For more than two decades Chad Rollins has been impacting young lives as a beloved volunteer coach through the Jupiter-Tequesta Athletic Association in Florida.
Big hearted and humble, with an endless supply of energy and enthusiasm for kids, his days are packed with coaching youth football, junior varsity girls basketball and track and field. Plus, this dad of three somehow finds time to volunteer to coach young athletes in the Special Olympics, too.
It’s all these qualities – and many more – that earned Rollins the prestigious Volunteer Coach of the Year award, annually presented by the National Alliance for Youth Sports.
“Just seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces and seeing them having fun, that’s what it’s all about,” Rollins said.
Rollins was selected among hundreds of nominations submitted from recreation agencies nationwide and U.S. military bases worldwide. Judging is based on how the nominee upholds the NAYS Code of Ethics for Coaches, which includes placing the emotional and physical well-being of players ahead of a personal desire to win; treating each player as an individual and understanding the range of emotional and physical development for the same age group; and doing his/her best to provide a safe playing situation for all players; among many other key areas.
“With the Jupiter Mustangs, we’re focusing on learning the game and also having fun playing the game,” Rollins says. “Once you have a kid who’s having fun at a young age they will grow up and love sports so that’s my biggest accomplishment is making sure the kids love the sport and also learn the sport that we are teaching them.”
One of Rollins’ biggest attributes is his unwavering focus on having fun. When he steps on a field, court, or track, he always brings a big smile and genuine passion – and his young athletes latch onto his energy and are excited to compete.
“When I start at the beginning of the year I don’t care how old they are, I like to have fun coaching them,” he says. “I think if kids see their coaches having fun they will follow in their footsteps, and they’ll do the same and have fun.”
Parents love having their young athletes learn from Rollins, too. And while he works with youth – encouraging, motivating, and inspiring them – he never seeks out attention for his efforts. He’s all about the kids – all the time.
Rollins was nominated for the award by Brad Caldwell, President of Jupiter Mustangs Tackle Football and Cheer.
“Chad coaches my son in two different sports, and I’ve coached football with him for a couple years,” Caldwell said. “For the basketball league there’s 8 to 10 kids and he runs around a couple different towns to pick them up. Most of them have broken homes, and he always puts these kids first. One day, Chad asked if I could step in and coach basketball because he was going to be about 15 minutes late. I was curious why he was going to be late because he’s never late – and it was because he was with the Special Olympics that day, which is one of his big passions. I never knew that he did the Special Olympics on top of coaching high school and all of the youth sports here at JTAA.”
Rollins is well-known throughout the Jupiter community for his strong commitment for helping all the kids on his teams become not only better players but – more importantly – better people. While players are stretching at the start of his youth football practices he can be seen weaving all over the field, talking and fist-bumping and high-fiving every single young athlete.
With Rollins’ engaging personality and kids-first focus, it’s easy to see why he is a wonderful mentor for new coaches coming into the JTAA program. And a terrific source for long-time coaches as well.
“I am the coaching liaison here for this program so when first-year coaches come to our program I try to tell those coaches to make sure it’s all about the kids, because if it’s not all about the kids then you’re in the wrong profession,” Rollins says. “You have to do it from the heart.”
That’s exactly how Rollins has been coaching kids and changing lives season after season. And he’s genuinely touched when he hears from former players who share how much he has meant to them in their lives.
“One kid must have had to do a school project on somebody that they admire, and he wrote about me,” Rollins said. “So, I had tears in my eyes. He was like ‘when I was 5 Coach Chad helped me do this and helped me do that.' So that’s what it’s all about right there.”Coach of the Year Coaching Volunteer Fun Leadership Role Model
National Alliance for Youth Sports, Inc
5670 Corporate Way
West Palm Beach, FL 33407
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