Tuesday, November 23, 2010

University High coach Jim Tracy fighting ALS

From today's SF Chronicle:

Jim Tracy apologized for his occasional slurred speech, loss of thought and energy level.

Otherwise, the state's most accomplished cross-country coach was extremely upbeat. His University High girls squad had just won its 17th North Coast Section Division V title Saturday afternoon at rain-drenched Hayward High.

The Red Devils will go for a record eighth state crown at Woodward Park in Fresno on Saturday. Between the boys and girls, University has won 32 NCS crowns, the most of any school in any sport.

"One thing I'll never apologize for is winning," Tracy said. "The way I see it, if someone is going to win, it might as well be us."

Chances are, Tracy isn't going to beat the Lou Gehrig's disease (also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) for which he was diagnosed in June.

Known for brutal honesty, directness and meticulous record-keeping - qualities that have made him popular among runners since arriving at University in 1993 - Tracy is well versed on the fatal ailment with no current cure.

But the 60-year-old Riordan High, CCSF and Cal graduate has not been interested in looking back, either. He plans to apply his coaching philosophy - "1. Show up. 2. Keep improving. 3. Enjoy what you do." - to his very last breath.

"I'll coach as long as they'll have me - as long as I can keep making a difference," Tracy said.

He's still making a huge one, said senior Adrian Kerester, the team's No. 4 runner who left the team last season to focus on soccer, a sport she'll play in college. University won the state crown, and Kerester didn't want to miss the chance this year.

University, ranked No. 1 in the state (Division V), is tied with No. 4 Corona del Mar-Newport Beach (Division IV) for the most state crowns in any division.

"He's the best coach I've ever had in any sport because he knows so much, he gives great individual instruction and he's incredibly fair," Kerester said. "We're going for the state record for us, for sure. But down deep, we want to do it for our coach."

University will recognize Tracy during a celebration event in the school's theater at 4 p.m. Wednesday. Former runners will speak, and NCS Commissioner Gil Lemmon has awards to present. The public is invited.

"This isn't a eulogy - it's a celebration for Jim," University athletic director Jim Ketcham said. "He's touched countless lives."

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/11/22/SPUO1GG4NB.DTL#ixzz167YsxakJ

Here is an interview I did with Jim last year:

Also, you can find more information about the celebration tomorrow at the following link:


Anonymous said...

Congrats to coach Jim Tracy. If the Boys team wasn't moved to D-4 where they didn't qualify, they could had won D-5 with their times ..and repeated for a 4th straight year too.

reddevil said...

If you would like to pledge money in order to raise money for Jim, please visit this link: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/DX2HDKV

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