Paying it forward: Openly gay track coach serving as mentor for other gay coaches

Earlier this year, Colorado high school track coach Micah Porter came out as gay in a story for Outsports. Since the release of his profile, he has received many letters about his story from other high school and college coaches, most whom write anonymously. Porter wrote a letter in response to one of the anonymous writers which was published in the Advocate, In his letter, he stated;

"As you well know, we coaches try to inculcate many values on our athletes. We are constantly giving them advice as how to not only become better players, runner or swimmers, but to become better people. We all want our athletes to become good people, even great people. This special athlete-coach relationship exists because they know you wanted them, and still want them, to become a good person. You have taught them the value of hard work, dedication, selfishness, teamwork, trust, and honesty. Yes, honesty. Throughout your career as a coach, you worked to instill in your athletes the importance of being open and honest. I can't speak for you, but I came to a point where I could no longer live fraudulently. I had to tackle the issue of my sexuality and begin to live honestly and openly. I couldn't think of a better lesson to teach my athletes than living true to myself."

He made it a point say that "as a coach, you have to dedicate yourself to guiding and helping others." With that beig said, it can be easy to lose focus on yourself which leads to sadness in who you are as a pesron. Porter asked, "how can you truly lead others if you can't lead yourself?" This is a very crucial and honest point, so he said "start being you." 

Porter has lead the cross-country team at D'Evelyn High School for the past 17 years, and has been the school's head track & field coach for 16 years. During this time, Porter has built and maintain a stellar reputation and resume. As described in detailed for Outsports, his teams have won four Colorado state championships; He has been named the state coach of the year once; He's won 12 Jefferson County coach-of-the-year honors for his sport and was the county's coach of the year for all sports once; He has coached 33 athletes to individual state titles.

D'Evelyn High Shcool Athletic Director Jerry McWhorter said, "he's well repected through the state as a coach. He gets a lot out of his athletes." 

He's also very well respected in the classroom. Porter is a social studies teacher at the high school. In 2004 he was named D'Evelyn's Teach of the Year. and in 2002 he won a large "Excellence in Teaching" Award. Even with his acadmic success, it's when he talks about coaching that his passion comes through. His excellence is motivating young athletes, an that passion is not lost on McWhorter. 

Despite teaching at what he and McWhorter described as a "conservative" school, with a closed campus and strict dress code, Porter is now excited about taking a proactive role in making D'Evelyn High School a more welcoming place for gay students. Virtually the entire staff knows he is gay, and some of them have met Brandan, his partner. School guidance counselors have even asked if they can send students to him if they are questioning their own sexuality. He's begun the process of reaching out to other local, state, and national organizatios to see how he can get more involved. 

Role models and leaders for the LGBT community like Micah Porter are important today. Escpecially in sports, which is one of the last frontiers for overall equality and acceptance, having people like Porter serve as mentors is exactly what is needed to begin to change the sports world.