Chris Prator, St. Scholastica Head Swimming Coach
- College: University of Southern Mississippi | Hattiesburg, MS
- Graduate School: Northeast Louisiana University | Monroe, LA
- Coach Prator is in his 21st year as head swim coach at SSA. Prator has guided the Doves through two state winning streaks – the first in the early 2000's with four straight state titles and over the past six years with six straight state titles.
- Prator has coached and guided many athletes to collegiate scholarships in swimming and brought several swimmers to the Junior and Senior National level as well as Olympic Trials.
- He swam on scholarship at the University of Southern Mississippi and was a USM graduate assistant while in graduate school. Chris received his Bachelor's degree from the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg and received a Master's degree in Education from the Northeast Louisiana University (now ULM).
1. What inspired you to get into coaching? Is it something you always wanted to do?
I started as a swimmer when I was really young, swam all the way through high school and college. Fell into college coaching in the P.E. realm and it kind of took off. But I started coaching when I was 18 in 1979, and it all just started because of passion for the sport.
2. Your team is seeking its seventh-straight State Swimming Championship. With a team that has been so successful the past couple of years, what is the key to keeping them motivated?
We make a big deal about complacency. We do not allow that. We do not allow them to settle in. Every year is different and there is always someone gunning for you.
3. Usually we always hear about coaches impacting the lives of players, but more often than not it is the student-athletes that leave a lasting impact on the coach. How do your athletes at St. Scholastica impact your life?
Anytime you coach young people they keep you fresh and up-to-date. They keep you very humble. They're really good at that. Also, my veteran squad does a really good job of bringing up the young people. They help explain our legacy and how important it is and how they take huge pride in it.
4. As a veteran coach, what advice would you give a young coach?
I would say always be willing to change. It's important to know that there is more than one way to do things, so be open to that. Respect your older coaches. Have mentors. I look at what mine are doing and what they've done and I think that's really important. My biggest swimming coach mentors were the late Coach Ed Kelly and Coach Butch Jordan, who is now coaching at Centenary College in Shreveport.