The story of 'Coach Sloth' intersects with Central Heights

John Hawks
“Coach Sloth,” a renowed children's book author, talks to Central Heights Elementary School students Thursday afternoon. The visit was organized by Laurie Tyner, kindergarten instructor, and included a fun-filled day of sloth-themed activities.

It’s not every day the mind behind “Sammy Sloth” visits your classroom, and students at one local school made the most of it.

Thursday, Central Heights Elementary hosted Ryan Sloth, known as “Coach Sloth,” renowned children’s author, for a fun-filled day of learning and giggles. Coach Sloth’s visit was organized by Laurie Tyner, CHE Elementary kindergarten teacher.

“At Central Heights we had a ‘sloth day,’” said Christy Smith, CHE librarian. “We are decorated the halls in elementary, and had a door decorating contest all for Coach Sloth. “

The day included sloth shirts for sale, books, along with prizes like zoo tickets and a giant stuffed sloth. Smith also turned last month’s milk-jug igloo into a giant sloth head.

The now widely-known children author’s career began in the realm of sports, from which he draws his “coach” moniker. A native of a farm in Dike, Iowa, Sloth grew up playing baseball, basketball, golf, track, wrestling, swimming, tennis, and football in Belmond, Iowa.

“During a high school English class, Coach first conceived the idea of a kids book starring Sammy Sloth,” Sloth’s website biography said.

After graduating high school, Coach Sloth attended Iowa State University to study Sports Management, but maintained his passion to write stories.

“While reading a book to his newborn son Tucker, he decided to publish one of his past stories,” Sloth’s bio said. “Coach Sloth wanted to put his son and other family members in the book. Then he could read his own book to Tucker and other kids. Sammy Sloth Sport Superstar and Coach Sloth’s writing career was born!”

Coach began to visit elementary schools and share his book along with football experiences.

“He had so much fun and decided to write a second book with character named after his newborn daughter, Taylor,” according to Coach Sloth’s bio. “As Tucker and Taylor got older, they co-authored a couple books with their dad. Coach has visited over 1,000 schools and shared his books to over 500,000 kids across the country. From California to Texas to Florida to New Jersey, but mainly around his home state of Iowa.

“Coach draws inspiration for stories from experiences in life, favorite activities, and ideas from Tucker and Taylor. Look for Coach to add a new character in his books as he added his third child, Elliott!”