Vote for the Braves Softball Coach of the Week: Week 9

Great coaches can instill a lifelong love of the game

Coaches teach young athletes about hard work, passion and good sportsmanship — skills that are just as important off the field — and can instill a lifelong love of the game.

This summer, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Atlanta Braves are teaming up to honor the youth baseball and softball coaches who are making a difference on the field and in their communities.

“We would like to recognize the outstanding coaches in Georgia providing our young athletes with exceptional playing experience. The most important thing to know is the fundamentals, but there is so much more than that,” the Braves said in a statement.

This week’s nominees have all demonstrated outstanding dedication to providing youth athletes with exceptional playing experiences. Check out their profiles and vote for your favorite. Not only will the winning coaches be profiled in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, but each will also receive a $100 gift card from Kroger and a baseball autographed by a Braves player.

Vote for your favorite coach

Voting is open through Sunday. The winner will be announced the following week on the Braves Coach of the Week page.

UPDATE: Voting is closed.

Credit: Contributed photo

Credit: Contributed photo

Kevin Cochran

Kevin Cochran stands out as a coach “because he spends countless hours teaching our softball players how to play, how to support one another, and how to overcome challenges on and off of the field,” nominator Dallas Barron wrote. “With every sponsorship, donation, and volunteer opportunity for learning, Kevin has emphasized the importance of his softball team, thanking each person for helping them learn and grow through softball.

“His passion for the sport and the development of our players does not stop with the end of the softball season,” Barron continued. “Kevin can often be found umpiring for other games, cleaning up the fields, and this summer he ran a four day softball camp — a first in a long time for our county program. To see the girls making friends while improving their skills was inspiring. Because of his dedication and drive, the future looks bright for our softball players.”

Credit: Contributed photo

Credit: Contributed photo

Stephen Orebaugh

Stephen Orebaugh is amazing — friendly, encouraging, kind, compassionate and motivating,” Merdith Conklin wrote in her nomination. “He believes in his team and his girls, and they believe in themselves and one another. He goes the extra mile always, for the girls, parents, other coaches. He’s built a team that’s a family, which is so difficult to do these days with youth sports being so competitive. Our team is competitive while having family, friendship, respect and love for each other.

Orebaugh is “good-natured and such a force to be around,” Conklin added. “He and his wife, Cydni, and their parents and children have created such a positive and warm environment for parents and players alike. My daughter has grown so much in her abilities on the softball field, but more importantly, her self-worth and confidence have come so far. I think you’d be hard pressed to find anyone more inspiring than Stephen for this award. He’s so deserving of the recognition, although he’d never ask or expect it.”

Credit: Contributed photo

Credit: Contributed photo

Anthony Whitley

“It was my pleasure to be an assistant coach on Anthony’s team,” Kyle Zaunbrecher wrote in his nomination of Whitley. “His commitment and passion to teaching our girls the skills and knowledge of the game was amazing to watch. However, even more importantly, he strived to make sure the girls had the most fun they could have on the ballfield.

“It was amazing to see how he worked with the 10U girls,” Zaunbrecher wrote. “His ability to inspire, motivate and improve their skill set was something I had not seen before. By far one of the best coaches at Sandy Plains Softball!”

Previous Braves Softball Coaches of the Week

Week 1: Wes Ward

Week 2: Jackey Felker

Week 3: Emily Barnard

Week 4: Tony Maldonado

Week 5: Nicole Black

Week 6: Kevin Pittman

Week 7: Josh Burris

Week 8: Garrett Roberts