By Ethan Colbert
Shortly before noon on Tuesday, November 20, it was announced that Bowling Green High School Athletic Director and Cross Country and Track and Field Coach Matt Chance had been named as the second-place finisher in the U.S. Cellular sponsored Most Valuable Coach Program.
With this honor, the Bowling Green R-I School District will receive a $20,000 grant in Chance’s name.
In a telephone interview with the Bowling Green Times after the announcement on Tuesday, Chance said he has asked that the grant be used to improve technology, specifically WiFi Access Points, within the school district.
The nationwide search for the Most Valuable Coach began earlier this fall when U.S. Cellular announced that it would be awarding a $50,000 grant and a Samsung Technology Package in the honored coach’s name.
In a previous interview, Chance said he first learned of the contest in late August or early September.
“It was one of those days where I was really, really busy with other things and I got this voicemail,” Chance said. “It was kind of vague and I thought it might be a telemarketer or something. So I didn’t think much about it.”
However, when contest organizers reached back out to Chance two weeks later, they assured him that it was a legitimate program.
On Tuesday, Bowling Green High School Principal Scott Mullins said he too was initially leery of the program.
“I think the first time any of us heard about it, I thought it might be some sort of a scam,” Mullins said.
Instead, the multi-week contest has helped to bring the community and the school district together, according to Mullins.
“It has been exciting,” Mullins said. “When Coach Chance made it from the Top 50 to the Top 15 it got even more exciting. It kind of galvanized us all.”
He added later, “This contest has added an extra dimension that we have enjoyed this semester and we get the chance to recognize one of our own as one of the best in the country.”
According to Mullins, the local high school will host a pep rally celebrating Coach Chances accomplishment at 1:15 p.m. on Monday, December 3. The pep rally will be held in the school gymnasium. The public is invited to attend.
In his interview with the Times, Chance said he appreciated having the public’s support throughout the contest.
“This entire process has been really neat,” Chance said. “It has been neat to connect with people, especially former runners that I have coached, who I have not heard from in a long time. It has also been really neat to see people reaching out to other people to encourage them to vote.”