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Friday, March 6 was the first day of official practice for spring sports and was one that many high school athletes were truly excited about. Some had been working out on their own or with some teammates in preparation for taking the field but there is nothing like that first day when the season gets into high gear. Then just a few days later came a halt due to the coronavirus epidemic and whether or not there will be any form of a season is very much up in the air.

It’s no different for coaches, who in many cases had been preparing for weeks and even months for the first days of practice. For most, the season started well before March 6 as they helped guide individual athletes during the off-season with everything from workout suggestions to navigating college recruiting. For coaches, the “season” is not just from the first day of practice to the last game but often a year-long odyssey as a mentor to high school athletes seeking their counsel.

So with baseball, lacrosse, softball and more shut down, what can these coaches do to fulfill their roles? At Donovan Catholic High School in Toms River, Athletic Director Joe Gomulka has developed a plan that will benefit coaches and, more importantly, student-athletes.

Gomulka has given his spring coaches until April 8 to complete seven online courses conducted by the National Federation of State High School Associations.
The topics include bullying, hazing and inappropriate behaviors, after school security, engaging effectively with parents, student mental health and suicide prevention and more. After coaches complete each free course they receive a certificate and Donovan Catholic will pay the first half of their spring coaches stipend if they complete the seven by the deadline.

Gomulka selected the courses based on the relevance they would play in today’s society and the benefits they would provide to coaches and Donovan Catholic student-athletes.

More information on the courses can be obtained at


Kevin Williams is the Director of the Shore Sports Network and can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @shoresportsman. Like Shore Sports Network on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest video highlights.


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