Coach’s philosophy for inspiring student athletes shaped by Brandman
One year into his role as Tacoma Community College athletic director, Jason Prenovost has a clear idea of what he wants to accomplish. As one of the area’s winningest college soccer coaches and a former player, he mentors other young coaches, plus dozens of student athletes on TCC teams.
“I always wanted to be successful on the field, and I believe you can win games and benefit student athletes off the field as well,” said Prenovost. “Athletics support the classroom, and I see sports as a learning tool in their development as a person.”
Prenovost, from Federal Way, started his soccer career at Highline Community College before receiving a scholarship to play for Hawaii Pacific University. Graduating with bachelor’s degrees in marketing and international business, Prenovost returned to Highline at age 24 as the school’s interim head soccer coach.
Named the 1994 Northern Divisional Coach of the Year, Prenovost has received that honor six more times, winning Coach of the Year in 2004, when Highline won the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges (NWAACC) title. He’s since become the all-time winningest men’s soccer coach in the league’s history, with an overall record of 274-89-63.
Achieving his master’s degree in organizational leadership from Brandman University (then Chapman University College) in 2002, Prenovost used the program to further develop his coaching philosophy.
“I really considered ‘servant leadership’ and ‘personal mastery’ and how that impacts play and developing habits,” said Prenovost. “I do a team charter every year, and have my players set personal goals, as well as team goals, and I take that directly from my studies at Chapman.”
That also plays into how he develops coaches at TCC. “I talk to my coaches and let them know they have a personal brand, they need to be consistent in their messages and have a consistent way of making decisions based on a set of values,” he explained. “You sometimes make hard decisions as a coach. It’s not always easy.”
In addition to being TCC’s Athletic Director, Prenovost is an assistant coach for the Sounders FC U23 team. He’s worked with some of the top soccer talent in the region, such as last year’s break out star at the FIFA World Cup, DeAndre Yedlin. “To work with athletes of that caliber is incredible,” said Prenovost. He sees more talent coming up through the ranks, and is “excited” for the season to start in early April.
While much in coaching remains the same, collegiate and professional sports have become more sophisticated the past few years. Teams have young athletes take personality assessments, such as Myers-Briggs, to help coaches better understand players.
“It also helps us gauge how they might handle a certain situation,” Prenovost explains. “Young athletes are more polished now when they come to us. Most of them have been specializing (in one sport) for a long time and while they’re more savvy, there may also be more pressure because their mistakes are public with social media.”
Athletics and the impact they have on young people inspire Prenovost, who wants to change the world “one student athlete at a time.” “At the community college level, you get athletes from different backgrounds and different experiences, and we’re successful when we find common ground,” he said. “At the end of the day, I want to do what I can to help them get there, wherever there is.”
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