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STS Coach of the Month October 2021

Soldier Coach Christopher Lightsey

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October 29th, 2021 | Josh Adelman

The October Coach of the Month honor is awarded to US Navy Veteran Christopher Lightsey for his humble determination to pursue a difficult path of coaching success. Coach Lightsey coaches football for Kings Fork High School in VA. He serves as the varsity Offensive line coach, JV Offensive coordinator, and athletic director intern.

Early in his military career, he realized he wanted to coach his favorite sport. Most impressive is his wisdom and willingness to begin his journey at the bottom of the coaching ladder. By setting aside ego and visions of grandeur, he has been able to travel a path of incredible coaching success. Christopher tells us how it began:

“I always knew I wanted to get into coaching. When I got to shore duty in the spring of 2012, I finally had the ability to commit the time required to do it on a volunteer basis. I didn’t know anyone locally in the coaching world, so I had no connections. It was just about going out and finding the opportunity. I attended coaching clinics on my own to try and network. Eventually, I landed an opportunity at Greenbrier Middle School in Chesapeake, VA. Then when we moved to Suffolk, I was able to help at King’s Fork Middle School, which eventually got me into the high school.”

Coach Lightsey with one of his player’s at King’s Fork High School

“Coaching has made a major impact on me as a person. When I initially got into coaching, I was excited about the opportunity to mentor but I was honestly more excited about the game. It didn’t take long for those to switch in priority. Mentorship evolved into building relationships. This has become my motivation. I have found it helps me on a personal level too, the more I learn about each one of these young guys, the more I am able to learn something about myself. It helps me continue to get better. I think it is important that our young men and women believe in their coaches as a person before they believe in them as a coach.”

“I am also pursuing a career as an Athletic Director. I did an internship to finish my undergraduate degree where I worked alongside a local AD who has made major strides not only at his school but professionally as well. Currently, I assist at the school I am coaching at with minor tasks. Trying to build a social media presence, looking at schedules. Once the football season ends, I will be able to dedicate a little more time to shadowing and becoming more involved. “

“As a coach, I have the ability to impact the people on that team. In looking at the athletic director role it will allow me to expand my reach and try and make more of an impact. Strong athletic and activity programs can improve schools in so many ways. It is important to develop creative ways to get everyone involved and not focusing on just a few different sports. Giving students something to take pride in will get them engaged not only in their sport or activity, but in the classroom as well.”

Christopher’s commitment to starting from scratch to create a successful coaching practice is the best example of how to seize his desired destiny. It’s not about accolades, but about the journey and the impact we leave along the way.

Much of coach Lightsey’s success was learned in the Navy. He describes some of his most important take-aways from his military service to coaching.

“The best part about the military for me was the relationships and learning how to build those relationships. Coaching is the same thing. It presents different challenges, but the end goal is the same for me. What can I do to help you get where you want to be? In my opinion, the best way to do this is to develop a relationship that is not only going to allow me to help point them in the right direction but more importantly allow me to hold them more accountable, just like in the military. It is important for the guys I coach to know that their overall success has very little to do with what they do on the field, as far as wins and losses. I want to see them learn how to overcome obstacles; I want to see them work through those difficult situations; I want them to learn how to communicate with their teammates and peers. If we can accomplish those things in our time together, then I know they are going to be able to take those experiences and apply them as they move forward in life. When it comes down to it, you can be the best coach in the country when it comes to X’s and O’s, but that won’t make a lick of difference if you cannot develop a relationship with your athletes. They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

We are honored to award coach Christopher Lightsey the Soldiers to Sidelines Coach of the Month for October 2021.

Coach Lightsey on the sidelines

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