapolis, Indiana, is the national leadership organization for high school sports and performing arts activities. Since 1920, the NFHS has led the development of education-based interscholastic sports and performing arts activities that help students succeed in their lives. The NFHS sets direction for the future by building awareness and support, improving the participation experience, establishing consistent standards and rules for competition, and helping those who oversee high school sports and activities. The NFHS writes playing rules for 17 sports for boys and girls at the high school level. Through its 50 member state associations and the District of Columbia, the NFHS reaches more than 19,000 high schools and 11 million participants in high school activity programs, including more than 7.9 million in high school sports. As the recognized national authority on interscholastic activity programs, the NFHS conducts national meetings; sanctions interstate events; offers online publications and services for high school coaches and officials; sponsors professional organizations for high school coaches, officials, speech and debate coaches, and music adjudicators; serves as the national source for interscholastic coach training; and serves as a national information resource of interscholastic athletics and activities. For more information, visit the NFHS website at

Press Release courtesy of the AIA – Seth Polansky

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