UK Elite Soccer’s Stuart Sharples and Baseball Heaven’s Eric Brown and Heath Terry have been named the 2017 Steel Sports Coach of the Year Award winners for their outstanding work developing athletes on and off the field.
This is the 2nd Annual Steel Sports Coach of the Year Award, designed to identify and honor those coaches that encourage their players on the field while helping them develop important life skills such as discipline, teamwork, safety, respect and integrity.
The award is chosen by athletes, fellow coaches, parents, and mentors and given to a coach that had a positive impact on the lives of their athletes.
Stuart Sharples began his UK Elite coaching career in 2011 at the young age of 18 after he became, at the time, the youngest person to receive their UEFA B License in Southeast England. He has continued coaching in New Jersey, and he currently coaches the FCUSA New Jersey 04 Boys, 02 Boys and 99 Girls. Sharples also plays soccer for Union County College where he is a sports management major.
“It’s a great honor to be named the Steel Sports Coach of the Year,” Sharples said. “Especially following Rob Jones from last year who is a good friend of mine and who I lived with in 2011 when I first came to America. He has been a mentor to me and someone I looked up to and still do.”
In his nominations for the Coach of the Year Award, Sharples is described as having “infectious enthusiasm and a caring personality which engages players and makes them want to play for him.” He insists upon and demonstrates good sportsmanship before, during and after practices and games, and he helps his players develop their competitive and cooperative skills in a positive and supportive way.
“I will always greet every one of my players prior to a session with a handshake and a brief chat, and I also encourage them to do the same with any other players or coaches around,” Sharples said. “I believe this is great for teamwork and gets the players developing their social skills with one another. I am a keen believer in good habits and instill this into my sessions that players must develop and be disciplined to stick with good habits.”
Baseball Heaven’s Eric Brown and Heath Terry joined the Steel Sports family this year, but they have already made a tremendous impact on and off the field coaching Team Steel Gold 15U and Team Steel Blue 16U. Even though they have only been with Team Steel for a year, the duo has been together for over 15 years. Due to their long-standing coaching partnership and being nominated as a pair, the decision was made to name Brown and Terry co-recipients of the Coach of the Year Award.
Brown recently retired as the head baseball coach at Suffolk County Community College in Long Island, a post he held since 1987. He led his team to five appearances in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division III World Series, and he was inducted into the NJCAA Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2014.
Terry played for Brown at Suffolk County where he was an All-American pitcher and began coaching with him in 2002. The two spent 10 seasons together at the school making four World Series appearances.
Brown and Terry called winning the Coach of the Year Award a “great and extraordinary honor.” Being named the recipients has a deeper meaning because the two have coached together for many years.
“It is always nice to be recognized doing something you love, but the fact I get to share this award with Coach Brown makes it even sweeter,” Terry said. “Coach has always been a role model of mine and being recognized with him makes this award a once-in-a-lifetime honor.”
The coaches were described as “perfect examples of how every coach should be.” Brown and Terry were lauded for their leadership, how they teach the game in a positive way without belittling anyone for mistakes and for being role models on and off the field.
“I try to have a positive impact and be a role model on the young athletes and teach them to respect the game, be a great teammate and show discipline and integrity for the game,” Brown said. “I try to make it a game they enjoy playing.”
With all three Coach of the Year Award honorees, Steel Sports’ core values are at the foundation of their coaching philosophies and and have helped them have a lasting impact on their athletes, families and peers.
2017 Steel Sports Coach of the Year Award Nominees
UK Elite Soccer
Chris Fiegel Sr.