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Youth Coach Nominated for National Award

Posted: February 19, 2008 1:52 a.m.
Updated: April 21, 2008 5:01 a.m.

In a position often unnoticed, youth sports coach Matt Halliday has been recognized as he was chosen as one of 19 national nominees for the Positive Coaching Alliance's Double-Goal Coach Award last month.

Halliday, who serves as athletic director and a coach for the Santa Clarita Valley Athletic Association's Warriors football program, was not one of the final five winners selected last week, but his appreciation of the nomination from the Stanford-based coaching organization has not gone unappreciated.

"For me it was very exciting just to be nominated and recognized," Halliday said.

Halliday said he was not disappointed in not having received one of the five Double-Goal Coach Awards.

"I didn't get into this to win an award," Halliday said. "I am paid emotionally and mentally at the end of each season and afterward."

It was a big surprise to him as he never attended one of the Positive Coaches courses but had read the material.

The material was familiar to him as he was already promoting the fundamentals of the program in his coaching methods.

The Positive Coaching Alliance defines the Double-Goal Coach as one "who strives to win and, even more importantly, uses sports to teach life lessons through Positive Coaching."

"That was just Matt all over," said Santa Clarita Park and Recreations Commissioner Laurie Ender. "That just perfectly describes him all over."

Ender was responsible for Halliday's nomination. She filled out the application and gathered the required testimonials to submit on his behalf.

The testimonials were not hard to obtain as Halliday has left a lasting impression on both players and parents, including Ender who has had two of her three children play for Halliday.

"I really grew up seeing the good, the bad and the ugly of youth sports," Ender said, whose father was a high school football and baseball coach. "I think Matt really exemplifies what is best about youth sports."

As a coach, Halliday stresses teamwork, respect, discipline and hard work toward a goal. These are characteristics that Halliday said he finds in the workplace everyday.

"I'll use any sport to teach those basic fundamental characteristics you'd like to see when they grow older." Halliday said.

He puts a strong emphasis on teamwork. Halliday teaches the kids to put away personal agendas and concentrate on teamwork.

Halliday's coaching has also reached the kids' performances in the classroom.

Tom Yoshioka, one of the testimonial writers, said Halliday requires his players to maintain at least a "C" average.

Halliday has been known to provide tutoring to struggling student athletes in the past.

The Warrior program also gives out scholastic achievement awards to kids who maintain a "B" average.

Halliday's road to the man he is today did not come overnight.

He started coaching over 30 years ago at the age of 17.

"When I started I was more of a drill sergeant," Halliday, 48, said. "I really had to learn how to teach and how to connect with the kids."

Halliday has also coached baseball and basketball teams, but football is where he found his nitch.

"To us, we're all teachers," Halliday said. " We get to use the game of football and the field as our classroom."

Halliday, who has been with the Warriors program for the past seven years, has served as the athletic director for the past four.

He oversaw the sixteen teams in the SCVAA youth football league last year, which caters to kids from ages seven to 14, and also coached a team of his own.

With all the years of coaching, his knowledge of the game is anything but limited.

"He knows his football," Yoshioka said. "He's a student of the game. He's always trying to learn and get better."


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