“One has to be the change they want to see in others,” wrote 33 year veteran football and basketball coach John Solomon.
You see, this Brooklyn Park, Minnesota resident believes that people reach their goals and push themselves farther when they have a support team. Which is exactly why he enjoys coaching youth athletes, especially those who may be less fortunate or lack the same opportunities as others. His profound dedication and compassion for youth players is just the reason we’re naming him Coach of the Week.
He pulls from his 25 year background in social work to motivate and inspire his players. Working full time as a child protection social worker at his local health and human services department has provided Solomon with the patience and skill set needed to succeed in athletics and in life. Add his seven year tour in the United States Air Force and his school board position in to the mix and the story really begins to take shape.
Not to mention his advocacy on the local Parent Diversity Committee and the Northwest Suburban Human Services Commission. Oh and he’s also volunteered as a Big Brother, and a Scoutmaster for the Boys Scout Viking Council of Minnesota. As you can see, Coach Solomon is one of those rare individuals who is driven to better his community.
But that doesn’t mean he lacks the playing experience that comes in handy when wearing the coach’s whistle. Growing up, Coach Solomon was an all-star on the football field, which translated into numerous recognitions and awards leading to a position on the University of New Hampshire football team. He also played for his Air Force squad and later the semi-pro Elk Grove Wolverines team in Sacramento, CA.
Clearly an outstanding athlete himself, Coach Solomon excelled even more as coach. In 2006, he was selected as the National Coach of the Year by the Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association in conjunction with USA Football. This prestigious award is given to nominated coaches who dedicate countless hours to coaching and mentoring underprivileged youth athletes. A group of Solomon’s former players nominated the veteran coach, in an effort to show their appreciation for his guidance and influence. He shared, “They all [former players] felt that my influence helped them to overcome tough odds and gain successful lives where they each have continued to give back through coaching and mentoring.”
Indeed, Coach Solomon is leading his players by example. He feels it is his responsibility to stay connected to youth by mentoring and coaching. If his players grow into successful community members, he feels it’s a job well done.
And he’s doing just that with his next batch of eager players. Coach Solomon is presently working with the 7th grade Brooklyn Park Saints as their offensive coordinator. They’re off to a good start with a 2-1 record and a long season ahead. He wrote that Weplay has been a big asset to the Saints season too - helping the team stay organized, with good communication and sharing helpful feedback.
When he is not hanging out on Weplay, coaching, working, or volunteering for the community, Coach Solomon is spending time with his family. Him and his wife Pamela have three kids: Matthew who is an inside linebacker for Briar Cliff University, Marquita a high school girl’s varsity soccer coach, and Tiffany who has coached high school gymnastics. You guessed it. Coaching runs in the family.
Thank you Coach Solomon for being part of our Weplay Community. Good luck the rest of the season and all your other coaching endeavors!