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Rays, Lightning join forces to help local athletes

TAMPA, Fla. -- Although the Rays and Lightning engage in different sports, they both play their games in the Tampa Bay area. Despite their differences, the Major League Baseball and National Hockey League franchises have joined together to get behind a good cause.

At a news conference at the Palma Ceia Golf & Country Club on Wednesday morning, executives from both organizations announced they have partnered with the Triad Foundation to help launch a local chapter of the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) by lending major financial support.

"Traditionally, we don't travel in the same lanes," said Rays team president Matt Silverman. "But in this case, we're coming together for a cause near and dear to both of our organizations."

PCA is a national nonprofit developing "Better Athletes, Better People" by providing all youth and high school athletes a positive character-building youth sports experience.

"Youth athletes and their families in our community will benefit from the way PCA partners with schools and youth sports organizations throughout the U.S. to train and educate coaches, parents and student-athletes," Silverman said.

Silverman will serve as chairman of the board of PCA-Tampa Bay.

Also on hand were Lightning vice president of community relations Elizabeth Frazier; PCA founder and CEO Jim Thompson, who is the author of nine books on youth sports; Hillsborough County Public Schools athletic director Lanness Robinson, who has spearheaded his organization's partnership with PCA to train hundreds of coaches and student-athletes; and Troy Fowler, who is an advisor to the board of the Triad Foundation, which is a private foundation that provides grants to various nonprofits.

PCA partners with schools and youth sports organizations to comprise group workshops, online courses, books written by Thompson and ongoing e-mail series that help create a youth and high school sports environment where the norms are:

• The Double-Goal Coach, whose goals are winning and the even more important goal of teaching youth life lessons through sports.

• The Second-Goal Parent, who focuses on life lessons, while letting coaches and athletes focus on competing.

• The Triple-Impact Competitor, a student-athlete who strives to impact sport on three levels by improving oneself, teammates and the game as a whole.

"I've seen firsthand the impact of PCA training in our schools," Robinson said. "Our coaches and student-athletes have improved their competitive performance while also focusing on character development and sportsmanship, or, in PCA's words, 'Honoring the Game.'"

Fowler noted that "character education is a critical component of youth and high school sports."

"PCA does an incomparable job of showing coaches, parents, student-athletes and administrators how to teach life lessons through sports while competing at a high level," Fowler said.

"I can't thank the Triad Foundation enough," added Thompson. "Their bold vision for PCA's impact in the public schools keyed our ability to establish PCA-Tampa Bay. And with support from the Rays and Lightning, we expect to grow very quickly, and that we will soon impact tens of thousands of Tampa Bay youth and their families."

Schools or youth sports organizations interested in partnering with PCA-Tampa Bay may contact PCA Partnership manager Matt Hayden at (478) 394-2865 or

Tampa Bay's PCA chapter is the organization's 11th nationally. Since PCA was founded within the Stanford University athletic department in 1998, it has helped develop "Better Athletes, Better People" for youth and high school sports coaches, parents, student-athletes and school/organizational leaders.

PCA is in partnership with nearly 2,000 schools and youth sports organizations nationwide and has conducted more than 13,000 live group workshops, which has impacted more than five million youth.

PCA has the support of elite coaches and athletes on a National Advisory Board, including national spokesperson and 11-time NBA champion coach Phil Jackson.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for

Tampa Bay Rays