For more than three decades countless young softball players in Moberly, Missouri have been treated to life-changing experiences while playing for beloved volunteer coach Tim Price.
A valued National Alliance for Youth Sports Member Coach since 2000, and a long-time coach at the Moberly Parks and Recreation Department and Glory Softball, Price exemplifies what coaching kids is all about.
He is this year’s recipient of the prestigious NAYS Volunteer Coach of the Year award, as he was chosen among hundreds of nominations received nationwide. Judging is based on how nominees uphold the NAYS Coaches’ Code of Ethics, which stress placing the emotional and physical well-being of players ahead of a personal desire to win; doing their best to provide a safe playing situation for all players; and leading by example in demonstrating fair play and sportsmanship, among others.
“My philosophy has been to treat every child on your team as if they are your child and to treat every parent as if they are your family,” he says. “And you find out that you look at things a little differently when you center yourself around that.”
Big-hearted and humble, he's well-known throughout the community for his unwavering commitment for helping all the kids on his team become better players in all aspects of softball and - more importantly - better people.
He stresses working hard, being a good teammate and always striving to do your best. While his teams play to win, the pursuit of victory never tramples the importance he places on being a good sport and displaying grace in both wins and losses.
“Playing sports is just like life,” he says. “You take what you have, and you do the best with it that you and you roll with the punches – and that’s what I want my players to learn.”
Through the years Price has spent thousands of hours on the field working with players of all ages and skill levels, and his boundless enthusiasm and deep passion for teaching, molding and developing youth is unmatched.
Players rave about his practices, which are high energy, fun, challenging and continually changing so that learning never slows and boredom never appears.
And a lot of work goes into making that happen.
“I plan every practice,” he says. “I lay out everything we’re going to do and how we’re going to move from one thing to another. If the kids get bored, we move on. It has to be fun.”
Price is deeply respected and admired by recreation staff in the community, as well, for how he interacts with and treats everyone he comes in contact with. He always has a kind word and smile on his face.
"In my 10-plus years of knowing Tim and dealing with him on a daily basis throughout the summer I've never met an individual who is easier to deal with and who is always willing to work with rescheduling," says Jacob Bunten, the supervisor of the Howard Hils Athletic Complex in Moberly. "He has always been a joy to talk to. When things come up throughout the season he's never called me upset; we've always dealt with each other very professionally and he's just a great person who's easy to work with."
Through the years Bunten has been impressed by Price’s dedication to the kids in the community and helping them squeeze everything they can out of softball.
“His kids are grown and he still brings teams into the league and every year there are parents who want their kids to be on his team,” Bunten says. “That’s a big testament to what kind of person and coach Tim is. You'll see him out on the field giving individual or group lessons; he's always doing something softball related. It just says a lot about his love for the sport and how he wants to help it continue to grow."
Several of Price’s former players submitted touching letters describing their days playing for him and the countless life lessons they learned along the way that continue to impact their lives today.
“It means a lot that they took the time to nominate me,” he says. “It’s quite an honor and I’m so appreciative.”
Those feelings of appreciation run deep throughout the Moberly community as well, as anyone who has had the chance to play on a Tim Price-coached team come out of the experience a better person.
And he loves every team – and every player – that he’s had the chance to coach.
“Every time I see one of my players, whether from 20 years ago or 15 years ago or 10 years ago and they still have memories of our team that makes it all worthwhile," he said.
View the full 2020 NAYS National Awards Presentation:
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