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The Aquilian

Coach Tarpey’s take on coaching

Coach Tarpeys take on coaching

It was a hot summer day nearing the end of August. Mr. Kevin Tarpey was running his freshman soccer tryouts as usual. He made kids run the two-mile and do all sorts of core workouts, yet he didn’t succumb to the kid’s pressures of telling him to do it with them. He wasn’t afraid of a couple of pushups. Mr. Kevin Tarpey, a math teacher and a soccer and baseball coach at Gonzaga College High School, has always been known to be athletic. He played three sports throughout high school— soccer, baseball and basketball. He played soccer and baseball for all four years and basketball for two.

Mr. Tarpey teaches in the Math Department. Pho taken by Alex Touomou/Photo II

As a high school soccer player, he played what he called the “old-time position,” also known as a sweeper or center back. 

“I had no touch, but I was athletic enough. I could clear the ball,” Mr. Tarpey said.

On the baseball field, though, Mr. Tarpey found himself. It was his primary sport, and he had the most progression throughout his high school career.

“I was a journeyman and came on as a second baseman [but] then had to change to outfielder [where] [I] finally found my spot at left field,” Mr. Tarpey said.

His spot at left field allowed him to get awards for second-team Philadelphia all-Catholic designated hitter and a Catholic League Baseball championship. He made a difference on his team, which could be credited to his walk-up song. 

“My walk-up song senior year was ‘John’ by Lil Wayne featuring Rick Ross,” Mr. Tarpey said.

His baseball career allowed him to get some offers to play at smaller schools. Instead, he played club baseball his first year at Penn State, where he had his best season but decided not to continue playing. Mr. Tarpey’s vast experience in sports led him to become a coach here at Gonzaga, which started in 2019 as a head coach for freshman soccer and freshman baseball.

“What I know from the game as a player and experiencing that versus what I see as a coach is completely night and day,” Mr. Tarpey said.

His experiences help, but there are two sides to a game: the player and the coach.

“It’s so much slower and easier to see as a coach. So being able to implement some of the things I’ve learned or even pass them on is amazing,” Mr. Tarpey said.

These techniques play into his style. He coaches with old-school methods but adds his twists to them.

Mr. Tarpey describes his style of coaching as “older but adapting. I’d say I’m not the type to say my way or the highway […], but some things that you guys say definitely aren’t true.”

Other coaches commented about his coaching style and athletic ability, including Mr. Jonathan Ruano, head coach of JV soccer at Gonzaga.

“Coach Tarpey does a wonderful job with the freshman team […]. His most impressive athletic feet was two years ago in the faculty football game versus the seniors,” Mr. Ruano said.

Vincent Caspari, now a senior, also had some words about how Mr. Tarpey coaches his freshman teams. Vincent played on Mr. Tarpey’s first freshman soccer team at Gonzaga in 2019.

“It was a pleasure playing under his leadership,” Caspari said.

Mr. Tarpey is a new coach but a thrilling one. He’s built with character, and that’s due to his Philadelphia upbringing, which is filled with “Dreams and Nightmares” by Meek Mill and all these different sports, as that song is considered the “Philly anthem.” He’s also a bit of a dancer, saying he can get sturdy.

“This is an interview that isn’t even a video, so you can’t show people, but I’m killing it right now,” said Mr. Tarpey, referring to getting “sturdy.”

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