Coach Conference 2022

Coach Conference 2022

Please join us for Special Olympics Massachusetts Coach Conference on October 6th and 7th! We will be offering 8 sessions on various topics, taught by amazing guest speakers. Attendees will have the option to attend both in-person and virtually. This is a great opportunity to meet fellow coaches and learn more techniques to better yourself as a coach. The event will be held at Embassy Suites in Marlborough and housing will be provided.

SOMA swag will also be provided!

  • SOMA branded water bottle
  • SOMA branded black coach T-shirt (must attend 3 or more sessions to qualify)
  • SOMA branded black sandals from ISlide (must attend 6 sessions to qualify)

Thursday, October 6th Schedule

3:00pm: Registration opens

5:30pm: Buffet Dinner

6:00pm: Session 1 – Keynote Address “Building Athlete Success”

7:00pm: Session 2 – “Working with Individuals with Autism”

8:30pm: Cash bar and Networking

Friday, October 7th Schedule

6:30am: Breakfast Opens

8:00am: Keynote Address “SOMA President & CEO Presentation”

8:30am: SONA Coach Education Review

9:00am: Session 1 – Pick One: Local Program Management / Unified Sports / CPR (9:00-11:45)

10:15am: Break

10:30am: Session 2 – Pick One: Athlete Fitness / Athlete Centered Coaching Guide 

11:45am: Lunch

12:30pm: Session 3 – Pick One: Athlete Fitness / Unified Sports / First Aid  (1230-3)

1:45pm: Break

2:00pm: Session 4 – Pick One:  Local Program Management / Athlete Centered Coaching Guide 

3:00pm: Conference Ends

Session Overviews and Presenter Bios

Building Athlete Success

What does success mean within the context of athletics?  Winning?  Equal playing time?  Fun? Does our definition change within the scope of coaching in Special Olympics?  How a coach defines success will shape and drive how they coach.  In this session, we will discuss best practices for how to get the most from your athletes and how to align your coaching philosophy with the mission of Special Olympics:  putting athletes first and providing an inclusive, competitive and fun environment in which athletes become their best selves on and off the field.

Christin Santiago has been involved with Special Olympics since 1999, as a coach and volunteer.  In this time Christin coached, Flag Football, Softball, Bowling, Golf, Track and Field, Soccer and Basketball as well as being the Head Track and Field Coach for Team Massachusetts at USA Games in Seattle in 2018, where all 8 her athletes had personal bests and medaled in their events.  Christin is also Special Olympics North America Coach of the Year in 2015 for Massachusetts and was inducted into Massachusetts Special Olympics Hall of Fame in 2019.


Working with Individuals with Autism

Alan Anselmi earned his Bachelor’s degree in physical education and Master’s degree concentrating in adapted physical education from Bridgewater State University. Alan has worked at the May Center School in Randolph for 24 years and has been the school’s adaptive physical education teacher for the past 21 years. The May Center School specializes in education for individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and developmental delays. Alan’s physical education curriculum integrates a variety of techniques and strategies designed to address the unique needs of the student body and allows him to customize his work with the students. Alan also coordinates the May Center School’s annual Special Olympics day games and provides informational seminars and workshops geared towards coaches and physical education professionals.



SOMA President & CEO Presentation
Mary Beth McMahon will be our Keynote speaker kicking off Friday’s sessions! As many of you know, Mary Beth has been with Special Olympics Massachusetts for 11+ years. Mary Beth attended both USA Games and Summer Games which returned this year after a break due to Covid. As the President and CEO, Mary Beth is extremely hands on and has close relationships with many athletes and coaches. and has seen first-hand how coaches can change the lives of the athletes they work with.


SONA Coach Education Review

Gary Cimaglia from SONA will be touching base on the importance of coach education and developing athletes. Gary is the Senior Manager of Coach & Sport Education for Special Olympics North America.






Local Program Management

The Local Program Management and Development session will be presented by Kevin Crossman (far left), and Terry Keilty. Kevin Crossman has been with SOMA for 5+ years and is the Assistant Director of Business Operations and oversees the local programs in Middlesex and Essex Counties. Terry Keilty is our VP of Program Partnerships. Terry has been with SOMA 29+ years implementing and building partnerships to collaborate and offer programming to our athletes. In addition to growing our programs and athlete base mainly in Essex and Middlesex areas. The session will go over best practices for local programs. There will be opportunities for an open discussion with other local program coordinators and coaches from all over the state to discuss successes and challenges of running a local program.

Unified Sports

Unified Sports will be taught by George Kent (far left), Jon Paul St. Germain. George is a Certified Unified Sports Instructor for Special Olympics North America and has been involved in the Unified Sports Movement for over 20+ years as both a clinician, and Unified Sports Partner. Jon Paul is the Senior Director of Unified Sports and Sports Partnerships of Special Olympics International. This is a required course for all Unified Sports coaches. Providing a depth overview of Unified Sports, its philosophies, its roots and the differences between each level.

CPR and First Aid

Kathy and Rick Savage will be instructing these two sessions where attendees will learn the basic skills needed to treat an injury or save a life at practice or at competition. Kathy Savage is a Special Olympics Massachusetts Medical Director and certified Nurse Practitioner. Kathy has attended and provided medical support at 3 USA Games and 2 World games. Rick Savage is a Certified Red Cross and American Heart Association Instructor. They have also both been a part of SOMA Games leadership team and have been long time SOMA volunteers.

Athlete Fitness

Vicky DiNatale is our Community Engagement and Fitness Manager here at Special Olympics Massachusetts. Vicky has been working at Special Olympics Massachusetts for 4.5 years. As part of her current role, Vicky oversees all of the health and wellness programs/education that takes place throughout the state and also served as the head of delegation for team SOMA at the 2022 USA Games. At the Coaches Conference Vicky will be reviewing how to incorporate fitness during practices as well as out-of-season fitness opportunities (including Healthy Athletes) and why they both are important.

Athlete Centered Coaching Guide

A general introduction to coaching adults and children with intellectual disabilities. Includes behaviors commonly associated with ID and effective strategies to improve athlete learning. Course is taught by Guide’s authors, Rebecca Shangraw Ed.D (far left), Physical Education Department Boston University / certified Special Olympics Coach and Matt Millett Special Olympics Athlete & former Board Member. Matt represented Massachusetts at the USA games in 2010 and 2018, 2019 World Games, FIFA Unified Cup and the New England Revolution Team. Matt also has served on the Special Olympics North America Athlete Leadership Council.