Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC) and ‘C’ You In The Major Leagues partnered for the third consecutive season to recognize six Coaches with Character, a monthly award that spotlights coaches who, through their leadership on and off the field, help to grow amateur sports in the Kansas City community and work hard to make our community a better place to live, work and play. Read their inspiring stories below.
Larry Holley, basketball coach, William Jewell College (April)
Our April honoree, Larry Holley, became the ninth-winningest college basketball coach in history over the course of his 40-year coaching career at William Jewell College. Off the court, he earned a reputation for his integrity, sportsmanship and humility as he worked to instill positive character traits in his athletes. The most impactful lessons Coach Holley taught those around him included the lessons of being humble and treating people the way you’d like to be treated. Learn more about Coach Holley.
Ashley Forte, cheerleading coach, Lee’s Summit North High School (May)
During Ashley Forte’s five-year cheerleading coaching tenure at Lee’s Summit North High School, she has led the team to a regional title each season and four state titles. Her coaching success can be attributed to her effort to build the team’s character and bonding through “team time.” The bonding time with her team includes activities facilitated by the athletes themselves such as playing games, reading and attending workshops on conflict resolution. Coach Forte is a positive role model and provides a safe space for her team, as she assures her athletes that they can talk to her about anything. Learn more about Coach Forte.
Michael Dudley, baseball coach, Blue Valley North High School (June)
On the field, Coach Michael Dudley helps athlete learn perseverance, how to function as a team and how to set goals. Off the field, the he helps the team learn the value of serving others by arranging and assisting with community outreach efforts. For example, Coach Dudley organized a food drive for Blue KC Well Stocked partner Harvesters—The Community Food Network and sent players around the community to collect donations. His team netted an outstanding 459 pounds of food to serve the greater KC community. Coach Dudley also started a fundraiser after an athlete’s uncle was diagnosed with ALS. Learn more about Coach Dudley.
Amy Razor, volleyball coach, Olathe South High School (July)
Through her diagnosis with multiple sclerosis, 12-year Olathe South volleyball coach Amy Razor has shown her players on and off the field what it means to persevere and live life to the fullest. Coach Razor was forced to reduce stress in her life to combat the disease and she had to choose whether to give up teaching or quit coaching, and chose to do neither because she was so dedicated to mentoring her students and players. She understands that teenagers are faced with many new challenges because of factors like the internet and use of social media, and she works hard to make sure each of her players feel valued and loved on her team. Her reputation for being encouraging, passionate and inspiring helps set a positive example for her players. Learn more about Coach Razor.
Kelly Donohoe, football coach, Blue Springs High School (August)
Kelly Donohoe has been a successful football coach at Blue Springs High School for 19 seasons thanks to his focus on character building, highlighted by weekly character-building sessions he calls the “Winner’s Manual.” Coach Donohoe also accompanies players each month to Micah Ministry to teach them about giving back. Through his battle with cancer, Coach Donohoe showed his players what it means to face adversity with grace and perseverance. Learn more about Coach Donohoe.
Matt Schweitzer, baseball coach, Staley High School (September)
Staley High School baseball Matt Schweitzer combines his skills as a special education teacher and a coach to help his players learn valuable life lessons far beyond the realm of baseball. Coach Schweitzer is also a volunteer coach for the Special Olympics, which he enjoys because of how fulfilling it can be to help the athletes learn the game and see the smiles on their faces. Through his own professional 11-year baseball career playing in the independent and minor leagues, he not only learned the skills of the game, but he learned what it takes to be a great baseball coach. He uses his athletic skills to teach athletes the skills needed to succeed in the game and uses his role as a coach to teach his players valuable lessons. These valuable lessons include work ethic, responsibility, being a team player and overcoming adversity. Learn more about Coach Schweitzer.
Thank you again to all of these outstanding coaches. Is there a coach in your life that shows outstanding character and is making their athletes and communities better? We want you to nominate them to be next season’s Coaches with Character. Nominate your coach today.