The 2023 Coach of the Year is Lauren Metz of Washington High School.
Lauren Metz has been the head coach of her varsity program for 10 years. She attends coaching conferences throughout the year and continues to attend dance classes as an adult to improve her own personal knowledge and skills to share with her team. She encourages positivity on her team by rewarding members who stand out for having a positive attitude at practices.
Coach Metz's teams have given back to their community through charitable efforts such as fundraising for brain cancer research and making blankets for their local children’s hospital. Though she lives 45 minutes from the high school and has a husband and two young children, she is dedicated to holding practices on most evenings and weekends during the season. Her spare time outside of practice is often spent analyzing performances and updating the team app with videos including her own commentary and commentary from judges to help improve their routines each week.
The team met two of their big goals for the season - qualifying for both IDTA and IHSA State Finals. Her dance team members have noted that she is always available for them outside of dance and encourages them with their school work and mental health.
Here are some words from her nominators:
"Coach Metz is a coach that if you need something or want to talk something out to someone, she is always someone you can talk to. She has helped people with their friendship problems, and sometimes even personal problems. She is just a coach that if you need someone, she is there."
"The girls' character is being developed in a positive way that will impact them for life even beyond high school. And that's what matters most to me as a parent."
"Every single dancer who has left our program can easily say that Coach Metz has made a positive impact on their life. She focuses on achieving our dance goals throughout the season, but she ultimately wants all of the dancers and coaches to have a positive experience. She is constantly handling herself with grace and takes pride in everything that she does. We have had numerous Pantherettes return to the program to coach, help out, choreograph, or come to our competitions. The reason they return is because Lauren has developed such an amazing program and they want to be a part of it even after they graduate."