Waterford coach earns Coach of the Year honors
The girls soccer coach at the Waterford School in Sandy has been recognized for the program’s success.
Tim Dolbin was recently named Coach of the Year for girls soccer by the Utah High School Athletic Association, then topped it off with a national recognition.
Dolbin, a Sandy resident, received the UHSAA award last October, shortly before winning his fifth state championship.
“When you think of how many coaches there at the high school level in Utah, it is quite an honor for our program,” Dolbin said.
Dolbin also received the West Sectional Coach of the Year award from the National Federation of High School Coaches Association. He was notified of the award in November, shortly after receiving the UHSAA award. The award honors his coaching skills from among coaches in Utah, Arizona, California, Hawaii and Nevada.
Dolbin has coached at Waterford for 15 years, including overseeing both the boys and girls soccer programs, as well as the racquetball team. He turned over the boys program a year ago to his assistant coach, but still handles the girls team and racquetball.
“It takes a lot to coach three sports in a school year,” he said. “You are committed every single day.”
Dolbin began his coaching career as an assistant coach at Lehi High School in 1990, shortly after graduating from BYU, where he played the sport.
“I decided long ago I would be a different coach than the ones I had while I was young,” he said. “Although I learned the basic skills and fundamentals, I never benefited from a good coach as a kid. They never spent a lot of time on strategy.”
“When I decided to be a coach, I learned how to coach by knowing what not to do,” he continued.
Waterford’s girls team wasn’t recognized by the UHSAA when Dolbin first began coaching the team. Because of the school’s size, it was considered a club sport. By the third year, Dolbin has convinced the UHSAA to allow his team to play at the 3A level to give his girls more of a challenge.
“We played for seven years at 3A and made it to the quarterfinals of the state tournament,” he said.
The following year, in 2006, the 2A classification was formed, and Waterford was moved into new classification, where it became the team to beat. Waterford held all challengers scoreless that year in the state tournament to win its first official title.
Waterford has won four additional titles since 2006, including one 3A title and being the two-time defending champions in 2A.
Dolbin is proud of the success of his program, particularly when you consider the players he can put on his team.
“Some people believe we have an edge being a private school,” he said. “They believe we can recruit any player we want. But quite the opposite is true. We have a lot of good players come to our school up to the eighth grade, then move to their local public school to play soccer with their friends.”
As such, Dolbin usually has only a handful of “very good” players and mixes those with a talent pool that includes some that have never played the sport before.
“I have a policy that no player is cut from my team,” he said. “If a girl comes out for our team, she is on it, and we work to develop her soccer skills. I have players that have never played before but developed enough they got playing time in the championship game.”