Ken Prothero awarded second-time CSAC Coach of the Year

By Eion ONeill
November 12, 2010

--Ross Salese / Staff Photographer

“Make this about the players,” Ken Prothero, women’s soccer coach and 2010 CSAC Coach of the Year, said as he was leaving Edith Robb Dixon Field. Before the ECAC tournament game against Alvernia, Prothero showed at a practice that his players are the ones who mattered.

A huddle of young women in jackets surrounded the ninth-year coach on a brisk, Tuesday night under the Edith Robb Dixon Field lights as he talked them through the next game, the next challenge and then briefed them that they were going out to eat together. Wawa was not an option.

“He opened up his house for a pasta party,” Morgan Hudson, sophomore forward, said. “We got to play bocce ball in his backyard.”

Assistant coach Jess Huda described coach Prothero as very compassionate.

“He always puts the team before himself. When the team is up, he is up. When the team is down, he is down,” Huda said.

When asked what she thought his players thought of him, Huda said, “I think they respect him. I think they understand him and they would look out for him as much as he would look out for them.”

There is a sort of extended family title given to the coach. For the players, he’s like a dad. For Huda, he’s like a brother.

“There are things both on and off the team that I wouldn’t get through without him,” Huda said.

For the players, he has qualities of a parent. He’s caring and fun to joke around with but also focused.

“We like to make fun of him a lot. He’s a good coach,” Sammy Thompson, junior midfielder and exercise science major, said.

“Every year we decorate his house for his birthday,” Dana Nardello, senior midfielder, 2010 CSAC Player of the Year and special education and elementary education major, said.

According to Nardello, the decorating consists of toilet papering Prothero’s house.

“He pretends that he hates it but he loves it,” Nardello said.

Light-heartedness aside, the women agree that he has a profound impact on their game and their life.

“He’s really concerned about our well-being as people whether we’re playing soccer or school. He asks about our family,” Nardello said. “He’s like a dad. But he’s tough when he has to be too. It’s a good balance.”

As far as his attitude on the field, players and other coaches have plenty to say about the two-time CSAC Coach of the Year.

“He just makes me want to be a better coach. He makes the players want to be better players,” Huda said.

Glen Jaskelewicsz, Cabrini’s men’s soccer coach, admires Prothero’s dedication to his team.

“It doesn’t matter whether he has 16 girls or 25 girls, he’s dedicated to winning a CSAC championship,” Jaskelewicz said.

“He has a great attitude for both [soccer] programs and I admire that,” Jaskelewicz said.

In an email statement, Kirsten Russell, the women’s head soccer coach, at the College of Notre Dame said, “Ken’s coaching talent is reflected in the exemplar sportsmanship of his athletes.”

“They are respectful, hardworking and play team soccer,” Russell said. “He is a fine representative of the Colonial States Athletic Conference showing great character and judgment.”

That level of sportsmanship can be spotted in how he handles teams who are less experienced or skilled.

“One thing he will not do is run up a score on a team to make us look better,” Huda said.

When asked how he felt winning the 2010 CSAC Coach-of-the-Year award, the coach quickly relayed the credit back to his players.

“That  award was a team effort not just me,” Prothero said. “It was my assistant coaches, my captains, my seniors. It was a team effort.”

Although humbled, Prothero was grateful for the award.

“Always an honor to be recognized by your peers, your fellow coaches,” Prothero said.

Again however, Prothero shied away from the spotlight.

“I think the success of our team this year has been the players,” Prothero said. “They work hard every practice, every game. I couldn’t ask for a better group of kids.”

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Eion ONeill

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