When Frank Mazzucco was named coach of the Dublin United Soccer Club U-9 boys team before the 2018 season, he wanted to make a point to the parents of his players.

"We met at a parent's house and the boys were all playing video games outside and I met with the parents inside," he said. "I brought my projector and made a PowerPoint presentation. That got a few laughs and I still get some ribbing for it.

"But I wanted them to know what my goal was as a coach. I had coached most of the kids before, but this was the first year as a club team and I wanted to let everyone know what the plan was."

His numerical list began with having fun and always playing and acting with good sportsmanship. He listed teaching and learning discipline and leadership second, followed by taking responsibility and making sacrifice. Finally, he stressed improvement and wanting the boys to learn lessons and teach them to utilize those for the rest of their lives.

The parents of the Dublin United Force players received the message, watched Mazzucco reach those ideals and nominated him for 2018 Ohio Coach of the Year.

Mazzucco, 41, learned Feb. 3 that he had won the award, which was sponsored by Carrabba's Italian Grill. Coaches from all youth-age leagues, clubs and organizations were eligible for nomination.

"I have been and continue to be overwhelmed by a sense of both gratitude and humility to earn this extraordinary honor," said Mazzucco, a Dublin resident. "I am motivated more now than ever before. Preparations to enhance the experiences of my boys, along with their families, are well underway for the spring season."

The requirements for nominees included placing the emotional and physical well-being of players ahead of a personal desire to win, doing his or her best to provide a safe playing environment for all players and leading by example in demonstrating fair play and sportsmanship.

"I want them to remember these things the rest of their lives," Mazzucco said. "Coaching is being a teacher and role model to young kids. That's what it is to me. Winning wasn't a priority, although we have a competitive group that finished 6-1-4."

Mazzucco juggles his job in pharmaceutical sales with coaching, being the father of three young children -- Isabella, 10; Michael, 8; and Luke, 6 -- and looking after his wife, Kristen, who is battling breast cancer. He was named coach of the Force in late 2017 and in January 2018, Kristen was diagnosed with cancer.

"I don't know how he does it daily, with a demanding career, three young kids and coaching responsibilities. But then to add my situation in the mix made it extremely time-consuming on him," Kristen said. "But the one thing about Frank is, that if he's in, he's all in. He's incredibly detailed and organized and will always be overly prepared for anything that he has committed to.

"He has such a passion for teaching kids and it's a joy to see him happy."

Mazzucco has coached at least two sports a year for several years, volunteering his time to coach his daughter and sons.

"I saw (Mazzucco) coaching at an indoor soccer league and saw that he knew what he was doing and the kids loved him," said Ken McMahon, director of Dublin United Soccer Club.

"Those are the types of coaches we are seeking. So I asked him if he was interested in coaching the Force. It was a great decision. In addition to the kids, the parents love him."

Corrin Knebel, whose son plays for the Force, was one of many parents who submitted testimony for Mazzucco's nomination.

"Frank is so dedicated to the kids," she said. "He is always positive and encouraging and pushes the team to do their best. He has dedicated so much of his time to the team even while working, traveling and having a family of his own.

"Frank is caring and compassionate and sets a great example for the boys of hard work and commitment. He is fair and above all wants the boys to love soccer and have fun. We came to Dublin United for Frank. He is the best and deserves this recognition."

bemerine@thisweeknews.com

@Brad_ThisWeek