Time. It’s a valuable thing to everyone, no matter what you decide to do with it – but for Matt Nehl, a husband, father of three, dentist, and coach – his time is dedicated to improving lives through health and fitness.
Matt grew up playing sports – football, baseball, and wrestling – eventually playing football in college. Now, athletics are still a major part of his life as he coaches his children’s sports: baseball, softball, soccer, football and wrestling.
“Coaching allows me to get to know kids on a more personal level,” said Matt, “more than someone’s dad or dentist.”
Throughout the season year after year, kids become more comfortable around you and really begin to grow. Something Matt puts a lot of emphasis on through his philosophy of coaching said Wendy Larson, a parent to some of Matt’s players.
“Matt is patient, yet sets high expectations while teaching them the game. He strives for victory and success, but does it by trusting the girls and allowing them to take risks in order to build their skills.”
The best thing about being a coach is seeing the milestones each individual player makes, according to Coach Nehl. Whether they are catching their first pop fly in the outfield or snagging a runner out on third during a game, Matt’s athletes are encouraged to try.
“They will never know if they can do something unless they try,” expressed Matt. “it’s a game, and it’s meant to be fun. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t work out the way they hoped – I just encourage them to keep practicing and try again.”
Matt takes these lessons to heart and practices them himself, too. As a coach who volunteers his time while running his own practice and spending time with his family, trying new things is often the norm. Juggling everything couldn’t be done without the support of his wife, his staff, and especially his assistant coaches and team parents.
“We have a wonderful group of parents that help in various ways and create a fun and positive atmosphere for our players,” said Matt appreciatively. “Ryan Larson and JD Young are two other parents I coach with and they are vital to our athlete’s experience.”
Surrounded by a community who appreciates all he has done for student athletes, Matt Nehl is making an impact in Belle Fourche as a coach who goes above and beyond.
words by Jenna Carda
photos by Jesse Brown Nelson