by: Carlos Chicas
Photos: JBU Athletics
Head John Brown University women’s soccer coach Kathleen Paulsen has been selected to represent the Sooner Athletic Conference as its nomination for the NAIA’s annual Coach of Character Award, the conference office announced on Monday (Aug. 13) afternoon.
The annual NAIA Coach of Character award is given to a head coach of an NAIA institution who has been outstanding in embracing the five core values of the NAIA Champions of Character initiative, using methods of teaching character through sport, and in community leadership through volunteering or service.
“Coach Paulsen is an excellent coach, and she has earned the respect of her players through her dedication to them and to the team,” John Brown Director of Athletics Robyn Daugherty noted. “She sets high expectations for her players both on and off the field, and then provides the support and counsel for them to meet those standards. Even with a large roster, she finds time to meet one-on-one with each player monthly to discuss life, challenges, school and soccer.
“Kathleen exemplifies how we want JBU coaches to teach and lead student-athletes. She is shaping young women’s lives through her gift of coaching and we are proud to have her on our staff.”
Now entering her sixth season at John Brown in the 2018 campaign, Paulsen has instituted a number of initiatives at the helm of the women’s soccer program. Efforts such as “Thankful Thursdays” where the team discusses personal blessings to multiple preseason missions trips to various locations from Penitas, Texas to Guatemala and Brazil, the women’s soccer program hosts soccer camps, participates in building projects, feeds the homeless and works with special needs children in these all-encompassing adventures seeking to put others first.
This past spring, the program worked with elementary school children in Colcord, Okla., where the student-athletes and coaching staffs invest in the children’s lives through activities and sports.
“Athletics creates opportunities to have teachable moments that translates beyond the student-athletes’ playing career,” admitted Paulsen. “Our program believes that if you are faithful in the little things, you will be faithful in much and the habits created on the field will translate to life off the field. As a result, the core values of our program are shaped around building women of integrity who engage the world around them with strength, dignity and grace.”
Beyond shaping incredible student-athletes off the field, Paulsen has garnered incredible levels of success since her coaching career began in 2013. In five seasons, she has an overall mark of 74-20-9 (.762) and has boasted four NAIA All-America honorable mentions, 15 NAIA Scholar-Athletes, 32 All-Sooner Athletic selections and has been named the SAC Women’s Soccer Coach of the Year in each of the last two seasons. The Littleton, Colo. native has guided the Golden Eagles to two appearances in the NAIA National Championships (2013, 2016) and has led the program to five consecutive appearances in the SAC tournament title match, grabbing a pair of tournament championships to accompany a pair of regular-season crowns (2015, 2016).
Paulsen will now be considered at the national level, as part of the NAIA’s National Awards Day on Sept. 15, 2018.
Both teams open at home Friday August 24th , the women’s team will face Bellevue at 5:30pm and the Men’s team will face Midamerica Nazarene at 7:30pm.