Trifecta: three coaches named conference coach of year

Dakota Meekins, Sports Editor

The fall and winter sports have come to an end, and three head coaches have been named as a conference coach of the year. This includes coach Sport Sawyer (varsity football), coach Ralph Cleaver (varsity soccer) and coach Jillion Schuler (swimming).

“Being nominated by your peers is special in a way that shows other programs are looking at your program and believe you are doing a good coaching job,” Sawyer said. “When other schools say that about your program, it gives you a sense of pride.”

In his first year as head coach of the varsity football program, Sawyer’s team finished the season 9-4. Sawyer is constantly trying new things and new ways for the student-athletes to improve and become better players. By finding camps and programs for the students to attend, he constantly wants to help the athletes become stronger, faster, and more athletic to improve the team overall.

“Being selected as coach of the year is an honor. You work hard in your profession and to be recognized in that is always a positive feeling,” Sawyer said. “But being coach of the year should really be coaching staff of the year. It’s a team effort. Last season, here at Manteo, we had a very good coaching staff that we all together made Manteo Redskins be the best they could be in football.”

After two years as the assistant coach for varsity boys’ soccer, Cleaver moved into the head coach position this season. His team ended with a 19-4-1 record. Along with previous head coach Curtis Price, Cleaver has built up a strong program. For the past five years, the team has made it to deep into the state playoffs. This season, the team ended its season in the fourth round of the state playoffs. However, the team didn’t go down without a fight. Raleigh Charter beat the team 4-3 in overtime. The past five years reflects how Cleaver has contributed to helping the team improve and be consistent in the postseason.

“It is always a great honor to be recognized by your peers for all the hard work that goes into a program,” Cleaver said. “However, the credit is certainly not mine alone, as I have two great assistants in Michael Goetsch and John Eric Cleaver, and players that work tirelessly to execute the given tactics.”

Jilli Schuler has been assistant coach for the swim team for the last two years. This marked her first year as head coach. She is also the head varsity volleyball coach and she has assisted with the girls’ soccer team in the past. At swim practice, Schuler and her coaching staff frequently switch up the routine with long distance, sprints, and other sorts of training activities. Under Schuler, six swimmers went to regionals and two made it to the state competition.

“It was an honor being selected as coach of the year and I’m proud of the kids, they worked hard this season and at the swim meets,” Schuler said

To to these coaches, the staffs, and the school, these recognitions mean a lot. The time and commitment these coaches and their staffs put in show how much they care for each program and the school as a whole.

“This says a lot about the dedication and commitment of these three individuals; however, it would not happen without the athletes. Go Redskins!” principal John Luciano said.