Hug a Coach Day – Celebrating Our Mentors

IMG_4467_copyAfter 3 decades wondering what I should do with my life, I found my calling. From waitress to lifeguard to pro basketball player to journalist to educator, I have taught everything from primary PE to freshman English to learning support.

Whether I am teaching a 6th grader to do a forward roll, a dyslexic child to spell, a 10th grader to understand Shakespeare, a senior to write a personal statement or a ball player to make a jump shop… I am a coach.

When I help kids makes sense of their lives, my life makes sense to me. 

I help students discover their strengths, so they can one day navigate solo in our fast paced world filled with overwhelming demands and challenges.

However, when I was growing up, coaching was not an option. How could a girl have a coaching career if female athletes were non-existent and women weren’t allowed to participate in sports?

Today, coaching is in vogue. Coaching specialties run the gamut including life and personal coaches, to health/wellness/fitness/ coaches to business/leadership/executive coaches to organizing/ career/creativity coaches to parenting and retirement coaches. Even ADHD coaches are listed to identify tools to assist those with attention deficit hyperactivity and to develop positive coping strategies for every day life and specific tasks.

When I randomly googled transition coaches, Paula Ray’s website popped up. She explained the that transitional coaches base their principle on different disciplines, and states that her coaching philosophy is rooted in biomimicry.  Huh? It’s no surprise that Paula Ray, who sounds like a New Age guru, is based in Del Mar, California.

Here is a list of some of the transition coach specialties.

    • Transition from one extreme socio-economic level to anotherCoach Mac in action_copy
    • Transition from a stress-filled negative life into a life you love
    • Transition from one extreme socio-economic level to another in a short period of time
    • Transition out of a corporate career
    • Transition into your most enjoyable, rewarding and healthy retirement
    • Transition in marital status
    • Transition from an energy draining career to an exhilarating one
    • Transition through unexpected health care challenges

But hey, I am not knocking the career.  No way. After my parents, coaches had the single greatest influence in my life.

Now everyone from CEOs to writers to retirees discuss their favorite buzzword, my coach. Once upon a time, coaching was learned almost by osmosis from playing a sport, now college degrees in coaching abound. Ohio University offers a Coaching Education master’s program to prepare coaches with the knowledge they need to become elite coaches.

Hopefully more female athletic coaches will join the ranks because they serve as excellent role models for girls. Like men have known for years, sports teaches life lessons and teams provide the best training grounds for the work place.


Legendary ISU Coach Jill Hutchison

Yep, everything I needed to know I learned in basketball.

      • Life is not fair. Get over it.
      • Leave your ego in the locker room
      • Pass to the open player
      • Rebound, rebound, rebound
      • Learn from each mistake
      • Hustle at all times
      • Lose graciously
      • Win humbly
      • Always credit teammates
      • Never give up

With all the emphasis on coaching nowadays, I propose we add a new celebration to the calendar.


In loving memory of my grandfather Ralph « Mac » McKinzie, a coach extraordinaire, I hereby declare December 7th as the official Thank Your Mentor Day!

Coach Mac October 1, 1894 December 7,1990

Coach Mac
October 1, 1894 December 7,1990

Have you hugged your coach today?

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Posted in education, family, inspiration, relationships, social view, sport.


  1. Pat, I’ve got my cup of coffee and have settled in to enjoy your Saturday morning update, which I’ve named “Pat’s Pearls”, 🙂 I never heard of the term transition coach but it makes perfect sense. We all need positive role models/ coaches to get through life’s challenges. I love the lessons learned from playing sports and I always enjoy “seeing” Coach Mac. Lovely tribute. What a great way to start my day. Thank you, dear friend. Have a great day!

  2. Extending a cyber-hug across the miles to my coaching buddy. And now I have the thrill of watching my youngest daughter step up to fill the role as girls’ JV basketball coach at her high school alma mater. One week in and she looks and acts so professional! She is learning a lot already about herself and dealing with sensitive and sometimes arrogant young lives. What a blessing to have this opportunity. As you well know, coaches can really help shape an individual.

    • I sure needed that hug, Tina. I am so happy that Kacie is having the opportunity to share her passion and knowledge for the game with high school girls. She will be a great role model. I wish I could see her in action!

  3. I loved your lessons from basketball — rather like the lessons learned from kindergarten — and believe they form a good standard whether one plays sports or not. Perhaps we can add, “Get up when you fall down” to the list?!!
    I had no idea there was such a career as transition coach, but it doesn’t surprise me. People used to muddle through whatever bad things befell them; now they seem to want a quick and easy solution. That’s probably a consequence of our “fast food mentality” or something. Anyway, I can get on board with a special date set aside just to recognize the coaches and mentors in our lives!!

    • Oh yes, Debbie, I should have put “when you get knocked down, get up” at the top of the list. That is one of the most valuable lessons, as we know that life will sweep the feet out from under us often enough. We must have the courage to stand up again. Like my sister said, moms, too, could add coaching to their title as they are the number one guides helping kids to rise to adulthood.

  4. I love your declaration of Dec 7 being “hug your coach day” in honor of your grandfather. I remember reading previous posts about him and I can see why you would want to honor him this way. We are big fans of sports at Grown and Flown and agree with you how important coaches are to kids as they grown up. Thanks!

    • Good coaches, like good parents, are worth their weight in gold. Sports, especially well coached, can be instrumental in helping kids learn how to be better team players in the real world.

  5. Pat, it is so true, we have been blessed with wonderful coaches in our lives, especially those right in our own family. Besides Grandpa Mac and Dad, Mom was a “life coach” during our adolescence even though the term hadn’t been coined yet . Her wisdom and encouragement certainly helped us navigate those challenging young adult years. And even now in my fifties, I am still relying on the lessons I learned from the positive role models in my life who have helped shape the person I am.

  6. I smiled about your mention of Del Mar, CA. I have friends there – and one of them is a life-transition coach. 😉 Your lessons from basketball are words to live by. Thanks, Coach Pat!

    • Oh Rebecca, your post brought me a chuckle. I wonder how may transition coaches live in Del Mar? I hope that you are settled back home and gearing up to write about your next adventure.

  7. Hey Pat. Transition Coach is new to me. Thanks for the enlightenment. I’m sure I could benefit from a few on your “coach” listings. Thanks Coach!

  8. You’ve made me think of quite a few people I have to thank for mentoring and coaching me at various times.

    I’m honoring your grandfather with a moment of silence today, on an anniversary of one of his transition days.

    • That is so sweet, Lori. Yes, do be sure to give a nod to your mentors as sometimes we forget to tell those that had the greatest impact in our lives how much their efforts made a difference.

  9. I agree with your life lessons, Pat. They are true goals to aspire to, off the court as well as on. And btw, I’d love it if you were my coach!

  10. I love the idea of personal and transition coach. I think that we all could use help and support when life transitions (and it always does). So important for one’s own well-being. How wonderful that your mentor is your grandfaher too!

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