Damon Wagner started at PennDOT as a seasonal worker driving a snowplow in October 1999 and never left. Now he works full time as a Highway Administration Program Manager, but the title he may be known for locally is "Coach."
Damon has three daughters who all play softball (the youngest - age 8, the middle – age 11 and the oldest daughter – age 13). They live in rural Renovo, PA, and while a softball organization existed, he felt it had room to grow. Like many parents who volunteer, Damon started coaching seven years ago out of necessity, because in most rural communities it is tough to get volunteers. He was President of the travel softball organization that his daughter played on in 2018-19 and presently coaches three, girls' teams: Jr High School Softball as well as two traveling softball teams at both the 14u and 12u level. The organization has grown, and teams have been added this past year, a real testament to the commitment Damon has for his passion of coaching and improving structural organizations. The teams travel primarily from April until August through the states of Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York and Virginia.
"We camp on weekends when traveling for tournaments. That is what the girls will remember the most, not if they won or lost that day on the field," said Damon.
Damon used to coach boys wrestling at Bucktail High School, but when he started to work with the girls' softball teams, he discovered his biggest challenge was learning how to relate to them. He explained that one girl may do better if he is stern and keeps pushing them, while another may need all "rainbows and sunshine" to motivate her.
"The bigger picture is that this is a whole lot more than softball. I realized that for the girls, I was a role model and mentor to them, teaching them how to be productive citizens in society," said Damon.
And the families that he has met throughout the years has been great, too. "We spend almost every weekend together from April until August, so we get to know each other pretty well," said Damon.
After coaching three teams of girls' softball, he understands that it may have helped him learn how to communicate better as a dad with his daughters off the field. When you talk with him, you can tell he loves his title of "Dad" the most.