We are thrilled to announce that Mitch Cohen is the new Governing Board Chair for Positive Coaching Alliance. Below is a brief interview to help you get to know more about Mitch and his thoughts about what is ahead for PCA.

You were on the Board of legacy Coaching Corps before the merger with PCA.  How long had you been involved with Coaching Corps?

I have been a board member with Coaching Corps since 2011 and joined because of its amazing commitment to supporting youth sports in underserved communities.

You were actively involved in the lead up to the merger of PCA and Coaching Corps – What made you excited about the merger?

Both Boards saw the opportunity for two strong organizations, which had complimentary skills, to come together making 1 + 1 = 3. You have PCA with its incredible national reach, reputation for training that is instrumental to delivering a positive sports culture, and amazing resources. And Coaching Corps which has been able to build an organization that is a leader in using sports as a vehicle to teach life lessons in underrepresented communities. This merger has allowed us to take the best of each organization to create a new PCA which will have a greater impact for the benefit of kids and their families. I think it is just a home run.

What has your  experience been with youth sports? 

I grew up playing sports starting with football at the age of 5. From there I played multiple sports through high school and then Club sports at the University of Virginia.  

I have three adult kids and I coached them in every sport you could imagine a 7 year old wanted to play.   While I loved being a part of their lives through sports, I was very open to supporting them from the sideline and having others coach them as their skills developed in each sport. I appreciated the impact these coaches had as role models and mentors.

What is your favorite sport to play?

Football was my first and favorite (I grew up in Georgia), but eventually soccer became a passion. Right now I am addicted to golf which I picked up 10 years ago and I could play every day.  I am a huge sports fan and simply love all types of sports competition.

Who is your favorite sports team?

I have been in the Bay Area for over 30 years and am an avid fan of our local teams.  I root for the 49ers, Warriors, and sorry Wally Haas, the Giants…not the A’s.

What are your goals as the new Board Chair?

I believe the role of any Board Chair is to support the leadership team and keep the organization focused on its vision and mission.  At PCA we have a strong and experienced team who are on the ground working in communities driving change.  As Board Chair I want to harness the resources and expertise of the National Board, our Leadership Council, and our regional boards to help this team excel.  And I want to ensure we all stay focused on the prize, impacting as many kids in as many communities as possible.  

What are the most important strategic priorities for PCA over the next few years?

Our most important strategic priority is to work closely with our partners and provide as much support as possible.  Whether it’s a school district, a youth sports organization, or other entity, it is our goal to help provide the support they need to make sports positive and accessible.

We want to ensure that every child, regardless of social or economic circumstance, has access to a positive youth sports experience and we can not do that ourselves. We need to work with our partners, where they are, and help them as they are actually the ones delivering the real life experience on the ground.  

What makes PCA unique?

I see PCA as a very unique organization in youth sports because of our national reach, strong focus on partnerships, training through our unique workshops, and commitment to support a positive youth sports experience in all communities.  I also believe the organization has a culture of excellence and is distinguished by doing everything first class.  

Tell me more about how PCA is making it a priority to ensure access to a positive youth experience in all communities?

We want all kids to have a positive youth experience, and to do this we need to be flexible in how we support each community with whom we work. Some of our partners may simply utilize our training and resources, while others may need help from the ground up creating youth sports programs, recruiting coaches, and ultimately providing training.

If you could have dinner with one athlete, former or current, who would it be and why?

There are actually three: 

First, Henry Aaron.  I grew up in Atlanta watching him play and respected him as a great baseball player and also for what it must have been like being a black man in Atlanta in the era he played.   He is an  incredible person as well as one of the best baseball players ever.

The second is Phil Jackson who is on our National Advisory Board. My parents are native New Yorkers and when I was young I used to watch Knicks games and saw Phil play on those great teams. He was a tough player and became one the best coaches we have ever had.

The third person is Pat Tillman who died in the mountains of Afghanistan. He was at the peak of his sports career and then decided to change it all and go into the Army after 9/11.  He truly was a patriot.  

If you could get those three people around a table that would be a pretty interesting dinner.