April 2017 Recipient

April | Blue KC Coaches with Character

Brian Driskell, head baseball coach, Grain Valley High School

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC) and the “C” You in the Major Leagues Foundation (CYITML) have selected Grain Valley head baseball coach Brian Driskell as the April Blue KC Coaches with Character honoree.

“I am humbled and honored, and I’d like to thank Blue KC and the CYITML Foundation for their efforts and desire to encourage others to make a difference in the lives of young men and women,” said Driskell, now in his third year as the head coach at Grain Valley. “There are so many that are deserving of this, and I cherish the opportunity to go through this part of my life as a teacher and coach. I’m blessed to have been positively influenced by more people than I could possibly name, and my desire is to be someone that can positively affect kids like so many have done for me.”

Selected from nominations submitted by fans, with one honoree announced each month throughout the 2017 MLB season, each Blue KC Coaches with Character honoree will be interviewed on 810 WHB, receive a VIP gift package from Blue KC and CYITML, and will be invited to meet Royals General Manager and CYITML Founder Dayton Moore at an event in September at Kauffman Stadium. Additionally, Blue KC will make a $2,000 donation to CYITML in honor of each selected coach.

“One key to being a character coach is to be a servant-leader,” Moore said. “Reading through what his assistant coach wrote in the nomination, it’s obvious that Coach Driskell is a servant-leader not only with his team and the school, but also in the Grain Valley community. We’re thrilled to help select Coach Driskell as our April Coaches with Character honoree.”

Known for his dedication to his players, school and community, Driskell was nominated by assistant baseball coach Dominic Giangrosso, who has coached with Driskell for four years.

“Coach Driskell has spent countless hours on the baseball field at Grain Valley High School and with the MoKan Giants summer program,” said Giangrosso. “His dedication is obvious to those at Grain Valley and includes everything from carrying equipment for players, picking up trash, weekly tutoring sessions, leading community service days, running youth camps, organizing team-bonding events, and attending almost every school event.”

According to Giangrosso, Driskell also “goes above and beyond” by investing time improving the facilities for all sports at Grain Valley. Within the last year alone, Driskell has been responsible for laying turf in the school’s indoor athletics facility, installing a clubhouse, making improvements to the playing field and securing the donation of a field tarp to provide a Major League experience for the students while saving the school thousands of dollars.

But it’s not just his time commitment that draws the admiration of others. It’s the positive example he sets that earns the real recognition.

“Coach Driskell demonstrates high character on a daily basis by the way he carries himself and the expectations he holds for his students and athletes,” said Giangrosso. “I have admired his ability to be selfless, to be caring and his relentless dedication to putting his students and community first. An opposing head coach once told me, ‘Brian is the guy we all want to be, but we don’t have the time or courage to be.’”

Throughout the season, Blue KC and CYITML will select five more area coaches to be recognized as Blue KC Coaches with Character. All honorees will be chosen based on nominations from the public, which will be accepted until early September.

“Our hope with the Blue KC Coaches with Character program is that we will be able to recognize local coaches who make Kansas City better through their efforts in advancing youth sports,” said Christina Lively, Blue KC’s Department Vice President of Marketing and Communications. “We’re thrilled to honor Coach Driskell this month. As the local health insurer, we are passionate about our community and enjoy giving positive recognition to those who feel the same.”