National High School Coaches Association

NOV 23 The NHSCA Improves the Entire Athletic Experience




(Youth1) -  WhenBobby Ferraro was a senior in high school in 1989, his father, a wrestling coach at Bucknell University, made it his mission to find a national wrestling championship where his son could compete against other top athletes in the country. 

After searching far and wide, no such competition was to be found, so Bobby’s father, Robert Sr., decided to develop his own. The tournament, which was named National High School Wrestling Championship, was a huge success. Over 260 state champions attended from 39 states attended the event, and ESPN even televised it since it was the first ever national championship in any high school sport. 

Following the competition, Robert Sr. used all of the money raised at the event to open an account for an organization that he wanted to start—one that runs national tournaments and helps guide and educate coaches. That’s when the National High School Coaches Association (NHSCA) was born. 

Now, over two decades later, Bobby Ferraro, the boy who the tournament was made for, is the Executive Director of NHSCA, the nation’s biggest and most successful leadership and support provider to coaches and their sports programs. 

“It’s really an honor to be that service organization for coaches,” Ferraro says. “Coaches have a resounding voice and our job is to make sure that their voices are heard.”

The NHSCA recognizes that coaches are influential figures in kids’ lives, so in order to ensure that these role models are following the same professional guidelines across the country, the organization runs educational classes, like Character and Leadership Workshops and certification programs. 

“There are other national coaching organizations that are in existence,” Ferraro says, “but we’re trying to be a full-scale service provider for coaches and a resource for them, which makes us different.”

Many parents expect high school coaches to help athletes receive scholarships and loans, so in order to make it easier for both parents and coaches the NHSCA provides classes that explain the roadmap to college.  

Another way the NHSCA is able to reach out is through their email newsletter, which has a database of over 250,000 coaches. The newsletter contains information about sports safety, different practice techniques, tournaments and much more. 

Each year, 20 coaches from girls and boys high school sports are named “Coach of the Year” for demonstrating outstanding leadership qualities, as well as high levels of achievement in their sport. 

Coaches aren’t the only ones who are recognized for their accomplishments—the NHSCA also names athletes of month and the year in 22 sports. Athletes are initially evaluated on their athletic successes, but once the top six are narrowed down, academics, community involvement and character come into play. 

Recently, the NHSCA announced that they will be building the nation’s first National High School Sports Hall of Fame in Easton, Pennsylvania, and students who are named athletes of the month or year will have the privilege of being inducted into it. 

“They’ve all done incredible things for high school athletes to do,” Ferraro says. 

This year, NHSCA is turning its focus a little more toward youth athletes, developing curriculums and practices that best suit younger kids. By working with other professional companies, NHSCA is developing sports science methods that can be passed on to youth coaches.   

Even with the many features that are offered for coaches and athletes, Ferraro’s father’s original goal of creating national tournaments has not been abandoned—in fact, the NHSCA holds many events around the U.S. each year, including camps and championships. Ferraro says that the coaches are the main focus of the organization, but providing youth athletes with events where they can be challenged and improve their skills is very important, as well. 

When Ferraro starting working for NHSCA, it wasn’t just because of his father—he got involved because he loves what the company is about and he wants to make a difference.

“If I wasn’t doing this, I would be a full-time coach somewhere,” Ferraro says. “I love helping kids achieve their goals.”

And that’s what NHSCA is all about—making sure that athletes, coaches and teams have the best athletic experience possible. 

By Lindsay Stein