Assistant COY Honorable Mention: Dawn Chuck

Many argue that having a combined team is better than having separate programs because you get an extra assistant.  Don't tell that to Dan Colella.  He's got Dawn Chuck as an assistant, and the dynamo performs like a team of assistants in keeping the Blue Devils moving up in the ultra-competitive ACC.  The Brown graduate and Jamaican Olympian even took the reins when Colella went under the knife a couple of summers ago.  Today she's being recognized as one of our Honorable Mention Finalists for Assistant Coach-of-the-Year in the Rising Assistant.  But lets have Coach Colella and Ted Minturn explain what she means to the Blue Devils.

Nomination from Dan Colella, Head Coach.
I like to think that Duke has made some really great progress over the last several years.  We have a number of challenges here at Duke ranging from partial athletic funding, to rigorous admission standards to having one assistant coach.  This is exactly why I am nominating Dawn Kane for this award.  We compete in the ACC where the majority of our competition has staffs of five to seven, we have Dawn.  Her abilities are numerous, from being a great on deck coach, mentor, administrator, recruiter to being a great friend to all that have the opportunity to work with her.  I have to say that a lot of our successes over these last several years are a direct result of her endless amounts of energy and enthusiasm.  A great example of this is when I had heart surgery two summers ago and she was left alone to run the team during the months of July and August.  Two months which as all of you know are extremely hectic with recruiting, planning for the coming year and of course coaching those that have elected to stay in the summer to train.  Needless to say what she accomplished during those two months was nothing short of miraculous.

Coaching goes well beyond knowing the X and O’s of the sport.  This is where Dawn shines with our team.  She has an incredible pulse on the team and is a never ending supporter and motivator to our athletes both in and out of the pool.  She is what every head coach is looking for in an assistant and then some.  It is with great pleasure that I am nominating her for the award of rising assistant.
Nomination from Student-Athlete:
Our careers as student-athletes are fleeting, lasting a short four years. In that time we aspire to reach our full potential both in and out of the pool. And while we may last but a short while, the program itself gains character and history with the coach as the face at the forefront. However, while Dan leads us forward, he will readily admit that our endeavors and achievements are not his doing alone, but rather have relied heavily on one other individual.

Dawn Kane isn’t merely a great assistant coach on deck; she excels in all aspects of coaching. While many teams have a multitude of assistants, Dawn fills the role on her own. Whether running multiple practice groups at once, handling the travel arrangements for both the men’s and women’s teams, or keeping a pulse on each of us to know of any struggles we may have outside of the pool, Dawn seemingly does it all. This in and of itself is what makes Dawn so incredible and such an invaluable asset to the program. As student-athletes, our success depends on so much more than just the hours that we spend in practice, and Dawn excels at coaching us on all fronts.

In my time here at Duke, I’ve gradually become aware of all of the ways in which she positively impacts the program as a whole and me as an individual. While there is the obvious and essential work done in practice, be it motivation, stroke technique, or managing individuals’ needs to most enhance their training, Dawn is always readily available. Through my own experiences, I’ve seen her willingness to work with me to ensure that I achieve at a high level despite limitations resulting from a persistent shoulder issue. Whether it’s adapting sets to provide me with a vertical kicking equivalent, making sure that I’m staying on top of my physical therapy, or learning to wrap ice on exactly the way that I prefer it, the list of ways that Dawn has helped me to excel beyond my greatest expectations is longer than I can possibly recall. And yet each of those things is time and effort put into one individual, namely myself, without even considering the extent of her impact when that’s taken 60-fold.

Dawn’s selflessness and willingness to do anything necessary to help us excel is astounding. Coaching us both in and out of the pool, pushing us, and even picking us up when necessary, she is relentless in her efforts. So while we may be limited in regards to the quantity of coaches, we certainly don’t lack for quality. And while I’ve had plenty of excellent coaches in my 13 years as a competitive swimmer, the extent to which Dawn goes above and beyond is unsurpassed. As such, I could never ask for an assistant coach that was more committed to the success of the team as a whole and every athlete as an individual.  – Ted Minturn


Related Articles