About the Coaches Mentoring Challenge

Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence

About the Coaches Mentoring Challenge

The Coaches Mentoring Challenge campaign began as a friendly competition between University of Nebraska Head Coach Tom Osborne and Kansas State Head Coach Bill Snyder in 2008 with the goal of rallying new volunteers for mentoring programs in their communities and states.

Both coaches, based upon their careers, believe so much in the value of mentoring that in 1991 Nebraska Head Coach Tom Osborne, feeling that athletes in his program could make an impact on middle school students, encouraged 22 football players to meet with middle-school students in the Lincoln Pubic Schools. Of the 22 original mentees, 21 went on to graduate from high school while one left school early to pursue a successful Motocross career. Eighteen of the original mentees also obtained some form of post-secondary education.

In 1998, Coach Osborne and his wife, Nancy, formalized TeamMates Mentoring in Nebraska. The TeamMates program now has offices in Iowa, Kansas and Wyoming.

In 2006, Coach Snyder and former Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius founded Kansas Mentors as a statewide initiative to promote mentoring and assist mentoring organizations.

MENTOR, the National Mentoring Partnership, spread the Coaches Mentoring Challenge among more states. In 2014, Coach Bill Snyder contacted University of Oklahoma Head Football Coach Bob Stoops and Oklahoma State University Head Football Coach Mike Gundy and asked them to lead Team Oklahoma in the challenge. MENTOR, the National Mentoring Partnership, asked the David and Molly Boren Mentoring Initiative, a program of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence, to oversee the statewide publicity campaign to recruit more mentors for Oklahoma youths.

Oklahoma’s Coaches Mentoring Challenge has grown steadily each year, gaining the endorsement of more than 800 coaches in 2017-18 and helping to spread the word about mentoring through news, social media and word of mouth. The 2017 campaign was the largest statewide campaign ever in support of mentoring.

Mentoring works academically, socially, emotionally and economically.