A coach’s journey to success


Images courtesy of Rich Sandoval and Charles Simatic.

DJ Degand, Staff Reporter

At RB there are many sports and clubs to join with many different coaches and sponsors. While some coaches work at RB or are part of the community, there are some who live and work outside of this school. There are also coaches who don’t coach at any school but instead do it as a hobby.

Charles Simatic, a coach at Oak Park-River Forest High School and a gym teacher at Horace Mann and William Beye Elementary Schools, has been coaching volleyball for 13 years. Simatic has coached at other schools, such as Oak Park-River Forest, and many different club teams, or travel teams. Coaching wasn’t his lifelong dream, but a lifelong friend’s instead.

“Working late one night, a friend who had coached me as a younger man asked me if I would like to coach,” said Simatic. “I responded yes, and never looked back.”

Simatic started his coaching career at First Alliance Volleyball Club in Lyons in 2006. Besides his one friend as a reference for coaching, his main role models were a little different than those of any other coach.

“Bad coaches,” said Simatic. “Bad coaches made me want to create an experience totally opposite from mine.”

Simatic’s main philosophy for coaching goes beyond the court.

“[I try to] coach for the growth of mindset. Not only athletically, but also for growth as a human being,” said Simatic.

Rich Sandoval, Head Coach for the travel baseball team Windy City Fever, has been coaching baseball for 11 years. He has never coached at any high schools but has coached both summer and fall baseball teams in a few different leagues. His main inspiration when he began coaching was not from others, but for others.

“I did it for the kids,” said Sandoval. “My two kids wanted to play, and I wanted to be involved, so I became a volunteer.”

Sandoval started his coaching career in a fall ball league in his neighborhood in 2008. One of his main role models was a close family member with plenty of experience.

“My Uncle Steve inspired me to coach,” said Sandoval. “He was a basketball coach for many years, and also a baseball coach for a semi-pro baseball team in Chicago.”

Besides coaching, Sandoval has a full-time job in marketing and sales for a soda distribution company. His coaching philosophy is meant to help others get along and promote a good adult life.

“[I want to] promote positive and supportive relationships, and allow the opportunity for independent achievements,” said Sandoval.

Sandoval has been involved in baseball for about 30 years, and his favorite memory was when his 15U fall ball team won their first championship after previously losing it the last two seasons.  However, his plans for another season might end after this upcoming summer.

“I think after this season, I’m gonna call it quits,” said Sandoval. “Since the majority of my team right now will be graduating high school, there won’t be much for me to work with, so I’m hoping this next season will end my [coaching] career on a high note.”