Why They Coach

Andrew Botolino, Staff Writer

From the stands during game day, the coach is simply the head of the team, and their job is lead that team in their quest for victory—but behind the Ws and Ls is much, much more than can simply be measured by the final score. These four coaches know that firsthand.
Coach Mark Titus, Golf:
Mark Titus “always wanted to be a football coach.” According to him, that was the only sport he ever really thought of coaching. But when the opportunity arose 13 years ago to take over the JV boys’ golf team, and eventually both the boys and girls’ teams, he took it. “Golf’s different from really any other sport,” Titus emphasized, “because you can’t actually coach during the match.” He also noted that unlike other sports, “there’s no defense.”
Because of this Titus explained that golfers are playing against themselves and therefore “great mental toughness, and the ability to react to adversity is everything.”
As much as Titus has achieved as the golf coach, he highlighted the fact that “you go nowhere without senior leadership,” and deflected the credit of his past successes, especially his girls team’s second place finish in last year’s state tournament, on that senior team’s leadership. “The best part about coaching is when you get a good group that outplays expectations because of their mental toughness.”
Coach Keith Caldwell, Girls Cross Country and Track and Field:
Keith Caldwell has been a lifelong athlete, so running was never foreign to him. Coaching was, however, in 1995, when Cladwell first began. The transition was eased into with help from former coach Don Smith, who “I learned a ton from,” said Caldwell. Still, “there was a learning curve,” he noted. “Balancing time was tough. I was at school before seven and often left at four or five.”
Those long days not only included coaching, but teaching English full time. Still, no matter how much time or hard work it took, it was, as Caldwell explained, a “labor of love.” He emphasized that “it’s important that student athletes have some lifelong sport, and distance running is something that you can become better at the older you get.”
After years of planning, preparing, adjusting, balancing time and adjusting again, Caldwell noted that he “learned a great deal” from coaching. Still, “There’s a lot on your plate,” he explained. “But it makes teaching easier, and once you understand that balance, it’s a great second job to have.”
Coach Ashley Bishop, Field Hockey:
A three-sport athlete in high school and a field hockey player in college, BHS class of 2003 graduate Ashley Bishop began coaching field hockey six years ago, a sport that she said, among others, “defined my high school career, my friends and the connections I made.” Now as a coach, Bishop hopes to recreate the opportunities that sports provided her with for her players. “The girls become best friends and form a unique connection while staying involved,” she said. Balance was a common thread among all coaches, and for Bishop, “I had to learn how to balance between school and coaching early on and soon was coming in earlier to plan for practices and games.” The third most popular sport in the world “attracts good athletes and students who are aggressive and competitive,” Bishop explained. She noted that these girls eventually make up her life for the fall season. “They really consume every thought,” she laughed. “I’m always thinking about plays from the last game, which players to play, what I could do better– it’s more than just the two hour practices and games.”

Coach Lee Docherty, Girls Soccer
A former semi-pro soccer player, sports development officer, a member of the British Army’s soccer team and the founder of UKSD, United Kidz Soccer Development, Lee Docherty has been heavily invested in the game of soccer his whole life. It was the love of the game that introduced Doc, as he’s most commonly known as, to coaching. “It was the closest thing I could get to playing,” he said.
Doc grew up in Middlesbrough, England, where, according to him, “soccer is engrained in the culture.” But playing is a different beast than coaching—to make the transition, Doc utilized some of the techniques he learned during his time in the army.
“The more I coach, the more I understand why culture is the key. When I first started coaching, I knew the game. But these last years, we’ve built that culture—the self-discipline, accountability, fulfilling roles, equality, and developing people—all stuff I’ve learned from the army.”
One doesn’t have to look far to notice this—even at practice, everyone is dressed exactly the same—“if they’re not, they can’t play,” Doc explained.
The team also shares a set of principles, inspired by the UKSD program. “Our core values are character, community, competition, and continuity,” notes Doc. These central standards establish sports first and foremost as a tool to build better people, and then subsequently better athletes. That’s why soccer was instrumental to Doc. “I lost my parents young,” he said, “and I had a rough upbringing. Sports kept me involved and engaged.”
Now, above all else, that’s what Doc hopes to provide for his players. When he saw an alum stop by before practice, they embraced, chatted about her future plans, and Doc exclaimed with a grin, “that’s why you coach.”