Coach of the Year

What It Means

The Coach of the Year is an integral part of the IYCA’s recognition program. These coaches represent some of the industry’s best coaches and trainers. They may be new to the Youth Fitness Industry and are already making an impact—or they may be veterans, providing the solid foundation for many others to learn from. They exemplify the core values and principles that the IYCA stands behind. They are known by their peers as game changers.

Characteristics of the IYCA COY

  • Innovative
  • Motivational
  • IYCA credential holder or contributor for the IYCA
  • Coach of Distinction
  • Engaged and in good standing with the IYCA
  • IYCA ambassador in their community
  • Leader and mentor
  • Lifelong learner
  • Has a positive influence in the community

2015 Coach of the Year

Shane Fitzgibbon

2015 Coach of the Year

Shane Fitzgibbon is a Strength and Conditioning coach, based in Galway, Ireland. He is a professional martial arts instructor and, as a retired athlete from this field, is a 6-time World Champion in Taekwon-do & Kickboxing. Representing Ireland in European, Intercontinental, and World Championships, Shane has competed all over the World, e.g. Ghana, South Korea, Nigeria, Canada, Croatia, Germany, etc… amassing an impressive twenty World-medal tally. The 6th degree black belt in Taekwon-do has coached numerous Irish, British, European and World champions to success.

Holder of a B.Sc. from National University of Ireland, Galway, Shane has always had a passion for exercise and qualified as a gym instructor with ITEC in 2001. In the years that followed, Shane has been busy coaching his martial arts students as well teams and individuals from other sports. As well as obtaining National Certificate in Strength & Conditioning, Shane is Functional Movement Screening(FMS) certified and a member of the prestigious Register of Exercise Professionals Ireland (REPS Ireland). Shane is a also a member, in good standing, of the Irish Sports Coaches Institute (ISCI). Shane came across the IYCA two years ago while researching educational sources to further his knowledge in the area of youth coaching. He is currently a Youth Fitness Specialist Level 3, Speed and Agility Specialist, Kettlebell Instructor, Olympic Lift Instructor, Youth Nutrition Specialist, Resistance Band Instructor, and High School S&C Coach, as certified by the IYCA. Not one to be satisfied with his current level of knowledge, Shane has enjoyed attending seminars and learning directly from two key IYCA contributors, Mike Robertson and Wil Fleming, as well as Mike Boyle, and others.

As well as teaching martial arts classes, Shane coaches young people from a wide variety of sports. He is very diligent in improving their fundamental movement skills and physical literacy, as this has a direct bearing on all movement capacities and sporting attributes.

In 2012, Shane authored the highly acclaimed book, “Training and Optimal Health for Sports”, which is available from Amazon, and the dedicated site www.trainingandoptimalhealth.com In it, he has shared twenty years of experience training and competing at the highest levels of his sport as well as the secrets of his longevity, not having retired from competition until 38, a double World Champion that year. Shane’s dedication and skills have recently come to the attention of, not only the IYCA, but also the NSCA, who have invited him to present at a symposium in 2016.

Previous Coaches of the Year

Dave Gleason

Dave Gleason
2010 Coach of the Year

  • Owner, Athletic Revolution South Shore
  • IYCA Director of Youth Performance
  • IYCA – Youth Fitness/Conditioning Specialist – Level III
  • IYCA – Youth Speed and Agility Specialist – Level I
  • IYCA – High School Strength and Conditioning Specialist
  • 2010 IYCA Trainer of the Year
  • Athletic Revolution International Director of Programming
  • Co-Author IYCA Game Play Performance
  • Co-Author IYCA Big Book of Programs
  • Co-Author IYCA Complete Athlete Development
  • Co-Author IYCA Youth Speed Development

Dave Gleason is the Owner of one of the top youth training facilities in the world, Athletic Revolution, and has worked with thousands of athletes ranging from the shy six-year-old to all-stars at the professionals level. He’s also an acclaimed international presenter on youth fitness and is widely regarded as the industry’s go-to guy for coaching kids ages 6-13.

Dave has played a pivotal role in the development of the assessment and programming systems for Athletic Revolution International as well as new franchisee training and support. Athletic Revolution and its programming are now recognized in over 19 countries around the globe.

Dave is the co-creator of the popular IYCA Youth Speed Development and Complete Athletic Development (CAD) products. Dave’s book contributions include the IYCA Youth Fitness Specialist Level 1: Essentials of Youth Conditioning and Fitness (Second Edition) text, IYCA Concepts of Youth Athletic Assessment, and How Much Does A Zebra Weigh by Kyle Brown.

Dave is a consultant to Reebok International and Adidas (USA) and is an adviser to trainers, coaches, physical educators, youth sports organizations, and public school systems K-12 throughout the world.

Wil Fleming

Wil Fleming
2011 Coach of the Year

Owner of Force Fitness and Performance and Athletic Revolution Bloomington, in Bloomington, IN. Force Fitness opened just over 3 years ago and is already one of the most successful training facilities in the Midwest with nearly 400 clients, 25 athletes earning Division I scholarships and nearly 45 athletes moving on to compete at the NCAA level in Division I, II, III.In addition to being a business owner, Wil was one of the authors of the IYCA’s Essentials of High School Strength and Conditioning, along with other noted performance experts Eric Cressey, Mike Robertson, and Dr. Toby Brooks. Wil is also the author of the Olympic Lifting instructor Course from the IYCA, in which he details his progressions for teaching the Olympic lifts to athletes of all levels.Wil earned a bachelors of science from Indiana University in Nutrition Science. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist from the NSCA, a Youth Performance Specialist from the IYCA, and a level 1 performance coach from USA weightlifting.

Prior to being a business owner, he was an Olympic Trials participant, a division 1 track and field coach at Indiana University, an all-American athlete, and the school record holder at Indiana University as a hammer thrower. Wil was a resident athlete at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs for Olympic weightlifting after winning the Jr. National Championship in the same sport.

Melissa Lambert

Melissa Lambert
2012 Coach of the Year

  • Clinical Manager of the Extended Day Treatment Program at the Village for Families and Children
  • Child and Adolescent Therapist specializing in sport performance
  • Creator of Athletic Mindset Mastery
  • Columnist for IYCA, Coaches BC Magazine, Athletes Acceleration and Today’s Parent
  • Director of CT Coast Soccer Performance Training Clinic
  • Member of the Board of Experts for the International Youth Conditioning Associated
  • Co-creator with Liz Way of “JUMP” therapeutic jump rope program for residential children
  • Certified agency trainer for Therapeutic Crisis Intervention
  • Certified Life is Good Playmaker out of Boston
  • Certified in Seven Challenges for adolescent substance abuse

Melissa Lambert, M.Ed, LPC, YFS2, YNS, HSSCS, is a clinical manager for a child and adolescent group therapy program at The Village for Families and Children in Hartford, Connecticut. Melissa specializes in child and adolescent psychology with certifications in adolescent substance abuse, sport psychology, Life is Good Playmakers, and Therapeutic Crisis Intervention. She graduated with a Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Springfield College and was a four-year collegiate soccer player earning All-New England and All-Region accolades.

She is currently on the board of experts for the IYCA, was member of the year in 2012, is a columnist and presenter for the agency, and is creator of the product Athletic Mindset Mastery. In addition, Melissa is a columnist for Athletes Acceleration, Coaches BC magazine, and Today’s Parent. Her experience includes working inpatient, partial-hospital programs; doing in-home therapy; and facilitating parenting classes for children with Autism. She incorporates the use of play in working with children and collaborates with Dr. Kwame Brown of Move Theory on utilizing The FUNction Method with children who have experienced trauma, and she currently runs a jump roping program in the residential facilities. Melissa is also the Director of the Performance Training Clinic for Connecticut Coast Soccer and has teamed up with Dave Gleason in training elite female soccer players.

Phil Hueston

Phil Hueston
2013 Coach of the Year

Phil Hueston is the co-owner of All-Star Sports Academy and Co-Head Coach at Athletic Revolution – Toms River, NJ. He has been, and continues to be, a sought after Sports Performance Trainer and Consultant to teams and athletes at the Youth Sports, high school, collegiate and professional levels.Since his entrance into the fitness industry in 1998, he has questioned the status quo, challenged the conventional wisdom of the fitness industry and used the answers to make his clients better, bigger, faster and stronger.Not just another pretty trainer, Phil has been called a “master motivator and trainer of high school athletes” and a “key player in the Youth Fitness industry.”

He works with athletes, “mathletes” and “non-letes” from 6 to 18, helping them all reach their performance potential and maximize their “fun quotient.”

Phil recognized early on that the ONLY task of Sports Fitness Professionals is the improvement of their clients’ sports performance and their enjoyment of the process! He has worked with 1000’s of athletes, assisting them on their journeys to collegiate sports, Division 1 scholarships, pro and semi-pro sports careers and even the first round of the NHL Draft.

Recently, Phil co-authored a book, “The Definitive Guide to Youth Athletic Strength, Conditioning and Performance,” which reached #1 Best-Seller status in 2 separate literary categories.

David Kittner

David Kittner Bio Picture
2014 Coach of the Year

  • IYCA Youth Fitness Specialist Level 3 IYCA Youth Speed and Agility Specialist IYCA Youth Nutrition Specialist
  • Winner of Everest Academy Adult Fitness Award for contribution to youth fitness.
  • RBC Run for The Kids Run Ambassador
  • Athlete Development Coach for Maverick Field Hockey Club 2014 Ontario Summer Games Regional Manager Central East Girls U16 Field Hockey Creator of Community FUN at ONE
  • Youth Fitness Contributor for CTV Ottawa Morning Live Today’s The Day Youth Fitness Contributor for Cogeco TV’s Wallis On Wellness International Best Selling Author International Fitness, Coaching and Teacher Workshop Presenter Youth Fitness Contributor for Ontario Minor Hockey Association’s Hometown Hockey Magazine Youth Fitness Contributor for Peterborough Sports Xpress Lebert Fitness Master Trainer Dynamax Medicine Ball Master Trainer TRX Suspension Qualified Instructor TRX Rip Trainer Qualified Instructor Released Youth Strength and Conditioning DVD with Lebert Fitness
  • Certified Canadian Fitness Professional
  • Certified Jump Rope Instructor SafeTALK Certified
  • ASIST Certified
  • Canadian Mental Association SafeTALK Trainer
  • Volunteer Big Brothers Big Sisters
  • Volunteer Mississauga Youth Games

As Youth Fitness Guy, my mission is to engage our youth via age- and stage-specific physical activity to enhance their mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing through play, fitness, and athletic development.

Aside from being a dad, my interest in working with children began as a career change from a Commercial Development Project Manager to a Montessori Elementary Teacher. I wanted to end my day each night knowing I made a difference in a child’s life. After eight years in the classroom and three years of teaching physical education, I left to become a coach of Youth Fitness and Physical Literacy running afterschool programs. My teaching years revealed to me firsthand the sad decline of our children’s health. This was negatively impacting their mental, physical, social, and emotional wellbeing. I wanted to change that!

Discovering the IYCA not only changed my life, but it also played a huge role in saving it. Prior to the first ever IYCA Summit, I fell ill and was admitted to my local hospital’s mental health ward. It was these dark days that provided me with both the reality that life is short and the determination to live life to its fullest.

Upon leaving the hospital, I made the leap to work with kids full time with the IYCA guiding my way. For me, making the ten hour drive from Canada to the first-ever IYCA Summit was more about starting a new life than it was Youth Fitness. As scary as it was, it was the best thing I’ve ever done.

I wouldn’t be where I am today if it were not for the IYCA. Aside from the great fitness training and business resources the IYCA develops, it’s the many people I have met along the way that I cherish the most. Having attended each of the yearly summits, I’ve met many passionate and caring people from around the world who want to make a difference. Many of the people I’ve met over the years are more than just colleagues; many have become close personal friends. I continue to rely on the IYCA for cutting-edge information and resources, and after attending each IYCA Summit, my IYCA Family continues to grow.

And for that I’m eternally grateful.