June 2024 Honoree Mike Espinosa | Blue KC Coaches With Character

June 2024 Honoree Mike Espinosa | Blue KC Coaches With Character

Espinosa has 42 years of teaching and coaching in the community.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC) and the “C” You in the Major Leagues (CYITML) Foundation have announced Winnetonka High School volleyball coach, Mike Espinosa, as the Blue KC Coaches with Character honoree for the month of June. A highly decorated coach, Espinosa has spent the past 42 years teaching, coaching and influencing the lives of student-athletes in the Kansas City community.

His head coaching journey originated in 1984 when he was hired to coach football at St. Mary’s High School. From there, the opportunities expanded and Espinosa quickly added to his resumé by coaching girls’ and boys’ basketball, as well as girls’ and boys’ volleyball, all in addition to teaching.

“Over the years, I have had more than 50 former players continue their love of volleyball at the collegiate level,” said Espinosa. “I have also had more than 25 players return to coach volleyball at either the elementary or high school level. Several dozen have also become teachers.”

During the beginning stages of his career, Espinosa was reminded about the importance of finding a profession where he could continue using his God-given passion to help build, grow and sustain success. This approach ensured he created a positive impact on others and he looked forward to waking up and going to work each and every day, especially during his time at Winnetonka High School, where he’s served for the past eight years.

“I have had the opportunity to work with some of the best student-athletes that our school has had to offer,” said Espinosa. “In my 40+ years, I have taught more than 6,000 students, and nearly half of those have ended up playing one of the sports I was coaching.”

“I believe that one of the most important standards that student-athletes need to possess is the combination of structure and discipline. Those two characteristics will ultimately impact all facets of their lives in high school and beyond.”

Mike Espinosa, Winnetonka High School
Photo from a game between the Kansas City Royals and the New York Yankees Tuesday, June 11 2024, in Kansas City, MO (Photo by Amy Kontras/ Kansas City Royals)

Espinosa does his best to live each day to the fullest. In doing so, he’s continuing to follow his dreams and has no regrets. This is the message he passes along to those he educates, both on the volleyball court and in the classroom.

“I believe that one of the most important standards that student-athletes need to possess is the combination of structure and discipline,” said Espinosa. “Those two characteristics will ultimately impact all facets of their lives in high school and beyond.”

As a family man, Espinosa attributes his career success to those closest to him. He’s a firm believer that if you surround yourself with good people, then great things can occur. Espinosa said his wife, Rena, is the best part of his life and that he inherited his ‘compassion’ from his mother and his ‘passion’ from his father.

A decorated coach, Espinosa was inducted into the Missouri High School Volleyball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2019. Shortly thereafter in 2021, he was a recipient of the National Federation of State High School Associations Coach of the Year award.

“In his esteemed coaching career, Mike has amassed more than 550 wins, helped more than 50 volleyball players earn a scholarship to play collegiate volleyball and impacted thousands of student-athletes, many of whom became teachers, coaches and lifelong friends,” said Espinosa’s nominator, Mary Beth Cooper. “He always attributes his success to his parents, to God, and to his wife for her continued support and strength. He took so many current and former players under his wings and positively influenced them along the way.”

“Coach Espinosa has flourished during his four-decade coaching and teacher career,” said Christina Lively, Blue KC Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. “His daily approach and determination to enhance the lives of everyone he interacts with is compelling and awe-inspiring. When we take a moment to reflect on everyone Coach Espinosa has positively impacted, it’s easy to see why he’s been selected as a Blue KC Coaches with Character honoree. Congratulations on a one-of-a-kind career and continued success in the future!”

“I’m very excited to be recognized as a Blue KC Coaches with Character honoree because this gives me the opportunity to represent my family, friends, assistant coaches and former players for all they’ve accomplished as well,” said Espinosa.

 

SOURCE: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC)