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Texas A&M Coaching Academy attends THSCA Coaching School & Convention

Texas A&M Coaching Academy attends THSCA Coaching School & Convention
August 10, 2021 Heather Janak

Texas A&M Coaching Academy attends THSCA Coaching School & Convention

The Texas A&M Coaching Academy attended the 89th annual Texas High School Coaches Association Coaching School & Convention in San Antonio, Texas July 18-20, sponsoring speakers, a mentoring program and bringing Aggie student coaches to network.

The THSCA Coaching School & Convention is a comprehensive athletics conference for middle and high school coaches in Texas. This year, over 13,000 coaches and athletic directors attended, receiving a wide range of educational sessions and networking opportunities.

The Coaching Academy, led by Director Dr. John Thornton, profiled their programming, connected with Aggie coaches, networked and sponsored presentations.

“The turnout is always impressive and it is an opportunity to profile what we do here Texas A&M to help prepare, support, and promote coaches and the coaching profession,” Thornton said.

Coaching mentoring program

The R.O.C.K. Coaches Mentoring Program, sponsored by the Coaching Academy and THSCA, addresses early career coaches leaving the field in Texas by supporting young coaches through mentoring. At the convention, the Coaching Academy met with mentees at their booth and served as a point of contact for future mentors and mentees.

“This program supports urban athletic directors and the future coaching stars they have identified,” Thornton said. “The curriculum we sponsor and networking ability has been well received.”

Networking with former and current students

The Coaching Academy brought six aspiring Aggie coaches to the convention to network and even caught up with some former students, including members of the Texas A&M Lettermen’s Association, Dexter Wesley, Aaron Wallace, Cornelius Anthony and Phil Bennett.

Thornton (right) catching up with Texas A&M Letterman Phil Bennett (left).

Thornton (right) catching up with Texas A&M Letterman Phil Bennett (left).

Senior kinesiology student and aspiring coach Parker Clay ’22 attended the convention with the Coaching Academy. She said she was able to meet coaches who have made real impact on sport in Texas.

“Every time I turned around there was someone new waiting to shake my hand and have meaningful conversation,” Clay said. “The coaching academy is all about helping young coaches and as a current student I know that my affiliation with them has me set up for a fruitful career after I graduate.”

Clay also attended a women’s coaching panel on the effects of Title IX. She said it was an opportunity to understand how far women have come in sport as athletes and coaches.

“What was most inspiring was hearing the panelists talk about their hopes for the future of women in sport,” Clay said.

The Coaching Academy also sponsored four presentations at the THSCA Convention:

  • Dr. Mike Thornton, Clinical Assistant Professor at Texas A&M: Embrace your Role as a Coach
  • Dr. Ryan Pittsinger, Assistant Athletic Director and Director of Counseling and Sport Psychology for Texas A&M Athletics: Mental Health & Stress Management
  • Monty Gibson, Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Cleveland Browns: Power for Every Athlete: Progressions and Applications for teaching Power Cleans Across Various Age Groups and Sports
  • Dr. John Thornton, Director of the Texas A&M Coaching Academy: R.O.C.K. Mentor Update and Orientation

This is the third year the Coaching Academy has participated, and Thornton expects to continue attending while growing their involvement over the years.

Assistant Director of the Coaching Academy Dr. Mike Thornton delivers a presentation.

Assistant Director of the Coaching Academy Dr. Mike Thornton delivers a presentation.

What’s next

Now, the Coaching Academy plans to focus on their Calling All Aggie Coaches program which connects Aggie Coaches across the state,

Coaching Academy staff Robert "Nate" Young speaking with attendee.

The Coaching Academy’s Veterans Coaching Program Coordinator Robert “Nate” Young speaking with an attendee.

networking to find job placement for graduates, producing for-credit coaching modules, as well as their Veterans to Coaching program.

“Veterans Coaching Program is a program we sponsor that helps transitioning and previously transitioned veterans that want to coach find their path to coaching,” Thornton said.

Learn more about all of the Texas A&M Coaching Academy’s offerings at coachingacademy.tamu.edu.

About the Writer


Heather is responsible for news coverage in the Department of Health and Kinesiology, as well as the Department of Educational Administration and Human Resource Development.

Articles by Heather

For media inquiries, contact Justin Elizalde.

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