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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Shaping future generations of coaches

President+M.+Katherine+Banks+approved+some%2C+but+not+all+of+the+recommendations+from+the+MGT+of+American+Consultings+report+on+the+universitys+organization+as+of+Dec.+14.%26%23160%3B
Photo by Photo by Samuel Falade

President M. Katherine Banks approved some, but not all of the recommendations from the MGT of American Consulting’s report on the university’s organization as of Dec. 14. 

A new brass plaque will hang outside the Texas A&M Coaching Academy. 
Having been renamed since its original opening in 2012, the Texas A&M Coaching Academy became the Thornton-McFerrin Coaching Academy after a generous donation from The Artie and Dorothy McFerrin Foundation to further the academy’s reach.
On Thursday, Oct. 28, university officials, members from the College of Education and Human Development and various donors including Dorothy McFerrin gathered for a dedication of the newly renamed coaching academy. 
After a generous donation, director of the Sydney and JL Huffines Institute for Sports Medicine and Human Performance Tim Lightfoot said the center will continue to educate future coaches. 
“Today is a great day in the history of Texas A&M as we celebrate the McFerrin family and their support of the center that focuses on preparing, assisting and supporting coaches, both current and future,” Lightfoot said. 
The donation by the McFerrin Foundation will help to grow the coaching program, interim Dean for the College of Education and Human Development Michael A. de Miranda said.
“We’ve assembled not to inaugurate a new initiative, but rather to celebrate the growth and the beginning of the best chapter of our coaching academy,” Miranda said. Events like today remind us that higher education in this country has long been the focus of visionaries and philanthropists who understood the power of education to shape lives – and Dorothy McFerrin is no exception. In her belief that higher education is a life changing life shaping endeavor.”
Miranda said coaches have a highly influential impact on students and this program strives to create state-of-the-art coaches to inspire the future generation of leaders.  
“They are civic role models in the communities that they serve. They are often the ones who instill pride in heart work, collaboration and giving you your best coaches and teachers [who] play by the rules a spirit of fairness and respect for others,” Miranda said. “They remind us that we didn’t lose. But rather the other team was just a little bit better than us today – or as Jimbo would say, ‘we didn’t lose, we just ran out of time.’” 
A&M President M. Katherine Banks said the campus community can see the McFerrins’ influence on the university.
“I’m so honored to be here today to recognize Dorothy McFerrin and the memory of her beloved husband, Artie,” Banks said. “[The McFerrins have] been an important part of Texas A&M for many years, and Artie was such an influence as a leader, a mentor and a friend.”
Banks said with the impact sports have on individuals, coaches have the ability to influence players beyond the court or field. 
“When you hear the word coach you often think of somebody walking on the sidelines or arguing with a referee,” Banks said. But coaches are so much – coaches inspire, mentor and teach us. A good coach can push us to meet our potential and a great coach can help us to surpass it.”
The A&M Coaching Academy strives to serve all levels of athletes who are trained to safely encourage and inspire athletes, mentally and physically, Banks said. 
“This is a place of learning the professional standards of high expectations in the public service,” Banks said. “In short, the academy exemplifies our Aggie core values and in keeping with our deep connections with our armed forces, it offers a special program to educate, train and certify veterans who wish to become coaches.” 
Banks said she can think of no one better than former basketball player and A&M Hall of Honor member John Thornton, Class of 1975, to serve as the director of the Thornton-McFerrin Coaching Academy. Banks said in addition to being a leader on the court, Thornton was also a leader in the classroom graduating summa cum laude. 
“John is an Aggie legend. He was captain of the basketball team and a top scorer under coach [Shelby] Metcalf. He led the Aggies in the 1975 Southwest Conference Championship,” Banks said. “John’s background in both academics and athletics by giving the perfect leader for the coaching academy, the coaching academy will stand not only for values that define this campus, it will also stay in for individuals who have given so much and to the cause of creating new leaders in every generation.”
Thornton said the coaching academy started as a realization of the need to support student athletes who wanted to go on to coach. 
“We’re here today to celebrate this vision that has come to fruition. The conversation started with realizing the need and opportunity in the beam to support student athletes if they wanted to coach. The opportunity was to provide communities and exceptional teachers with exceptional teachers and coaches,” Thornton said. “Developing quality coaches and teachers could not have happened without the support of the College of Education and Human Development and kinesiology department.” 
Thornton said Dorothy McFerrin served as an inspiration and supporter to him throughout the development of the coaching academy.
“Finding motivation in developing something from scratch is not not hard, especially if you have someone like Dorothy behind the scenes and understands the mission and believes in,” Thornton said. “We wouldn’t be here without her benevolence and support and insightfulness. In particular, their thoughtfulness and generosity will continue to make a difference as we grow and impact coaches and individuals and the communities they touch I can’t.”
Serving as an example of future careers, after graduating from the coaching academy, Edgar de Luna went on to coach football, basketball and track and field at Wellborn Middle School, as well as assisting with the number two ranked varsity team. 
Luna said as a first generation college student nearing the end of his undergraduate career, he ran across the coaching academy which quickly became his lighthouse in the middle of a storm. 
“I soaked in any coaching advice, coaching opportunities they offered and learned how to create and foster relationships,” Luna said. “Looking back now, I am so thankful for the coaching academy because without them I would not be the coach I am today. The coaching academy gave me hope back then and still gives me hope today.” 
Luna said the coaching academy helps to provide quality coaches to inspire future generations. 
“I have witnessed the continued growth that the coach and academy has made during the last several years and I’m very excited for all the coaches in our profession,” Luna said. “I’m even more excited about the kind of impact the Thornton-McFerrin Coaching Academy will make across our state.”

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