Departing coach made big impact


Coaching is an area of life where you get true enjoyment through seeing someone else’s success. It’s not a job, it’s a lifestyle devoted to continuous investment into the athletic community. Our focus is in developing, not only good athletes, but also great outstanding citizens.

This summer, Sweet Home loses two from its track and sports community. Lela Danforth, who’s been coaching the Junior High Track program since 2010 (prior to that, assisting at the high school), is leaving for a new job. And of course, on a much more somber note, we’ve lost our announcer and friend Ken Roberts, who passed away just recently.

Excellence in coaching isn’t always found on the podium. For us in the track and running world, it’s those little improvements, breakouts of toughness in competition and the light bulb turning on as a young athlete finally begins to put the pieces together, that make our coaching lives fulfilling. At Sweet Home High School, we’ve greatly benefited from Lela’s hard work.

By the time a kid arrives in our program, he or she has a solid base to build upon. Lela has taken the time to put the many different pieces together, asking not for immediate gratification, but enjoying her work as she watches former athletes grow and develop in high school and further, as they enter adulthood.

Coaches aren’t babysitters; they’re mentors. Lela’s focus has been developing personal and athletic talent of our youths. In her own words, heard time and time again by her athletes (and fellow coaches), “Hard work trumps talent when talent doesn’t work.” In order for a team to be successful, you need coaches (and not just at the top levels) who teach the fundamentals of working smart towards achieving success. Lela knows how to do just that and instills those elements into the kids they coach.

In closing, Sweet Home will miss the great asset that Lela is, but we do thank her for the time and hard work she’s invested and wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors.

Her return was never of self-gratification, but was in seeing others grow and develop. The community she is leaving for will greatly benefit from her knowledge and drive. But just like any great hardworking talent that comes through a program, it’s our mission as a community to reload and move forward.

If you ask her, she’ll tell you she’d love to see someone as good, if not better, take her place.

Lela Danforth is a true coach, always looking out for what’s best for those being mentored.

Andrew Allen

“Coach Keebler”

Sweet Home