Darren Fleurent has been involved with Special Olympics Massachusetts as a head coach and Unified partner for 15 years. He first became involved as a Unified partner in softball, because of his brother, who is an athlete. Fleurent has coached flag football, basketball and volleyball over the years and has been instrumental in recruiting Unified partners, athletes and coaches for these teams. This October 2nd, Fleurent along with a class of athletes, coaches, volunteers, families and sponsors, will be recognized at the 2014 Special Olympics Massachusetts Hall of Fame induction ceremony at The Yawkey Sports Training Center in Marlborough, MA.
Fleurent was aided in the leap from Unified partner to coach by mentors who had been coaching for years before in the New Bedford program — “People to bounce ideas off of and ask questions if needed.” As the years went by and he gained more experience, Fleurent would find himself one of those people. A mentor.
“It’s a surprise, I did not expect it,” said Fleurent on being inducted into the Special Olympics Massachusetts Hall of Fame. “Just to be recognized was enough for me … It’s quite an honor.”
From Special Olympics fan to Unified partner, coach and now hall-of-famer, Fleurent has gained a great appreciation for the power of sports. “From an athletic standpoint, it’s trying to do your best and go for the gold and win, but you make friends and have fun and you realize that sports are more than about the competition.”