Spirit of Special Olympics Indiana: 2018 Coach of the Year
The Spirit of Special Olympics Indiana Awards are presented annually at our State Conference, recognizing the athletes, coaches, volunteers, families, and LETR officers who have gone above and beyond in their contributions and commitment to the Special Olympics movement over the course of the past year or more. Nominations for each category are submitted by our Area Management Teams before Area winners are selected, and from that list, Special Olympics Indiana’s Board of Directors chooses the state award winners each year.
Special Olympics Indiana is pleased to announce that Craig Peterson, from Indianapolis, is our 2018 Spirit of Special Olympics Coach of the Year!
A longtime Class A volunteer in Special Olympics Indiana’s Washington Township program, Craig is a member of the County Management Team and a parent to athletes Andrew and Michael, but he is a coach and supporter to all who participate in the local track and field, distance run/walk, and basketball programs.
Like any good coach, Craig not only understands the fundamentals of the sports that he oversees, he knows how to connect with the athletes, partners, and parents he’s charged with teaching. He regularly helps his athletes model proper techniques—including starting, sprinting, pacing, and throwing—but he also takes the time to learn about the individual strengths and challenges of each member of his team, consistently demonstrating an outstanding ability to tailor his coaching to help every competitor achieve their goals.
Craig takes his responsibilities as a coach very seriously, and his commitment to his team extends far beyond the time he dedicates at his twice-weekly practices.
- To ensure that the team would have always have adequate space for practice, he secured an agreement with the Indiana School for the Blind to use its facilities and to involve students with intellectual disabilities.
- To promote collaboration and to provide more opportunities for competition, he has organized a distance series involving athletes from seven county programs each fall, along with several practice meets prior to the Area 8 Games each spring.
- To promote health and fitness as the foundation for competitive success, he has spearheaded the local Unified Fitness Club and set aside additional time to help those athletes needing more attention to improve their strength and coordination.
- And to help his athletes develop their skills outside of competition, he encourages participation in Athlete Leadership University, providing opportunities for those interested in coaching and mentorship to learn new skills and to serve as assistant coaches and peer leaders.
Craig has regularly gone above and beyond in his other volunteer roles as well, playing an instrumental role in fundraising and program development by establishing partnerships with local schools, nonprofits, and sponsors. He is always quick to help where needed and to lead by example, whether by stepping up to act as a unified partner at Summer Games or to start a basketball skills program, creating new opportunities for athletes who had never played the game.
For all these reasons and more, Coach Peterson has distinguished himself as very deserving of recognition for his contributions toward bettering the lives of people with intellectual disabilities, in Washington Township and throughout the state.