Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

From coach to JCC sports director

 


The Roth Jewish Community Center of Greater Orlando is pleased to announce the appointment of Royal Webster as its new sports director.

Webster, 51, succeeds the Roth JCC’s Eli Bercovici who retired this summer after 31 years as sports director.

For Webster, the Roth JCC has long been a second home. When he and his wife, Simone, moved to Orlando in June 2004, they immediately enrolled their sons Alex, now 11, and Josh, 9, in the Richard S. Adler Early Childhood Learning Center. The boys rose through the Roth JCC’s programming, attending Camp J, and competing in a variety of sports, particularly basketball.

Just a year after settling in Orlando, Webster decided to become a volunteer coach for the Roth JCC.

In his first year of coaching, eight young girls expressed an interest in playing basketball but had never played before. Webster stepped up to coach the team, who barely knew the rules of the game.

“Our first game, we lost something like 0-44,” said Nancy Portello, the JCC’s chief financial officer, whose daughter, Jacqueline played on the team. “They all stuck it out and played the entire season, losing every game. But believe it or not, the girls had fun. I remember saying to myself—how does this coach keep coming back? I would have thrown in the towel a long time ago.”

The following year, Webster coached the team to first place in their division.

“He played every girl, regardless of her skill level and never gave up on them. He instilled confidence, team spirit, and taught them to keep going—no matter what.”

Sports have always played a major role in Webster’s life.

“I credit sports for keeping me out of trouble when I was young and growing up in Miami,” Webster explained.

His professional background is varied. He’s retired from the U.S. Army, a former high school Spanish teacher, and has worked as an operations manager for a few national retail companies.

“Royal’s impressive collection of professional experiences combined with his passion for sports and our community make him an ideal addition to our team,” said David Wayne, executive director. “Because of his eight years of volunteer coaching at the JCC, he also has incredible relationships with many of our community members.”

In many ways, this is Webster’s dream job.

“I have coached at many different levels, and I wanted an opportunity to not only coach, but run a sports program,” Webster said. “I especially enjoy working with kids and young adults.”

Webster will oversee the strong Men’s Basketball League and will continue working with Whitney Tossie, the JCC’s youth basketball supervisor, on the popular league for boys and girls ages 7-18.

“The level of coaching and training we will be bringing to our programs will be some of the best available in Central Florida,” Webster said. “We have nationally ranked swimmers training here. We have daughters and sons of former NBA players and sons of current NCAA and NBA coaches playing here. They come here because of the atmosphere and training we provide.”

He has big plans for new sports at the Roth JCC. He plans to reintroduce youth soccer and tennis this year, as well as golf for children ages 3-14. He also is exploring the possibility of one day offering SCUBA classes and a sports journalism camp.

Webster touts the Roth JCC’s strength in personalizing its training to fit the individual’s needs, regardless of skill level and looks forward to working side-by-side with René Nicholson, the Roth JCC’s fitness director. He is also proud to work with a center that “has activities available for all, from infants to past 100.”

Webster can be reached at the Roth JCC at 407-621-4059 or at RoyalW@orlandojcc.org.

 

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