December 30th, 2022 | Josh Adelman
Soldiers To Sidelines awards US Army Captain Bill Prosoko the December 2022 Coach of the Month. Bill earns this honor for his consistent dedication to learning and growing as a coach and his tremendous impact on his players in such a short amount of time.
Bill is currently transitioning out of the Army and served as a Green Beret with the 10th Special Forces Group. He began volunteering as a high school coach two years ago and set in motion a plan to continue serving his community while simultaneously bettering himself to provide for his family. Soldiers To Sidelines was part of his plan, and he worked our system to its fullest capacity. As a result, he is succeeding in life after service and coaching football. We interviewed Coach Prosko to learn more about his path and motivation.
STS: Tell your story about how and why you got into coaching. How has coaching impacted you as a person?
Bill Prosko: “After playing collegiately at West Point, I knew I wanted to give back to the game that afforded me so many opportunities. I also really enjoyed the tribe aspect of football and the bonds formed through the physical trials and tribulations of the game. Unfortunately, the training and deployment cycles in the Army prevented me from getting involved in coaching. Last year was the first time I was able to coach, and I sought out a coaching opportunity through a friend at Church. From there, I was connected to Jay Saravis, head coach at Cheyenne Mountain High School in Colorado Springs. Last season taught me the impact a positive role model could have on developing players and how much more of the game I had yet to learn. After being referred to STS, I attended their November webinar and became involved in their member development program. I mentioned my desire to continue coaching as I got my MBA, and Harrison connected me with Bob Benson, defensive coordinator at UPenn. From there, Bob brought me into the fold, and I spent the past year drinking through a firehose learning at the D1 level.”
STS: How has your military experience influenced you as a coach?
Bill Prosko: “My Army experience taught me the value of explaining the “why” in coaching. As a Special Forces Officer, I learned the importance of giving an intent and purpose to others in decentralized, ambiguous, and ever-changing environments. Coaching football is similar in a sense. Explaining the why and how we play a certain technique or alignment gives players on the field a better understanding of their responsibilities and enables them to play more effectively.”
“My Army experience also taught me the value of accountability. You have to take extreme ownership for your actions, but also understand as a team member and more importantly, a leader that you have to take ownership of your team. Articulating this to players has allowed me to mentor them about how off-the-field decisions have a bigger impact than on-the-field decisions. It’s also kept me grounded as a coach, in that I’m accountable to the players to give them my best by being prepared – either at practice or for a game.”
STS: Describe a coaching interaction with a player, or group of players, that has a special place in your heart.
Bill Prosko: “A compliment from one of the player’s parents last year. After every game, I graded their performance play-by-play. After receiving his grade, one of the TE’s told his father “Dad, Coach Prosko gave me a 5/5 on that play, and that’s not easy to get!” His father thanked me for holding his son to a high, but fair standard. He said that it meant a lot to him to have someone so invested in his son’s development as a player- but even more importantly as a person.”
STS: Which player you have coached are you most proud of? Why?
Bill Prosko: “Jake Heimlicher, DE at UPenn. He was an FCS All-American, FCS Buchanan Award Finalist, and will be grad-transferring to UCLA to play after exhausting his undergraduate eligibility at UPenn. On the field, I’m most proud of his desire to be coached and improve every day. Off the field, I’m most proud of his growth as a leader in holding oneself and others accountable. He was an absolute pleasure to coach and mentor, and I look forward to what the future holds for him.”
STS: What was the most difficult challenge you have experienced in coaching, and what have you learned from that experience?
Bill Prosko: “Hearing a high school sophomore explain to everybody his reason for playing football – to honor the legacy of his younger brother who recently passed away. It really put the game into perspective as representing something bigger than Xs & Os. It taught me the value of understanding every player’s “why” for playing the game, and how to use that to motivate them to get better every day.”
Coach Bill Prosko worked tirelessly to improve his football craft, prepare to earn acceptance in the MBA program at Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, and transition seamlessly from the US Army Special Forces. Through his time with Soldiers To Sidelines, he has displayed humility, perseverance, intelligence, and accountability. He has translated these attributes to continued service to his country as a football coach. We are proud to honor Bill Prosko as the December 2022 Coach of the Month.