Coaching Special Olympics: Volunteering at its best

For those who have been looking for a way to give back to the community but just haven’t found the right cause, Special Olympics might be for you.

Bruce Cox coaches basketball for Special Olympics for the past 11 years. He answered an ad in the paper and has not stopped since.

“I have always wanted to coach,” he said. “And 11 years ago I saw an opportunity to do it for Special Olympics. It is the most rewarding thing you can possibly do. It just is a great experience that is hard to describe. Seeing the kids’ reactions on their faces and their gratitude.”

The organization is short a coach for their upcoming bocce ball season in March.

So what attracts coaches to this organization?

Debbie Beatty is a Special Olympics coach who has been involved with this organization in one way or another since 1987 and has coached bowling for the past three years.

“If the person wants to have fun and is lighthearted, then he can coach,” she said. “You don’t have to devote your whole life to it. It shouldn’t be all-consuming. Your time commitment should be a certain time one afternoon a week and you just make sure it is consistent.”

Beatty said the athletes are the greatest because they appreciate everything you do for them.

“I love the camaraderie the athletes have for each other,” Beatty said. “They cheer everyone. It is a lot of fun to be in this environment.”

Cox enjoys coaching the sport of basketball and said he had always wanted to coach.

“I am the basketball head coach for the Pahrump Special Olympics and now we have three assistant coaches that help me and 17 kids. I coach about two hours a week.”

The Special Olympics basketball season started in January and goes through March. Practice is at the old ninth grade academy gym.

He said he can always use more help.

Cox said for any Special Olympics coaches, experience is wanted but not necessary.

“I played basketball for 13 years in the Army and four years in high school but people really don’t have to have that much experience to coach Special Olympics, just enthusiasm. You don’t need any experience with special needs athletes either. I had none when I started.” he said.

Pahrump Special Olympics offers soccer, golf, basketball, bowling, bocce ball, track and field, softball and there are two athletes that swim. And all the sports take new coaches. Those interested can call Bruce Cox at 775-513-4280.

People interested in volunteering or coaching can find everything they need at: Practice for bocce will begin March 2 and go through April 27, followed by regionals on April 29.

Also one can contact Coach Bobbi-Lee Ward, Special Olympics area coordinator at or

Contact sports editor Vern Hee at

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