Kennedy teacher coaches: They do it for the kids

What is it like to be a Kennedy coach and a teacher? 

By Carlos Camacho (Sports Editor) -6/20/16

Coach Garcia about to leave to the track
Coach Garcia about to leave to the track

JFK athletes are known for the hard work and long hours they put in to perform at their best come game day, but arguably, the people most responsible for a team’s success are the coaches. They take time away from their personal lives to help the players develop fundamentally and get the team playing on a competitive level. Yet, there are some coaches at Kennedy that manage to teach full time, maintain a personal life, and coach an athletic team all in one year.
“It’s not easy,” confessed Coach Kevin Kanemura, boys varsity basketball coach, “but it can be done. The people in charge of athletic teams are aware that it’s going to take away from teaching and other activities because if the time they have to put in with the kids to help them improve.”

Coaches Kanemura, Bill Vogel (boys and girls tennis), and Jacinto Garcia (cross country and track & field) are among many others who teach full time and are coaches for athletic teams and according to the three, the key to do both of them well is time management and having an absolute love for the sport.
“Your team should be as organized as you are. I want to set the example for my players and show them that despite the fact that I’m a teacher, a brother, a friend, and anything else you can think of, I can still make all of the practices and all of the games giving 100%,” explains Coach Garcia, who is also a magnet Spanish teacher. Garcia has managed to excel in all three areas as demonstrated by winning league two years in a row for boys cross country and track. Garcia reveals that the reason he continues to do cross country is because of his players. The coach has got to want it just as much as the players do, so it doesn’t matter if he stays from 6:00 AM to 8:45 PM working with the players; it is all worth it for him.
“The people that take on these positions need to be very aware that there is little to no financial gain for this,” states Coach Kanemura. “The athletic season lasts for two to three months, and you get paid a certain amount depending on how far your team goes. If they advance to later stages of play offs, the coaches get paid until it is all over. As coaches, we are often paying for things out of pocket. We do it for the love of the sport.”

Coaches do not get paid for all of the hours put in with the team during the off season. According to all three coaches, “we’re lucky if we get 25 cents an hour for all that we do in the off season.”
It’s not about the money though. They do it for the kids.