Drexel Hosts a Conference to Keep Coaches at the Top of Their Game

Mayor Jim Kenney, Beth Devine and Amy Giddings at the Coach's Conference opening reception.
Mayor Jim Kenney, Beth Devine and Amy Giddings at the Coach's Conference opening reception.

Almost 250 coaches gathered at The Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships May 17 for the 2nd Annual Philadelphia Coaches Conference. The conference, organized by Drexel's Center for Hospitality and Sport Management and a number of external partners and sponsors, was organized “for coaches, by coaches.” The goal of the conference was to bring together coaches of all levels and sport disciplines to learn and share with each other — something that rarely happens outside of a coach’s specific sport.  

Mayor Jim Kenney was at the opening reception to introduce Beth Devine, the new executive director of the Philadelphia Youth Sports Collaborative (PYSC). In his introduction, Kenny stressed why the PYSC and the conference were so important.

“We want the best opportunity for our kids to meet their potential,” Kenny said. “Everyone’s been given potential in this world, whether it’s academics or sports or arts. We need to get kids the opportunity to meet that potential.”

The conference echoed Kenny’s sentiment, with a collection of speakers and panel discussions that made the often-challenging job of helping young athletes visceral and exciting.

“Matt Rhule, Temple University’s head football coach, gave a spectacular keynote address,” said Amy Giddings, PhD, director of Center for Hospitality and Sport Management’s Sport Coaching Leadership Programs. “In fact, I think we were all ready to sign up for football by the midpoint of his presentation — he really was that engaging.” 

Sessions during the conference included topics such as meeting both individual and team needs, being sensitive to athletes working through trauma, and how best to help those who have issues with substance abuse. There was a friendly camaraderie as coaches from across the city shared hard-luck stories and triumphant tales, knowing their audience could relate.

“What I love so much about hosting this conference is seeing coaches from all over our region come together — coaches from youth, scholastic, collegiate and professional sport — and really connect with one another,” Giddings said. “As a coach myself, I know how amazing it feels to be surrounded by our peers and to have a sense that everyone in attendance ‘gets it.’ We all experience the same highs and lows and similar challenges —no matter what sport or level we coach. So many attendees came up to me during the conference and expressed how amazed they were at the quality of the coaches presenting and how easy it was to ask questions and learn strategies for success from one another.”