2016 Greatmats National Cheer Coach of the Year Amy Beth Klopf
Coleman, Michigan, Coach Amy Beth Klopf Honored for Service, Integrity
Dec. 30, 2016 -- 2016 was a big year for Cheer Coach Amy Beth Klopf of Coleman Junior Senior High School in Coleman, Michigan. In October, Klopf was nominated for the 2016 Greatmats National Cheer Coach of the Year Award due to the inspiration she provides to her students. Today, Greatmats is naming her as the 2016 Greatmats National Cheer Coach of the Year!
The nominator said, ''She is the most inspiring person in my life and in my teammates lives. When one girl is down in emotion or physically, she lifts the spirits and brightens the day!''
At first Klopf, who isn't about recognition, was upset that she was nominated.
''The girls do all the work, and if it wasn't for their love and dedication to this sport, I wouldn't love coaching it so much,'' she said.
However, after people came out of woodwork during the social media voting process and started sharing stories about her and spreading the word to vote for her, it all be began to sink in.
''I could not believe it,'' Klopf said. ''The shares and likes didn't just come from my girls, their families, or my family and friends, but from old teammates from high school and college; shares from the many exchange students that have been welcomed into our cheer family, from athletes I've had in the past and those that never even cheered for me. I have to say, I may have teared up a little reading the comments people had left.''
One of her former exchange students said, ''She is such a wonderful coach. She never treated me like 'just' and exchange student, but she made me feel that cheerleading is my family.''
A community member commented during the voting process, ''She is there for all the kids during and between seasons! She is always willing to help a student and even parent out anytime she can!''
Another student added, ''She was only my coach for one year but she was one of my most influential coaches ever in my life!''
By the time the voting process was complete, nearly 4,000 votes had been cast for 26 cheer coaches, representing 18 different states - and Klopf tallied nearly 19 percent of those votes, earning a spot in the finals alongside Maine Stars Cheer Gym Coach Danielle Estes of Eliot, Maine.
''You never know how much you mean to someone or what type of legacy you are leaving,'' Klopf said. ''But after this experience, I feel like I may be on the right road.''
The Driving Force
Klopf said her motivation to help others is ''knowing that this family that we have created has grown because of the dedication others have to not only be the best cheerleader, but the best person they can be.''
As a coach, she loves that moment when her team realizes that they finally hit that stunt, routine or tumbling pass that has been killing them.
''The look on their faces when they are the proudest they will ever be... it just means so much to me that everyday they come to practice knowing we are going to work hard to accomplish the goals they have set for themselves and their team,'' Klopf said. ''The girls and guys that I have had the pleasure to coach get undying love from me and know that no matter how long it has been since they've been on the field, court, or mat that they will always be mine.''
Klopf admits after reading the dedications to the other nominees, she is honored to have sat alongside them on the ballot as they are ''amazing representatives of this sport.''
Runner up Danielle Estes
Fellow finalist, Danielle Estes was nominated for her display of integrity, strength and knowledge of the sport. Her nominator said, ''She is a role model for all the cheerleaders , and I'm extremely proud that she coaches my daughter.''
''To be nominated was simply an honor,'' Estes said, noting that she too was brought to tears knowing that she means so much to her students and their families.
Teaching has been a dream of Estes' since age 5, but it wasn't until her second year of coaching that she realized just how much she was able to impact that lives of her students.
''I was teaching discipline to these young athletes that would carry them, hopefully, throughout their whole lives. Watching the kids and young adults succeed and the look they get when they master a new skill, or hit their elite stunt, just made me feel so warm inside because I helped them get there.''
Estes as been a cheerleader for 16 years and coach for 4 years, earning multiple national titles along the way.
As a competitor, Estes helped her team to a fourth-place finish in its division at last year's Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports Cheerleading Worlds. The following weekend, she coached her Youth Level 2 team to a Division 2 Summit Title.
''I love going to practice, and seeing them leave sweating their butts off because they just worked so hard,'' Estes said. ''I love going to practice and seeing someone struggling and having one of my leaders go and help them for five minutes. It inspires me to continue to teach them life lessons, on and off the mats.''
Her love for the sport and her students was evident in the comments by community members during the vote. One parent said, ''Dani has helped our daughter so much and given her the confidence she needs to go far!''
Another parent added that under Estes' instruction, her daughter, ''went from a shy and quiet girl to an outgoing confident cheerleader.''
Other comments included:
''Dani is the perfect balance between crazy praise and tough love.''
''She can motivate you to do anything with her crazy positive energy.''
''Dani has shown my daughter how to be a strong lady, fearless and caring towards others.''
''She is a mentor, a shoulder to cry on, someone who pushes these kids to be the absolute best versions of themselves. Most importantly she teaches them to never give up and that the work is always worth it.''
As the winner of the 2016 Greatmats National Cheer Coach of the Year Award, Amy Beth Klopf has earned $250 worth of Greatmats mats for her program, which she will be seeking input from her team on which mats to get.
''I have told the ladies that this is their award,'' Klopf said. ''I am only a strong coach because of them.''
Learn more about Greatmats' annual National Cheer Coach of the Year Contest.