Sampson named Coach of the Year

Dance has been a part of Ann Sampson’s life for years.  Her passion grew for the performing art as part of the Pocahontas Area High School when she was a teenager.  In 1993, as an adult resident of the Eagle Grove area, she found her way back to dance, but this time not as the dancer...as the coach.  

After moving to Eagle Grove, Sampson noticed the high school had no dance/drill team and decided to approach the administration to see if they would allow her to form one.  They agreed.  Ann spent the next two years volunteering all of her time and efforts and soon put together The EGHS Golden Stars Drill Team.  It was the start of what would become a long-standing tradition of excellence, dedication, and success.

In 2007, with one son already at home and the addition of triplet girls, Sampson decided to take a hiatus from coaching.  The Golden Stars continued on under new direction, but five years later, Sampson returned, overwhelmingly welcomed back to her position as head coach by a new team of Stars...and the rest, as they say, is history.  Under her direction, the Stars have brought home dozens and dozens of trophies over the years from the nation’s largest dance competition held in Des Moines each November/December.  These awards are earned not only by the hard work and commitment to the sport made by the dancers, but also by Coach Sampson who leads them on their path to STARdom.  But it’s not just success on the dance floor Sampson is teaching them, it’s life lessons, confidence, and cooperation skills they will take with them and use for the rest of their life.

It’s these kinds of lessons the Stars have learned from Coach Sampson that earned her the 2019 Character Counts! Coach of the Year Award from the Iowa State Dance and Drill Team Association (ISDTA).  The award was presented to her during the State competition awards ceremony held Thursday, Dec. 5.  Sampson was shocked and caught off guard, never suspecting it would be her.

Mollie McGrath, a former Golden Star and a first-year assistant coach for the team this year, nominated Sampson.  

“I knew the second I saw that the application for the award was up that I was going to nominate Ann. She has poured endless time and energy into this program and building it to where it is today and should be recognized for it,” said McGrath.  “It was so easy to write her nomination. She helped me develop into a young adult and helped shape me to be the person I am today. Her fearlessness and perseverance are second to none. With her as a coach when I was in high school, I knew I wanted to be like that as I got older so I always watched how she reacted to different scenarios and how she interacted with the public. They always say to surround yourself with the people you want to be like, right? That’s exactly what I am doing and she’s at the top of my list. I am beyond thrilled she has taken me (and the other assistant coach Sydney Hill) under her wing to assist with the team. It’s quite an honor in my book! I hope to be half the person Ann Sampson is as I continue to grow into coaching and as an adult.”

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