Coach Phil Homeratha to be Honored
With its 10th anniversary around the corner the NABI Foundation, organizers of the largest all Native American tournament for high school athletes, will honor the late Coach Phil Homeratha by dedicating this summer’s tournament to a coach who never missed a NABI in 9 years. “Coach Phil was truly the smile I looked forward to every summer, he never missed a NABI and during our first 3 years, when NABI was struggling, he was the voice of encouragement who kept us going. He never gave up on the athletes he coached and that dedication rolled over into NABI” says GinaMarie Scarpa Co-founder of the NABI.
A two time recipient of the NABI Leadership Award, one in 2009 as an individual for almost 3 decades of coaching and one with the Haskell Women’s team in 2010, Coach Homeratha continued to strive to take the Haskell’s women’s team to the next level and succeeded in 2010 by bringing the Haskell team to the University’s first NAIA tournament. Coach contributed their success to the team of talented players, most of whom he recruited through the NABI tournaments. Which why it is only fitting for NABI not to only honor Coach Homeratha but, also to rename the NABI Leadership Award to the Phil Homeratha Leadership Award.
“Coach P is Native Country’s own John Wooden. He will be remembered as one of the greatest coaches in college sports. He recruited me, my wife and three daughters to play at Haskell and played a significant role in all of us becoming outstanding student athletes. His dedication to Native athletes was also instrumental in making NABI athletes successful and through the NABI tournament’s Phil Homeratha Leadership Award he will forever be a part of NABI for years to come” says Ernie Stevens Jr. Chairman of NIGA and VP of the NABI Foundation.
For the past nine years NABI has presented this award to individuals who are making a difference in the lives of Native youth or have accomplished a great feat in the advancement of Native American athletes, as in the case of the 2009-2010 Haskell Women’s team. “Having it renamed after a man who gave so much and truly was the driving spirit behind NABI is truly an honor. I know Coach will be with us again this summer, his spirit help grow NABI and his spirit will continue to guide NABI” says GinaMarie. And to bring it all full circle, NABI and Haskell alumni’s Dominic Clichee and Justina George will be the lead in assisting NABI in bringing the dedication ceremony all together.
The dedication to Coach Homeratha will take place at the NABI Championship games Sunday July 15, 2012. NABI will be contacting his family in the hopes of having them join in this very special dedication.
For more information about the NABI Foundation, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit, and the NABI tournament, please log on to the NABI official website www.nabifoundation.org