Pitman water polo and swim coach Lisa Avrett was named one of six San Joaquin Section model coaches. Avrett is the fourth coach from Pitman High to receive this award. The award, honoring coaches who are positive role models within the section’s schools and the community at large, is being given for the 21st year.
"Lisa's totally invested in the development of young women here at Pitman," Pitman athletic director Dave Walls said. "And as a coach has demonstrated the true qualities of trustworthiness, respect and fairness. She's invested so much of her heart and time in growing Pitman aquatics."
Avrett was “shocked” when she heard the news and said she is appreciative to be recognized as a positive role model.
“I want to empower young women to find strength through sport,” she said. “I want to help them achieve, blossom and grow as individuals. I ran into a parent not long ago who told me her daughter is now a research scientist for Johnson and Johnson helping develop vaccines. That made me so proud.”
Avrett has been coaching at Pitman for three years, before that she was a coach at Oakdale High and coached at Johansen High in Modesto for 23 years. She knew she wanted to be a coach from a young age.
“When they asked me back in elementary school, I said I wanted to be a coach,” she said. “I was a swimmer and water polo player in high school and I knew I wanted to be a teacher and mentor eventually. Luckily, I just kind of fell into it.”
She was part of the Turlock High graduating class of 1980 and didn’t think she would ever coach in the town she lived in her entire life.
“I never thought I would be coaching at Pitman,” said Avrett. “You know, they just have a great staff, students and is a great school in general. I love working here.”
With about 30 years of coaching under her belt, she doesn’t have any plans of slowing down and looks forward to helping current and future Pride swimmers for years to come.
She did retire briefly for a period of time, but “missed it too much” and came back when the opportunity presented itself at Pitman.
“I did retire because there was a lot of negativity at one point, but I missed it,” said Avrett. “I would ask people to stay positive and not so negative towards coaches. That’s the reason they retire so much.”
When she’s not coaching, she volunteers her time at the Red Cross and trains lifeguards.