Coach Spotlight: Conner a CCDS great

Cody Pomeranz

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By Cody Pomeranz, ’11, Sports Section Editor

Few coaches in the state have enjoyed the kind of success Coach Steve Conner has had throughout his tenure at CCD.  Entering his 20th year at the school, Conner has coached three separate sports for a combined 60 seasons by the end of this school year.  Coach Conner is no stranger to success.  A former star gymnast at Miami University (Oxford), Conner has garnered an impressive resume as the head coach of the CCD gymnastics team and the girls track team, while assisting in football and boys track throughout his tenure at CCD.

Nearly two decades ago in 1990, Steve Conner was hired as the new head coach of gymnastics team and the middle school boys and girls track team, as well as an assistant to Park Gilmore on the middle school football squad.  Two years into his tenure, Conner moved up from middle school football to help out Coach Tim Dunn in the high school, where he remains today as the defensive playcaller.  However, where Conner has truly shined over these twenty years is in the winter, in his specialty sport: gymnastics.  Because of the significant difference in size, “it has been hard to compete against bigger schools,” said Conner.  Nevertheless, the team garnered the City Championship on the bars three years ago, and sent a gymnast, Emily Pruis ’09, to state for the first time in team history the same year.  Though the team has not always been successful, it has unquestionably served as the paragon of sportsmanship for all teams in the state, with the girls winning the Team Sportsmanship Award in 2003 and Conner garnering the Sportsmanship, Ethics, and Integrity Award last season, an honor given to one coach from each sport in the state annually.  Coach Conner has also had immense personal success.  To add on to his sportsmanship award, Conner has garnered two District Coach of the Year awards in the ‘01-’02 and ’04-’05 seasons , as well as a State Coach of the Year award in the ’03-’04 season.

Despite gymnastics being his strong suit, Conner has proved immensely successful at his other head coaching job: the girls track team.  When Conner arrived in 1990, he served as Coach Walsh’s assistant for 17 years until Walsh retired in 2007, while helping out Coach Brownstein with the boys and continuing his coaching of the middle school track squad.  In his first two years as the head coach of the girls track team, Conner won the league championship both years, as well as a district championship last season.

Among the myriad esteemed coaches in CCDS athletics, Steve Conner is certainly one of the greatest.  But his success is no secret.  Despite his undeniable aptitude for coaching, the modest Conner credits the bulk of his success with his surrounding cast at CCD.  “I’ve had great athletes and incredible coaches to work with,” said Conner.  “I have learned so much from my fellow coaches, both as an assistant and a head coach.  The group of coaches and athletes we have at the school make it all worthwhile.”  Despite his modesty, an invaluable quality that he has developed a reputation for, Conner has established himself as one of the best and most beloved coaches in CCD history.  It’s no wonder why countless athletes describe him as “the greatest coach they’ve had in their athletic career.”

Photo by Ilana Habib.