Scott Denson had a distinguished 26-year career in the U.S. Army, where he valiantly deployed twice in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, earning two Bronze Star Medals for his honorable service and outstanding leadership on the battlefield.
And for the past five years this retired sergeant major with a heart of gold has continued that incredible service and leadership at Andrews Air Force Base, where he is a beloved volunteer coach, mentor and role model for youngsters participating in sports there.
Denson is this year’s recipient of the prestigious Coach of the Year award, presented annually by the National Alliance for Youth Sports.
Denson was nominated by Brandon Compton, director of youth sports programs at Joint Base Andrews. He was selected among more than 100 nominations that were received by NAYS headquarters.
“I always look back to my experiences with the coaches that I had growing up,” Denson says. “I go back and look at the good experiences and the bad experiences and that motivates me with the kids that I’m coaching. I want all the kids that I’m interacting with to have a positive experience when it comes to sports.”
Denson coaches softball, T-ball, basketball and soccer – where he teaches children not only the fundamentals of their respective sport but incredibly valuable life lessons, as well.
These include displaying good sportsmanship at all times, caring for and supporting their teammates, and always putting forth maximum effort.
“It’s important that we encourage these kids to reach for the stars and give their best effort when they are out there playing sports,” Denson says. “I told my sports director that I don’t have any soldiers to lead anymore, but I have all these kids on the base that I can help and that’s what I try to do.”
Denson is so well-liked, respected and admired that parents continually request to have their kids placed on his teams.
“He not only teaches the children the fundamentals of the sport but he also teaches them life-skill lessons, which I find is a scarce ability among coaches these days,” says Compton. “His abilities as a coach are of such high standards that I constantly have parents asking if their son or daughter can be on his team.”
“If you’re going to be a coach it should be something that you really want to do,” Denson says. “I just appreciate the kids and one of the things is that I hope at the end of the program – whatever sport that I’m coaching – that the parents are satisfied with the growth that they see in their child.”
And Denson is the ultimate team player. He willingly and enthusiastically speaks with other coaches at the base, sharing his wealth of insight to help them be the best coaches they can be for the kids on their team, too.
Plus, he somehow manages to find time in his schedule to volunteer to help with other activities that go on at the Youth Center throughout the year, such as America’s Kids Run and Family Fest, among others.
“We’re a country that is battling childhood obesity so it’s important that we get kids involved in sports and things of that nature,” Denson says. “And it’s important that we teach them to be resilient, and to be good sports when they win and also to be good sports when they lose.”
Scott Denson is the epitome of what it means to be a volunteer coach, as he cares deeply about every child and is truly committed to helping each youngster grow in the sport while developing key life skills.
“He is always in tune with his players and encourages each of them to care for one another,” Compton says.
Denson received his Coach of the Year award at the annual Youth Sports Congress that was held in Orlando, Fla. He also participated in a special session during the Congress where he shared some of his insights with more than 250 recreation professionals from across the country and on U.S. military bases worldwide.Coach of the Year Sportsmanship Obesity Fundamentals Softball T-ball Basketball Soccer
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