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Want some good news? Most days we're starved for it, forced to dig through layers of muck and mayhem to find it.

Tuesday, it found us.

Word came that amid the heated exchanges, nasty Twitter attacks and Facebook diatribes, positive still has a place in a negative world.

Turns out the Positive Coaching Alliance, a California-based organization in its 20th year, annually honors 50 coaches nationwide for their positive impact on youth. Two of them have done it right here in your backyard.

Mine, too.

Reza Ghasemi, head boys and girls soccer coach at Central Catholic High School, and Wes Temples, head football coach at Normal Community the past 10 years, were among the Double-Goal Coach Award winners from a field of nearly 800 nominees.

Consider it a victory for positive reinforcement over yelling and screaming, ranting and raving.

Ghasemi was nominated by his athletic director at Central, Hud Venerable. Temples' name was put in by a parent of an NCHS player from this past season.

As the PCA looked into each coach through a review of nominations, background checks and phone interviews, the organization learned what Venerable already knew.

Both were deserving.

Long before becoming Central's A.D. this year, Venerable was head football coach at Normal Community. He was running the program when a young Temples joined his staff 16 years ago.

Venerable sees commonality in approach and impact between Temples and Ghasemi.

"They're not about themselves," Venerable said. "They don't talk about what they've done. They very rarely use the pronoun 'I.' It's always 'us' or 'we' or 'team' or 'together.' "

That is refreshing in a 'me' society. 

Ghasemi coached club soccer, was head coach at Normal West and spent two years as an assistant at Illinois Wesleyan prior to taking over at Central.

Two seasons ago, his Central boys team went 2-19. A year later, the Saints were 18-8. It is one example of how encouraging words and the occasional pat on the back can produce ... well, a positive outcome.

Ghasemi's goal is to "instill the love of the game and the love of being a good sport and having fun."

"If you do that, you get better results," he said. "The focus should be on school for the kids. We just want to make sure they are having fun. They have to enjoy it. 

"A good competition and staying competitive against any team is the objective, but in a positive way."

Temples resigned in December with a 10-year record of 83-25 to pursue his master's degree and get into administration. Included were five Big 12 Conference championships and 10 playoff berths.

Yet ...

"It's so much more than wins and losses," Temples said of coaching. "You hope you treat people the right way and when they leave your program they have something that will help them moving forward. 

"I've been awfully lucky with our staff and the kids we've coached here. They've been tremendous. It was fun and easy going to work every day."

Temples learned initially from his father, Gerald, a longtime football coach. He later worked under Venerable and alongside Terry McCombs, NCHS' defensive coordinator at the time.

"Those three were so influential in teaching me how it's more than football," Temples said. "They taught me how to be a better person, a better coach, a better parent. I've been lucky."

So have his players ... Ghasemi's as well.

Venerable considers both to be "great role models for kids." The PCA agrees.

Fond memories in sports often are tied to winning, but they're not limited to victories and championships. They can be as simple as hearing your coach say "good job" when you make a shot or "hang in there" when you miss a tackle.

Or, "what can I do to help?" in a time of need.

There is still room for all of that in coaching.

Good news indeed.

Follow Randy Kindred on Twitter: @pg_kindred

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Sports Editor

Sports editor for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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