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Richard Whitelaw Named National Coach of the Year
Wednesday, December 23, 2020


Sun Valley Community School Soccer Coach Richard Whitelaw has been selected the 2020 National Coach of the Year.

Whitelaw, head boys’ soccer coach, was selected in the High School Boys, Private/Parochial School category by United Soccer Coaches, the world’s largest soccer coaches’ organization serving members at every level of the game.

Whitelaw has been Head Boys’ soccer coach since 1992 and a member of United Soccer Coaches since 1989. He also has served as the school’s director of athletics since 2011.

“Richard is an excellent soccer coach, but more importantly, he is a relentlessly kind, humble, and dedicated mentor and educator," said Head of School Ben Pettit. "He is also an incredible ambassador and representative of our school. We are more than lucky to have him serving as our athletic director and soccer coach. We are thrilled for his steadfast contributions and successes to be recognized with this award.”

Whitelaw overcame the challenges posed by the COVID pandemic to lead the school to its third consecutive Idaho Class 3A State Championship this season, finishing at 9-3.

He has won five state championships during his tenure—in 2020, 2019, 2018, 1999 and 1992.

He has also led his teams to 16 district titles and earned State Coach of the Year honors five times. His career record in 29 years: 360 wins, 135 losses and 40 ties.

Whitelaw is exceedingly humble, bent on sharing a love for the game of soccer and the spirit of sportsmanship among his players.

“I strive to instill in these young men that it’s not about the wins or championships,” he says. “It’s about making the most of your short high school career, experiencing all the emotions associated with a successful team, playing to the best of your ability and exuding good sportsmanship every step of the way.”

He adds that he has the greatest job in the world.

“Being surrounded by young, talented, intelligent students and empowering caring, positive faculty is a joy,” he says.

Whitelaw and other honorees will be recognized at the 2021 United Soccer Coaches Digital Convention on Jan. 13, 2021. United Soccer Coaches was founded in 1941 and is based in Kansas City, Mo.



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