#4 | Blue KC Coaches with Character
Dave Youker, Olathe East Swimming & Diving
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC) and the C You in the Major Leagues (CYITML) Foundation have announced Olathe East High School boys and girls swimming and diving coach Dave Youker as the Blue KC Coaches with Character honoree for the month of July.
A staple at Olathe East since its opening in 1992, Youker has enjoyed a thriving 31-year coaching career and helped hundreds of high school student-athletes accomplish what they never thought possible in the swimming pool.
“With so many great, fond memories over the years, it is impossible to narrow it down to just one of my most proud moments,” said Youker. “However, the thing that keeps me going is seeing kids achieve their goals and reach their full potential, regardless of their ability.”
Youker first coached the boys swim and dive team at Olathe East, beginning in 1992, and then added the girls swim and dive team to his resume in 2005. Additionally, he has coached middle school football, track and cross country. His love for sports, along with his ability to get the most out of his student-athletes, have led to ultimate success and helped create lasting memories for him and his family.
“One of the best parts about coaching at Olathe East is the emotional attachment that I have grown to appreciate throughout the course of my career,” said Youker. “I try to create habits of working hard, expecting to do your best, avoiding gaps in training and learning how to be a good teammate, which all help with moving forward in the life paths of student-athletes.”
In order to be a high school coach for more than three decades, especially all at the same institution, there has to be certain levels of trust, expertise, guidance and wisdom that is noticeable from afar. Youker possesses those traits and many others, which make him a stand-out figure in the local community. He believes the number one job of a coach is to create memories for student-athletes, and he’s excelled at that over the years.
“Consistency is the top ingredient when it comes to being successful,” said Youker.
His ability to set challenging, yet realistic expectations at the beginning of each swimming and diving season help motivate his student-athletes to reach their full potential, and they pull that off while knowing Youker’s helpful and caring personality is fully supporting them.
“Mr. Youker has touched countless lives in high school swim during his tenure at Olathe East,” said Youker’s nominator, Brooke Poindexter. “The number one goal he instills in his swimmers is how to become something bigger than yourself. He explains to them that they determine how much they put into swim, and their preparation will ultimately determine their results. He wants each individual swimmer to feel that they did their personal best in every season. Raising young people to become strong, capable, responsible adults takes more than just parents and teachers. We are thankful for his commitment to our swimmers.”
“Any time an athletic program can have a long-standing leader, such as Coach Youker, it’s obvious he’s doing things the right way to help educate and enhance the lives of the next generation,” said Christina Lively, Blue KC Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. “It’s evident Coach Youker understands the complexities and challenges of high school swimming and diving. His ability to develop his own personal methods for helping his student-athletes excel is inspiring. We’re thrilled to highlight his accomplishments and successful ongoing career and look forward to many more great stories in the years to come. Congratulations!”