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'Coaches Challenge' Aims to Recruit 10,000 New Mentors

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From guest blogger Gina Cairney

Head football coaches from universities in Kansas, Iowa, and Nebraska will go at it again in their fifth annual Coaches Challenge to see which state can recruit the most new mentors for K-12 students during the college football season.

There's been a few additions from last year, according to a press release from Kansas Mentors. The most notable addition is Charlie Weis, head football coach of the University of Kansas, who formerly served as the head football coach of the University of Notre Dame and was offensive coordinator of the NFL's New England Patriots.

The mentor challenge began in 2008 by coaches Bill Snyder and Tom Osbourne, both mentoring advocates, according to Kansas Mentors, as a way to address a mentoring gap. Iowa joined the Coaches Challenge in 2010.

As mentioned on this blog last year, each of the state's mentoring organizations hosts the competitions.

Last year, the three states recruited more than 9,500 mentors combined. This year's goal? To recruit more than 10,000 new mentors, resulting in more youths being matched with positive, adult role models.

The challenge started Aug. 1, and runs through Nov. 30. Each new mentor application received through Nov. 30 counts toward the score of the respective state, according to the Iowa Mentoring Partnership's website.

The overall winner of the challenge will be announced the week of Dec. 7.

Kansas has won the challenge every year since 2008, but will 2012 be the year Nebraska or Iowa overtake the Sunflower State?

Photo: Kansas football coach Charlie Weis speaks with high school coaches on Aug. 1 as part of the Kansas State High School Activities Association's Coaching School in Topeka, Kan. (Thad Allton/Capital-Journal/AP)

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