Get to know: SJ-O's Kelly Steffen

Get to know: SJ-O's Kelly Steffen

Why she's Coach of the Year: Steffen guided the Spartans to the Class 1A team state title, the first for SJ-O since 2000.

Season highlights: "Obviously, winning the state championship was the biggest highlight you can get. I would say seeing the team come together as just one team and not a group of individuals, just watching that and watching them grow from year to year, and then seeing the senior leaders take them all under their wing. They all are just a big group of friends, and despite any differences they have, when they're on the track or on the bus going to meets, they're just one group that has one goal, and that makes it really fun."

A few of my favorites: A sporting event I need tickets to see is the Green Bay Packers in the Super Bowl. If we could change the leagues, put the Chicago Bears in the other league and beat them. That would be awesome. ... If I wasn't a coach, I would be performing on Broadway. I would have to become good at singing first. ... My go-to motivational tactics are being real with the girls is where I start, but showing them that I'm relaxed and I'm confident in them really goes a long way. And the girls kind of love when I say, 'Go Spartans!' They all make fun of that. The kids also found out this year I can do backflips, so that might be a bonus tactic. ... My favorite subject to study in school is math. I'm currently taking more grad classes in mathematics. ... My favorite athlete is Brett Favre. I'm clearly obsessed with the Packers. Since I was like 3 years old, he was my favorite. ... A movie I have to see is the original "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory." When I was an athlete, I would get pumped up by Willy Wonka songs. ... My favorite TV show is "Saved By The Bell" or "Full House." I grew up on those even though they were reruns when I was growing up. ... If I could have dinner with any three people from any time period, I would pick Alexander Hamilton, my parents when they were teenagers and Celine Dion.

What I enjoy most about coaching: "I think just being able to make an impact on the girls and guys, because I get to coach both, is really rewarding. I love being able to work with such a knowledgeable staff. It makes it so much more fun because you feel like you're accomplishing the sport, but also building the character of the athletes. And then the rewards of seeing (the kids) excited at the end, whether it's getting a PR or a certain place they wanted or a state title and watching all that hard work come together."

Honor Roll: News-Gazette Girls’ Track Coaches of the Year

YEAR COACH SCHOOL

2018 Kelly Steffen St. Joseph-Ogden

2017 Kelly Steffen St. Joseph-Ogden

2016 Gail Biggerstaff Salt Fork

2015 Tyler Germain Monticello

2014 Bonnie Moxley Mahomet-Seymour

2013 Jerry Hewerdine St. Joseph-Ogden

2012 Erica Kostoff GCMS