Rashan Maddrey first got involved with Special Olympics New Jersey seven years ago through JESPY House. JESPY House is a program for adults with learning and developmental disabilities that provides life skills, job training, and health services for the more than 150 individuals who live there. Rashan is part of the staff that helps enable clients to live independently and gain competitive employment. While working in the program, Rashan gladly got swept into the world of Special Olympics. He began as an assistant coach for soccer, and has gone on to coach basketball, softball, track, bowling, bocce, volleyball and floor hockey.

Rashan is as much a believer in off-court improvement as on-court improvement. He has many lessons he tries to instill in his basketball team each season. He teaches them to do their best and show good sportsmanship to their opponents no matter what. Rashan emphasizes team character-building because he knows that is what will propel his athletes to greater heights in other facets of their lives and in the future.

There is no mistaking his athletes learn discipline, but Rashan’s style of coaching is anything but stern. “I like to teach my athletes to have fun and do their best, it’s important to me that they have a good time while working hard.” says Rashan. “The best part of coaching is being around the athletes because they inspire me. They have the power to turn my whole day around and put a smile on my face.”

Rashan’s most recent basketball season is truly a testament to his, and his team’s, character. Although his JESPY team did not win any of their four games in the tournament at Spring Games, they fought strong to get there. Despite the finish, Rashan always reflects on his Special Olympics experiences with utmost positivity. “It was just nice to see that despite the score, they were able to keep their heads held high and still have a good time.” Each game brought a new set of challenges, but Rashan and his team faced them with strength, togetherness and integrity. Having a group of athletes hold their heads high in spite of losing is an accomplishment any coach would be proud to see.

Special Olympics is very important to Rashan because it enables him to be a positive influence in his athletes’ lives. “Having the opportunity to make someone smile or just brighten up someone’s day is truly gratifying,” Rashan shares. He is always grateful for the opportunity to make his athletes’ days more full and positive. Special Olympics New Jersey is continually grateful for the efforts and spirit Rashan brings to the training and competition environment. Rashan is a bright light to the Special Olympics community. For his passion and commitment to the mission and his athletes, we are incredibly proud to name Rashan Maddrey the 2016 Spring Sports Coach of the Season!

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