For Dr. Rick Pribyl, an English teacher and soccer coach at Blue Valley Northwest High School and April’s Blue KC Sporting Samaritan, the easiest way to understand his unique impact is to read quotes from his former students.
“Helpful and compassionate.”
“I have never learned more than in his class.”
“The most awesome, kind-hearted person I have ever met.”
Galal Baki, a father of three former student-athletes coached by Dr. Pribyl, was inspired to nominate him as a Blue KC Sporting Samaritan because of the way he treats students as individuals. Baki describes Pribyl as “dedicated” and “caring.”
“My sons say he is one of the smartest, most knowledgeable men they have ever met,” said Baki. “[Coach Pribyl] was transparent and brave when critical conversations needed to be had.” Baki went on to say that students who spend time with Dr. Pribyl might start out in his class or on his team as boys and girls, but they leave as mature young men and women.
Named the 2013 Girls National High School Coach of the Year by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, Pribyl is no stranger to high praise. For 30 years, Dr. Pribyl has been coaching girls and boys soccer, so in total, he’s now in his 61st coaching season. He said he’s thrilled to have guided more than 2,400 student athletes to success over the years.
“It pleases me to know that a vast majority of them are now successful professionals in their occupations, have children of their own and hopefully are the next core of coaches who care not only for the game, but for the happiness the game has brought them,” he says.
Dr. Pribyl strives to find the balance between pushing his students and student-athletes to achieve their best while making it fun. It was a lesson he was taught as a college athlete playing for the St. Louis University Billikens from 1966 to 1970.
“My coaches taught me to always enjoy and have fun playing the sport, and I strive to make that happen every day,” Dr. Pribyl says.
When presented with the honor of being April’s Sporting Samaritan, the only words a humble and gracious Dr. Pribyl had to say were, “thank you.” We are sure that his thousands of students over the years would say the same to him.
Nominate a Sporting Samaritan. Remember you must be 21 or older to submit a nominee.