An interview with Marcus Lozano, Fall 2016 Coach of the Season.
What first got you interested in working with individuals with disabilities?
My mother has been a special education teacher all her life. I was fortunate enough to interact with many of her amazing students and hear countless stories of how wonderful it was to work with them. This served as a seed that planted in my mind when I was young. I studied psychology, then went to graduate school for special education with a focus on autism. After my first day as an instructional aide, I knew that I chose the perfect field and realized this had been in me since I was young, watching my mother and listening to her stories. She was an amazing teacher and I hoped I would be able to impact the lives of my students the way that she did.
What is your favorite part of Special Olympics?
To see the smile on my athletes’ faces when they receive their medals is one of my favorite feelings. This is even more important for the students who are having more of a difficult time in the classroom or at home. Special Olympics gives them momentum to make positive changes in their life.
What is your sports background?
I’m a soccer player! I’ve been playing soccer since I was four years old and was offered a scholarship to play in college. Without a doubt it’s my favorite thing to do! The combination of a mother who taught special education and a father who was a coach gave me the perfect background to become a Special Olympics coach.
Why do you participate in training and education?
In coaching, just like teaching, you are always learning. I’ve been playing and coaching soccer for a very long time, but still learn new things at each coaching clinic. It’s always a great time to brainstorm with other coaches and teach them things that you know. If our goal as coaches is to improve the quality of instruction given to our athletes, it’s our responsibility to do everything we can to make this happen. Special Olympics New Jersey offers some amazing coaching clinics from experienced and successful coaches and they are FREE!
What is your best piece of advice about coaching Special Olympics?
It’s extremely important to do everything you can in order to provide the best coaching for your athletes. If you want to be a coach, then they deserve for you to do your best off the field to prepare, the same way they give their best on the field. You need to push your athletes at a comfortable pace. They need to enjoy coming to practice but at the same time it should be challenging for them. Lastly, it’s very important to make sure you are teaching sportsmanship and respect for the game. By always making sure our athletes are good sports, we are giving them another tool to be successful in life.
For his undying enthusiasm and dedication, Special Olympics New Jersey is proud to name Marcus Lozano as the 2016
Fall Sports Coach of the Season!