Anne Ellett of Centennial has received the 2019-20 NFHS National Spirit Coach of the Year Award.
Ellett has been the head coach at Centennnial since she started the program in 1966. She is believed to be the longest-tenured high school dance coach in Oregon.
During her coaching tenure, Ellett has led Centennial to 11 state championships, including championships in both the Show and Dance/Drill divisions. She was named coach of the year for the Dance Drill Coaches Association of Oregon in 1988 and 1994. She received the DDCA’s lifetime achievement award in 2012.
Each year she strives to teach her new dancers the concept of FAD: ‘F’ for fun, ‘A’ for academics, and ‘D’ for dance.
In the announcement from the Oregon Athletic Coaches Association (OACA), Ellett is described as “exemplifying the highest standards of sportsmanship, ethical conduct, and moral character. She is a great ambassador for the coaching profession.”
Said Ellett: "Loving what you do, where you do it and who you do it with is all that matters. And I look forward to every day and every practice with my Hi Cs."
For 55 years, Ellett has made a direct impact not only on the students who go through the dance team program at Centennial but on our entire Oregon dance team community.
In the early days, high school dance competitions did not exist in Oregon. Ellett gathered several of her colleagues and in 1973 they launched the first ever state competition, which was named the Metropolitan Dance Festival (or Metro, for short).
As times have changed, Metro no longer is the state competition, but it is still hosted each year by Centennial’s dance team. It is the longest running high school dance team competition in the state.
In the 1970s, Ellett would go on to co-found the OHSDDA, which would become what is known today as the DDCA. The DDCA is a membership-based organization serving dance programs and dance coaches throughout the state. It hosted the annual state championships from 1973 to 1986. In 1987, the OSAA took over as host.
Today, the DDCA sponsors the All-State Dance Team, provides scholarships, hosts the Fall Category Championship competition, and oversees all local dance competitions leading up to the OSAA championships.
The DDCA changed the landscape of high school dance team in Oregon by providing a way for dance teams across the state to come together and provide advocacy at a state level. Ellett continues to be involved in the leadership of the DDCA by serving on the organization’s board of directors.
In addition to coaching dance, Ellett taught health, physical education, and movement at Centennial and Portland’s Jefferson High School.
Ellett and her husband of more than 50 years, Mick, live in Portland. They have two adult children and five grandchildren, including one who is a member of her school’s high school dance team.
About the Award:
Each year the OACA, with the endorsement of the OSAA, selects a coach of the year nominee representing all OSAA-sponsored boys and girls sports. Each state award winner is eligible for Section 8 awards competing against coaches in their respective sport from Washington, Montana, Idaho, Alaska and Wyoming. Section 8 winners compete for National Coach of the Year against representatives from the other seven sections.