Old Colony’s athletic director says student leadership is key to success

Dec 31, 2011

For Matthew Trahan, athletic director for Old Colony Regional Vocational Technical High School, team success is earned with two forms of leadership – from the coach and the captain.

Trahan, 33, says the team captains are just as responsible as coaches for success as their dual leadership can determine the team’s ability to be win if they can work together.

“The most important thing for the captains to realize is that they don’t just have a title,” Trahan said. “They have to have something to do with the team because they are responsible for their team, as well as what happens on the floor.”

Last season, Trahan took home, for the district, the “Athletic Director of the Year Award” from the Massachusetts Secondary Schools Athletic Directors Association, which recognizes coaching excellence at both the local and state levels.

Trahan, who lives in New Bedford with his wife and three children, said he was shocked and honored by the award. He and his wife attended the ceremony in Hyannis last March.

"I got to sit with other athletic directors from all over and I kept thinking 'I work with some great people'," Trahan said.

As far as his qualifications for the award, Trahan said he just tries his best to build relationships between the student athletes and the coaching staff. Trahan has been coaching the JV boys basketball team for the past 11 years.

“I try to do everything as well as I can and get involved with the kids in the building to provide the best training I can,” Trahan said. “I like to get involved on the state-level, working with other coaches and students on how best to improve.”

The best training, he said, comes with the Captain’s Council he started four years ago.  With the Council, Trahan said he holds meetings with the team captains and coaches to discuss strategy and what the teams may need to work on.

After seven years as athletic director for the school, Trahan says these meetings have been one of the most influential elements of the teams’ development.

“We talk about how they expect the season to go and I try to make them realize they are an extension of their coach,” Trahan said.

Along with the Council, Trahan holds a regular Captain’s Luncheon, which he said has also been successful in getting the players immersed in the game.

This year’s teams, he said, have been especially productive with making the most of the meetings and pushing their teammates on the field or on the courts.

“This group of kids has really taken the ball and run with it,” he said. “You can really see that message of not taking the job as just a title. They feel like they have a voice and some control.”

Last year Trahan and 12 student athletes attended the 17th annual Sportsmanship Summit at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough where guest speakers and coaches from across the state worked with the student leaders on improving their game. This year, he said, he hopes to be invited once again.

“Ultimately its about working with great kids and coaches,” Trahan said. “When you’re surrounded by hardworking people it’s a more rewarding experience. I don’t plan on going anywhere.”