Coaches share their experiences in honor of national coaches day


Narita Lambert

Women’s soccer coach Scott Mejia explains a drill at the beginning of practice at Thorson-Lucken Field on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020.

Stuti Shrestha

Oct. 6, National Coaches Day, several Augustana coaches reflected on their experience of being a college coach. Football head coach Steve Bell knew he wanted to coach when he was in college. 

“My first year of coaching was back in 1992. I’ve been doing this for quite a long time,” Bell said. “I was an athlete in college, and I knew that I wanted to continue in athletics, so I’ve always wanted to be a coach.” 

Athletes aren’t motivated the same way. Everyone has different ways of being motivated, so Bell uses his techniques of understanding student athletes and then encourages them to perform better. 

“You never know too much, so you just keep watching how other people do it, listening to how other people do it, learning new techniques and then improving your team,” Bell said. “Each kid is different, everyone is not motivated the same way, so you really have to get to know those kids personally and understand who they are.” 

Coaching has been excellent to Bell and he still holds plenty of passion for the activity.

“I can’t see myself doing anything else. I struggle to figure out what I would do if I wasn’t coaching,” Bell said. “I enjoy it everyday. I wake up everyday, and I am motivated to come to work.” 

A team loss is difficult, but seeing the enjoyment that the athletes have makes it all worth it. 

“The hardest part of the equation is dealing with the loss part because you don’t get into a situation thinking that you’re going to ever lose,” Bell said. “The worst moment is knowing that you put in a great week of work and then are not able to perform at the level that you’re capable of.” 

Academics is why student athletes come here in the first place, and Bell wants students to prioritize academics.

“Football, soccer, basketball and other sports are icing on the cake. There’s no question why kids are here, they are here for one reason that’s education,” Bell said. “In a college like Augustana, it’s more like student first, then athletes.” 

Women’s golf coach Tom Lawrence is a graduate from Augustana college and is in his 9th season of coaching. Lawrence didn’t golf in college, but still knows a lot about the sport and knows what it’s like to be a college athlete. 

“I ran track and cross country when I was in Augustana. After graduating, I didn’t want to run anymore,” Lawrence said. “I took up the game of golf, and I’ve been playing it ever since.”

The golf team had a successful season finishing third in conference. Lawrence is incredibly proud of his team and wouldn’t want to be a coach for any other group of players. 

“This year at our conference meet, we played better than ever and we came third place. We’ve set over 50 records this fall and I’m very proud of that,” Lawrence said. “I would not trade this team for either first or second place. I wouldn’t coach any other team.” 

Lawrence invites his team’s athletes to his house for a meal on Sunday nights. Everyone in the team is like family to each other. 

“We spent lots of time there playing golf and on the golf courses. We also spent time off the field as well,” Lawrence said. “Sunday nights, they come over to our house, and my wife and I cook dinner for them. We are like family.” 

Women’s Bowling Head Coach Martin Resner enjoys his position because he is able to help his players with their time management and build them into responsible people both on and off the field.

“I greatly enjoy being a coach…sports are a great way to make connections with others and with the greater school community,” Resner said. “Sports provide more opportunities to transferable life lessons such as time management, responsibility, collaboration and much more.”

Resner makes an effort to truly connect with his players and believes the best way to do so is by understanding the goals of each and every person on the team. 

“When you get to know what your athletes goals are and what interests them, you can connect athlete interest to their goals which will create motivation,” Renser said.

Renser is a part time coach and full time high school math teacher so it is difficult for him to balance the two professions, but he wouldn’t want to coach any other group athletes. The relationships he has with the players makes managing two jobs easier because he trusts his players. 

“I have to find time around my full time job and family life to take care of my coaching duties,” Renser said. “I deal with it through building strong relationships with the team members so that I can trust them to get things done, even if I am not around.”