Scottsdale Salutes volunteer-coach Gregg Dufort

Gregg Du (submitted photo)

Gregg Dufort (submitted photo)

After only a short time volunteering with athletes in the Scottsdale Special Olympics, coach Gregg Dufort, 47, was hooked.

Years ago Mr. Dufort participated in a fundraiser which lead him to becoming a volunteer.

Now in Scottsdale, he still donates his time to the same cause.

“When I was living in Ohio in ‘98 or ’99, I did a Polar Bear Plunge for a Special Olympics fundraiser,” said Mr. Dufort during a Oct. 30 phone interview. “We had a lunch afterwards and they had a coordinator from the state of Ohio explaining the Special Olympics and volunteer opportunities.

“So that spring I started volunteering at track and field state finals.”

In 2007, Mr. Dufort moved to Scottsdale where he jumped right back into volunteering.

“I was living a couple of blocks away from the city of Scottsdale adapted recreation program,” he recalled. “I said I had some coaching experience and that was that.”

The Scottsdale Bobcats Special Olympics has sports available for two age groups: ages 8-17, and 18 and older.

Mr. Dufort says he coaches for both ages groups and coaches different sports all year long.

“I got attached to the group of athletes and continued to stay with the program,” said Mr. Dufort. “The golf partner I have … it’s my fourth year playing with her.”

Mr. Dufort coaches Christie in swimming, golf, and flag football. He said it isn’t uncommon to coach athletes in different sports over the years.

“Some cities don’t have Special Olympics teams so we have some guys from Tempe and other things,” he said.

Athletes who are looking for schedules that fit with their own are welcome to join the Scottsdale program, Mr. Dufort said.

“When they win medals, that’s really always cool to see them be happy,” said Mr. Dufort. “The look of joy on their face and accomplishments is really what I enjoy.”

Before volunteering, Mr. Dufort played football in high school before joining the military after graduation. He played rugby while in the military.

“I’ve always been into sports,” said Mr. Dufort.

Mr. Dufort now lives in the Town of Paradise Valley and plans to continue coaching with the Bobcats Special Olympics.

For more information on volunteering in the city of Scottsdale visit www.scottsdaleaz.gov/volunteer.

Northeast Valley News Services Editor Melissa Fittro can be e-mailed at mfittro@newszap.com or can be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/melissafittro.

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