Florida Little League® Coach Named Positive Coaching Alliance’s Regional Baseball Coach of the Year

Troy Sanders, Indian Rocks Beach (Fla.) Little League coach and League President, has been named Positive Coaching Alliance’s 2024 Regional Baseball Coach of the Year. Mr. Sanders, and the 35 other regional winners, were selected from a group of more than 500 nominated coaches across the country.  

“I was not expecting it and knew nothing about it until I received the email letting me know I was selected. Then, once I did a little more research and learned about the nomination process that 10 of my current and former players’ parents went through for me, I was very excited and humbled,” said Mr. Sanders. “To have what I feel is the most natural way to coach and lead these young players recognized outside of my own circle, it helped me feel like I am doing at least something right for these kids and it just felt exciting to be recognized in this way.”  

A Little League® graduate himself, playing from ages five to 14, Mr. Sanders returned to the program 30 years later when his then eight-year-old son signed up to play. After two seasons of cheering on his son from the stands, Mr. Sanders began to volunteer, working in the concessions stand, assisting his son’s coach when needed, and providing snacks for the team.  

Mr. Sanders with Indian Rocks Beach (Fla.) Little League’s Board of Directors

Looking for ways to take on the “mentor” role in not just his son’s life, but in the lives of kids throughout the community, Mr. Sanders expanded his role in the Little League program and became a coach and team manager. From there, Mr. Sanders spent four years on the league’s Board of Directors, before being elected as League President, a position he has held for the past two years. 

“Once I started as an assistant coach, it felt like a very natural and authentic progression. My son was very interested in baseball, and still is, which has allowed me to be super close to the game and a very active volunteer,” said Mr. Sanders. “There’s nothing I love more than coaching Little League.”  

Mr. Sanders celebrates with his Great Largo (Fla.) Little League Junior Division baseball team

With his 10 years of playing experience in his back pocket, Mr. Sanders says he understands the importance of not just coaching players to enhance their on-the-field skills, but to also teach life lessons and help them form relationships for them to take with them off the field as well.  

“I have a small circle of what I would consider my true friends, and at least half of them are people I played Little League with,” said Mr. Sanders. “It is important to give it your all on the field and to try and win ball games, but there’s so much more to it, such as the friendships I still have today and lessons I learned to become a better person in life. That is what I try to teach my players throughout the year, because I know for a fact that if they strive to always do the right thing, rely on one another, keep their attitudes straight, and be good teammates, then they will one day become adults and still be in touch with their best buddies from Little League.”  

When Mr. Sanders is not on the field coaching, he is working to give parents and volunteers the little bit of confidence and advice they might need to become a coach, as well.  

“Every season, we need to find coaches to fill any voids, especially at the Tell Ball division. A lot of parents know at least a little bit about the game, but don’t want to volunteer as a coach in fear of disappointing players because of their lack of experience,” explained Mr. Sanders. “I just remind them that a lot of coaches started at a point where they did not know everything, including myself, and if we can do it, they can, too. It’s just all about encouragement to get them over the hump of insecurity and reminding them that we are all there for the greater good of the players and their love for the game.”  

Mr. Sanders umpiring an Indian Rocks Beach (Fla.) LL game.

The PCA selection committee will now identify 10 individuals from the group of regional winners to be identified as national winners. Each recipient will receive $500 and recognition across PCA’s website, newsletters, and social platforms. Additionally, one Coach of the Year will be selected and win $5,000 for their school or program and receive a trip to San Francisco to be featured at the annual Game Changer Awards & Benefit in March 2024.  

Little League International is proud to work with Positive Coaching Alliance to provide important on-field and off-field educational content. Learn more at LittleLeague.org/PCA or by clicking the box below. 

Positive Coaching Alliance