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Co-head football coaches at Haven High School receive Most Valuable Coach award

Drew Thalmann and Thomas Cooprider recognized for their dedication and commitment to athletes
Updated: May. 14, 2021 at 10:30 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - When nominations opened earlier this year for the Credit Union of America Catch it Kansas Most Valuable Coach Award, we received more than 45 different nominations. You shared stories about the important roles your coaches play in the community and the commitment they have to their athletes beyond just sports.

The Most Valuable Coach Award is going to two coaches this year – the co-head football coaches at Haven High School. Congratulations Drew Thalmann and Thomas Cooprider!

2020 proved to be a magical season for Haven Football as the Wildcats won their first post-season game since 1976.

The players will be the first to tell you their co-head coaches are the reason why.

“These last two years, everyone has been brought in because they have been able to really reach out to all of us and we have been building really good chemistry,” senior football player Darby Roper said.

Thalmann and Cooprider are both Haven graduates. They took over at the helm two years ago after serving as offensive and defensive coordinators.

In just two seasons, they led the Wildcats to their first playoff appearance since 2012.

“They started to believe in what we were telling them. We had fun with the kids. We asked them to work hard and buy-in – and they did from day one in the weight room, on the field – and it’s been a lot of fun to work with these guys,” Cooprider said.

“Both as teachers and coaches, Drew and Thomas are both very well-liked here in Haven and kids respond to them,” Haven Athletic Director Jared Kirkpatrick said. “They react to the coaching they do and it’s evident with the success we have had in the last two years.”

That success and commitment to their athletes earned them a surprise when they were awarded with the Credit Union of America Catch it Kansas Most Valuable Coach Award and a $5,000 check to use towards their program to help continue building success.

While they appreciate being recognized for the work they put in, recognition isn’t why they do what they love. It’s always been for the kids.

“I have told the kids that I have coached for a long time that I want to treat them the same way I treat my own kids and I hope they believe that,” Thalmann said. “We like our kids. We like hanging out with them. We like being around them. We like getting to know them and seeing them grow. That’s the funnest part of it – seeing a kid that’s a freshman and seeing them change over those four years and see how they progress physically, mentally and emotionally and being a part of their journey. It’s pretty fun.”

Their players say they’ll forever cherish their time playing for their coaches.

“They are the two types of guys that later on down in life if I have questions, I know I can call them or text them and talk to them because they are those kind of people and I know they care about us that way,” senior football player Hunter Barlow said. “I am just thankful to have them as my coaches.”

“They are like two other dads to us. If we ever need help, they always got free time for us. Text us, call us, we can meet – whatever like that – they are always there for us,” senior football player Skylar Shingleton said.

Congratulations Drew Thalmann and Thomas Cooprider, the 2021 Winner of the Most Valuable Coach Award presented by Credit Union of America.

After reading about all the great coaches in Kansas, the team at Credit Union of America decided to give $2,000 to another coach. Congratulations Patty Frame, cheerleading coach at Goddard High School!

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