Tyler Lowenthal (aka Coach Tyler) has been the Spirit League Athletic Director since the 2014 soccer season. Not only did he develop the curriculum for each sport, but he has been the first person in and last person out nearly every game day since that time; that’s nearly 300 game days! Tyler is known for his extraordinary ability to bring out the best in every athlete. Whether teaching our adult athletes the “art of teasing” or making a basket with his arms for a 6-year-old basketball player, he specializes in making each athlete feel valued. Tyler is retiring from the Spirit League Youth Program this summer and will be missed. We look forward to his future involvement in our Adult Program. Thank you, Tyler.
Tyler’s Q & A
How did you get started with Spirit League?
I began my journey with Spirit League after meeting with a parent from the school where I work. It just so happens that this parent was Melissa Cory, who was heavily involved in Spirit League as the Vice President. She proposed coming down and checking out the League. I remember it was soccer season and I immediately gravitated to the players and overall vision and mission of the League. I then met with Chuck Simon, the athletic director at the time, as well as Bill Bermingham, the League’s president at the time. We discussed the future and direction of the League. I shared my thoughts and what I felt I could bring to the table. After a nice dinner, I decided to come aboard as the new Athletic Director.
What do you love to do when you are not working with Spirit League?
Away from Spirit League, you can find me at the beach, hiking, golfing, cooking and having dinner parties with my friends and neighbors. I also love going to concerts and experiencing live music.
What is your favorite Spirit League sport to coach and why?
My favorite sport to coach is baseball. I grew up playing and have a strong passion for the game. I also find it one of the more challenging sports to coach due to the technical skills involved. There are many facets of the game, tiny little nuances that are important to learn in order to be successful. I think this is why I get the most enjoyment out of coaching baseball. It’s a hard game to play, so seeing our athletes excel throughout the season is quite rewarding.
Who is your favorite superhero character and why?
My favorite superhero is Batman. I love that he’s a normal human being, fueled by will and determination to better his community and ensure the safety of those around him. Sure he has a lot of money and gadgets, but no superpowers or altered sense of humanity. He’s just a man with a vision and the power from within to achieve his goals and defend his city.
What are your 3 top tips for the new coach coming in?
- Read the curriculum in advance and ask any questions you may have before the season or before each week’s session.
- Advocate and ask for help if you are unsure of how to work with particularly challenging behaviors.
- Be confident in your abilities. Provide continuous positive feedback and encouragement to our athletes. Be welcoming and build team spirit and camaraderie.
What would you like to see in Spirit League’s future?
I’d like to see Spirit League move to a state-wide, then national platform. I think Spirit League has tremendous potential to be that guiding force in building athletes with special needs’ confidence and feeling of being a part of something outside their typical experiences.
What is your next career adventure?
Rest & relaxation! The last 10 years have been nothing short of a blessing in my life. I’ve learned and experienced so much from both our athletes and families. It’s invaluable to me, but it’s time to explore other opportunities. I want to find love and have a family. As much as I’ve loved working in Spirit League, having some time dedicated to other avenues is something I’m looking forward to.
Can you share a funny League story with us or…an inspirational story with us?
One of my favorite stories was from my 4th or 5th year as athletic director. It was basketball season, and we had a new athlete in Division 3 (our youngest division). At the start of the season, this particular athlete would not get out of the car, let alone pick up a basketball. Week by week, we made slow progress; getting out of the car, stepping into the building, stepping on the court, holding a basketball, one on one passing the ball, and one on one dribbling the ball. By week 10, this athlete was engaged in the session and joining their team. It reminds me that we must all gauge success for our athletes differently and that patience and persistence can go a long way if we, as staff, coaches, mentors, and parents, all buy into what Spirit League is about, which is providing a safe and meaningful experience for our athletes to participate in sports and grow as individuals in a variety of ways. The diversity of the League is what makes it, and the more we embrace this as a community, even outside of Spirit League, the more we can build our tolerance and acceptance of individual differences. This athlete now participates in most, if not all, of our sports. I’m very proud of them and myself, for never giving up or writing off one’s abilities as a person.