More than just a coach

Posted: February 27, 2013

Minnehaha coaches devote time to their players, but their day jobs may be surprising

Athletes attend practice every day along with their coaches to work on their skills, but what doesn’t usually come up in practice is what coaches do when they aren’t drawing out plays and preparing the team for upcoming games. From alcohol and drug mental health counselors to job recruiters and to teachers, Minnehaha’s coaches do more than what athletes see.

Not every coach goes to work in the morning, goes to practice and then home. The girls’ hockey coach, Jeff Lanz, works the night shift as an alcohol and drug mental health counselor. Because he works during night a lot of his time is spent doing paper work, but also deals with any crisis situations that may arise.

Lanz decided to coach hockey because of his positive experience with his coaches when he played sports.

“I felt that I was treated well when I was a player so I wanted to give back to kids what I received when I played,” said Lanz. “I love to teach and love to see players improve and the most important thing, that they’re having fun.”

Lanz gets to work with people at both of his jobs, which is something he knew he wanted to do. Lanz uses the skill of listening to clients or players and being able to understand their need. After listening he processes the situation to find a solution or send them in a different direction to find a positive outcome.

“Coach always tells us to keep our heads up and work as hard as we can,” said junior captain Sam Mullinix. “Even when we are playing poorly he reminds us that we have the capability to do great things and he believes in us. He also supports each player’s character. Most coaches just focus on the hockey aspect of each player, but Lanz goes a little farther.”

Girls’ varsity lacrosse coach Todd Wadsworth always knew that he was meant to be a teacher.  Teaching math and philosophy at Hennepin Technical College, Wadsworth enjoys finding ways that he can help his students improve. Once he identifies the issue then he can come up with a way to correct it. He develops ways to successfully teach his students and then watches over them and corrects their mistakes until they master the skill. This not only applies to his teaching job, but also his coaching job.

“Coach Wadsworth never gives up on anyone and he will keep at it until he and the player are satisfied,” said senior Elise Marcotte. “The only time he gets mad at us is when we fail to do what he knows we are capable of, and he constantly reminds us of our strengths and abilities as unique players of the team.”

Not only is Wadsworth a coach and teacher, but he also is a certified clinical hypnotherapist. He got certified 10 years ago so that he would be able to better understand the role that people’s subconscious plays in what they do every day. Wadsworth doesn’t practice hypnotism directly but does use the psychological skills in his teaching and coaching.

“Our subconscious governs most of our actions,” said Wadsworth. “Having an understanding of how [the subconscious] functions helps me guide students past the real obstacles to their learning a sport or math or critical thinking.”

Just like Lanz, one of the reasons Wadsworth enjoys coaching is because when he was an athlete he was able look up to his coaches.

“I am motivated to give back as a coach in gratitude for all the great coaches I had when I was growing up,” said Wadsworth.

The boys’ hockey coach attended Minnehaha, where he played hockey and baseball. After graduating from Minnehaha in ’94 Pat Griswold went on to Augsburg College where he continued to play hockey. Right after graduating from Augsburg Griswold began his recruiting career where he has been for 15 years. He currently works at UnitedHealth Group hiring managers to fill job openings.

Back in high school Griswold wasn’t necessarily thinking about coming back to coach the boys’ hockey team. It wasn’t until later in his life when he stared thinking about it.

“Once I got out of college and started coaching it was always something that I was really interested in doing, coming back and coaching,” Griswold said.

Some of his players believe that his drive to be a successful coach at Minnehaha is because of his connection to the school.

“I believe because he graduated from Minnehaha he has more respect for the team and cares more deeply about than if he was not a MA grad,” said senior Jacob Eggers.

Griswold is not the only Minnehaha alum that has come back to coach. Others include: Scott Glen (’93, baseball), Ben Linder (’94, boys’ soccer), Aaron Tatone (’94, wrestling), Christian Zimmerman (’94, cross-country and track) and Rob Nelson (’95, boys’ golf).

“Being an alum isn’t the number one criteria to being a head coach. So if it comes down to two equal candidates and one is an alum and one is not there is a very good chance we are going to hire the alum,” said Athletic Director Homar Ramirez. “They understand what means to be in the building as a student. [They] tend to be a little bit more excited about the institution and you want that to carry over to the players.”

Although Minnehaha coaches coach different sports, different teams and have different jobs they seem to have one thing in common: they all enjoy their players. Whether it is hockey or lacrosse Minnehaha coaches say they love working with their players to make them the best that they can be.





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