By Harrison Walker
In its first year at Loyola, the Honorary Coaches Program, started by varsity football head coach Marvin Sanders, was created to honor those members of the faculty who continuously and devotedly display their support, through triumph and defeat, for the football program.
For every home game played this season, the varsity football players vote for two members of the faculty whom they award the title of Honorary Coach. The selected Honorary Coaches shadow the team for the whole day leading up to kick-off. They are also involved in all pre and post-game activities. These activities include the pre-game mass and meal, coaches meetings, the post-game mass and reflections.
The Honorary Coaches also bear the flag during the national anthem as well as stand alongside the players and coaches on the sideline during the game.
For the first home game of the season on Friday, Sept. 9, against St. Augustine, English teacher Edwina Lynch and counselor Kelly Farland were voted as the first ever Honorary Coaches due to their unconditional support from the football program.
“I was overwhelmed with surprise and gratitude,” said Lynch on finding out that she had been awarded the title of Honorary Coach. In describing the whole experience she said, “The part of the evening that I will always treasure is being with them in the chapel after the game.”
The second pair of Honorary Coaches selected for the home game against Cathedral on Friday, Sept. 16, were counselor Daryl Crowley and theology teacher Scott Johnson. The football team suffered a tough loss that day; however, Johnson described the post-game reflections in the chapel as extremely positive.
“I was really moved by the honest thoughts and feelings the team shared in response to their very tough loss to Cathedral High. They were able to still maturely contextualize this challenging experience in terms of higher realities such as their growing brotherhood,” he said.
Johnson said, “I eventually saw myself as someone providing a supporting presence for our coaches and players.”
Sanders believes that this Honorary Coaches program is essential to the growth of the athletes, especially since the faculty and staff play such an integral role in the development of the players into not only competitive athletes but also men for others.
Co-captain and starting linebacker Winston Anawalt said, “I think it’s beneficial for everyone. It’s a way for the team and coaches to show our appreciation for the support we receive and highlight a few extra supportive faculty members each week.”
Sanders also believes that the participating Honorary Coaches have truly embraced and enjoyed the experience. “Mrs. Crowley even designed a play in the second half!” said Sanders.
The next Honorary Coaches will be voted for and announced on Oct. 14 for the home game against Crespi.