Summer paves way for success
Another school year concluded earlier this month, as students throughout central Ohio celebrated at graduation parties and teachers packed up their classrooms for the summer.
For high school coaches, it marked the beginning of one of the most crucial times of the year.
The next official prep sporting event won't occur until the middle of August with boys and girls golf, but area coaches in June and July must feel like an athlete preparing for his next big event: It's not always easy to stay focused, but it's a necessity.
Things like 7-on-7 passing leagues in football and organized leagues in various other sports mean that summer is one of the best times for coaches to prepare their teams for the coming school year.
While coaching a sport is a quick way to fill up a summer schedule that could have included extra days of leisure, coaching two sports simultaneously might be the ultimate method to completely kissing a summer vacation goodbye.
There are even a few coaches that head two sports programs, although that's a rarity, particularly at a large school.
Denny Hammond coached the boys and girls track and field teams and the boys and girls cross country teams at Reynoldsburg before recently retiring from both, but at least there was continuity among many of the athletes and methods involved in teaching those sports.
There also are numerous coaches like Jay Sharrett, who heads Pickerington Central's football team and is an assistant with the school's boys track team.
The trend as coaches get older seems to be to scale back to focusing on one sport. This summer will mark the first in about two decades that Whetstone baseball coach Tim Broskie isn't also an assistant with the school's football team.
Then there are those like Eastmoor Academy's Jim Miranda, whose work ethic when the weather is hottest would put most of us to shame.
Miranda has been the Warriors' football coach since 2003 and he also coached the school's girls basketball team from 2002-11. He guided the girls basketball team to a Division II state runner-up finish in 2005 and led the football squad to a Division III state runner-up finish in 2008.
This past school year, Miranda left the girls basketball program to coach one of the school's other high-profile jobs, the boys basketball team.
He has thrived in his new dual effort, leading the football team to its fourth consecutive playoff berth last fall and guiding the boys basketball team to a Division II district championship in March.
Also in the City League, Linden-McKinley's Aaron Owens coaches both football and boys basketball.
"It's difficult," Miranda said. "You have to juggle and you have to plan. I actually did a little kids basketball camp (in early June) from (9 a.m. to 3 p.m.) and I've got summer league basketball on Mondays and Wednesdays, and then football starts (this) week. June is a very hectic month because of having both basketball and football, and then I have to cut off basketball at the end of June."
So what puts Miranda back on the coaching treadmill year after year?
He believes having a passion for helping kids succeed, as well as having a strong support structure at home, helps him juggle both successfully.
"You've got to love coaching and you've got to love kids," Miranda said. "You've got to sacrifice being tired, and you've also got to have a great assistant coach back at home, although she might call herself the head coach. We usually take about a week at the beginning of (July) and we go to visit my mom down in Florida. Then it's back for the grind."
For multi-sport coaches like Miranda, the rewards outweigh the temptation of a few extra lazy summer days.
Jarrod Ulrey is a ThisWeek sportswriter. Follow his blog, "On the Recruiting Trail," for the latest in central Ohio high school recruiting news.