U.S. Cellular has announced its final 15 coaches in its nationwide Most Valuable Coach program, and it includes Madison La Follette Girls Basketball Coach Will Green.
“I’m so excited about this,” Green says. “This is an honor for me.”
The 2017 Most Valuable Coach Fan Vote Contest is a campaign launched to highlight and recognize current head and assistant high school coaches who have made a profound impact on their schools and communities. Screening judges had previously selected Green for the “Top 50” after evaluating all nominees and determining that his leadership qualities and positive impact on his school and community stood out amongst the other nominees. This past month, the nation has been voting on who will be in the top 15 and advance to compete for the final top prize.
“I knew I was solidly in that top 15 that advances … I was in that 9-12 area pretty consistently. But it got intense at the end there because I was scared that some of those coaches would get a mad rush on that last day and bump me,” Green tells Madison365. “But I came through. It’s all kinda crazy to be in the top 15 in the country.”
On top of coaching at La Follette, Green is the founder and executive director of Mentoring Positives, a referral-based mentoring program that works with youth in the Worthington Park/Darbo area both individually and in groups, tailoring services to each kid’s needs. Coach Green will receive $5,000 and U.S. Cellular will also host an event to highlight all 15 finalists.
“We got $5,000 for the school. That’s awesome. I feel like I have a shot to win it all with everything that I do with coaching and in the community. We’ll see,” Green says. “I have a chance at that $50,000 with that judging panel at the end.”
The final panel of judges will include Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Kurt Warner and will help to determine the Most Valuable Coach. Along with the online public voting, which will count as 20 percent of the final score, the judging panel will evaluate the Final 15 coaches based on their leadership qualities and the positive impact they have had on their community, school and players.
“Yeah, Kurt Warner, man. That’s pretty special. We’re going to be judged another 20 percent from a 200-word essay that we will submit for what we’re going to do for the school with the $50,000 if we won,” Green says.
On Oct. 24, U.S. Cellular will come to Madison La Follette to host an event in honor of Coach Green. “They will be highlighting me and my work. I have [County Executive] Joe Parisi and [former Madison Police Chief] Noble Wray coming to speak on my behalf at this event. More details will be coming about this,” Green says.
U.S. Cellular’s Most Valuable Coach program began on Aug. 22 and gave people the opportunity to honor high school coaches who lead by example, strengthen their teams and give back to their communities. Below are the Final 15 coaches and the high school and city they represent:
1. Luis Ayala, Foxcroft Academy, Dover-Foxcroft, Maine
2. Andrew Bowers, Duncan High School, Duncan, Okla.
3. Dillon Cooper, Wewoka High School, Wewoka, Okla.
4. James Danala, Mount Abram Regional High School, Salem Township, Maine
5. Davis Eidahl, Pekin Community High School, Packwood, Iowa
6. Carrianne Engelhart, Portage High School, Portage, Wis.
7. Will Green, LaFollette High School, Madison, Wis.
8. Ryan Groom, North Mahaska Community School District, New Sharon, Iowa
9. Pat Jauch, Milton High School, Milton, Wis.
10. Travis Kowalski, Holmen High School, Holmen, Wis.
11. August Manz, Thomas Jefferson High School, Council Bluffs, Iowa
12. Mike McGraw, Lewiston High School, Lewiston, Maine
13. John Olson, Gladbrook-Reinbeck Community School, Reinbeck, Iowa
14. Mike Papoccia, Newman Central Catholic High School, Sterling, Ill.
15. Karen Wiederholt, Southwestern Wisconsin High School, Hazel Green, Wis
The winning coach will receive a $50,000 donation to the charitable organization of their choosing or to their high school athletic department and a trip to Orlando, Florida, for on-field recognition at the Under Armour High School All-America Game. The winning coach will be announced at noon on Nov. 20.
“It’s very important that people continue to vote right now. It would be nice to be pretty high in the voting ranks at the end of this voting session,” Green says. “I think over time I will gain momentum with people catching on what this money could actually mean for the Madison community. $50,000 is no joke.
“I am honored to be among the top 15 in the nation, but I am in this to win it!” Green adds. “No doubt. No doubt. What an inspiration this could be to our kids and being able to do some things that we want to do to let the kids dream and be who they want to. It would be a great gift for Madison, too.”
Through Nov. 14, people are able to vote for their favorite coach right here.