Sunday, January 02, 2011

Catching up with St. Ignatius coach, Chris Puppione...

Today we chat with St. Ignatius boys' coach, Chris Puppione.  He led his boys team to a 2nd place finish at the '10 CCS XC meet this past season.  The previous season, Chris helped guide the Miramonte boys to the state meet as they qualified from tough division III race.  You can see below the rest of his coaching stops which included a stint at UC Davis before his return to high school coaching.  Along with his coaching, Chris has also been a clinic presenter (picture to the left courtesy of Joe Hartman) and the best contributor to this site with his highly informational articles that you can find at this link.  

1)  How did you get your start in running?  What other sports did you play?
My first exposure to running came through my aunt and uncle on my mother’s side. When I was little, my uncle was running cross country at Christian Brothers HS in Sacramento, and he was pretty into it. My aunt, who was several years older than him, had been a great age-group runner as a part of the famous all-girl’s track club in Sacramento, Will’s Spikettes. She had transitioned from the track and was running marathons and ultras by the time I was around, and she also was a part of the early Fleet Feet years.

I ran a bit in grade school—CYO track in 3rd grade, I think. I was decent, but the races weren’t nearly long enough for someone like me. I ran my first road race at the age of 9—the Run to the Lake 10K in Castro Valley, where I grew up. I was second in my age group that day to a guy named Dino Daniels, who was a total sensation at that time. I think he worked me by a good seven minutes, but I still felt good about it. Later on, in junior high, I beat the school record in the six-minute run for sixth graders at Canyon Middle School during my PE class. We used to run part of the Canyon cross country course almost daily in PE class, and if we finished well, we could win a soda. That was motivation enough for me (my mother did not allow soda in our house), and I don’t ever recall losing when a soda was on the line.

I played everything as a kid. I started playing sports at age six, and I was involved in baseball, basketball, soccer, and swimming. I remember being in my dad’s car and having to change from one uniform into the other while we sped across town to get me from one game to the next. I had a lot of fun, and I was very competitive—a trait I picked up from my father. I was a part of some great teams and I got a taste for success at an early age.

2)  Where did you run in high school and what were some of your highlights?
 When I entered high school at Moreau (Hayward, CA), I came home from the first day of school with the athletic papers for my dad to sign.

“Football?” he guffawed. “You are kidding, right? What are you going to be—the kicking tee?”

I was 4’11” and 95lbs.

“No,” my dad said. “You will run cross country to get ready for soccer.”

And so began my running days in high school. I would end up running at both Moreau and Castro Valley HS before I graduated in 1992. I was lucky enough to make it to the state meet in cross country twice, as well as two trips to NCS MOC in track. In truth, I was not terribly fast, but I also did not invest the kind of work we ask of our athletes today. I didn’t run in the summers (I was swimming on a rec team), I didn’t run on the weekends (unless we had a meet), and I didn’t run over the winter break (unless I couldn’t get a ride to where I wanted to go). It wasn’t necessarily out of laziness as much as it was not really part of the culture. I mean, I would run sometimes just for fun or to get to a friend’s house, but I never saw that as training or trying to get better. I had success in running due in large part to my hatred for losing than for any investment in training I made. I would like to think I could have been faster if the culture was different and I had trained like we do now.

The things that stick out for me—finishing 1-2 at NCS XC with my teammate Mark Douglas in my junior year, finishing top-25 at state my senior year while suffering from bronchitis, being a part of a really fun DMR team at CVHS, and countless shenanigans with my teammates that ranged from team parties on Halloween to crazy runs on Mount Much-More, Mount Fuji, Sakamoto, Hamburger Hill, or through the rock quarry. I think those are the things I remember best—the great runs and crazy stuff that I shared with my teammates.

I think the runs are what I remember the most:
·        Getting lost running around Lake Chabot with my teammate Tim and turning a 9-mile day into a 23-mile day
·        A crushing 8-mile run in Tahoe with former state champ Kevin Berkowitz
·        A track session in the rain at CSU-Hayward
·        Repeat miles in the August swelter on the Canyon course
·        Aqua quarters on the gravel track at CVHS—gasping for air while choking on mouthfuls of water as we churned out lap after lap with a tortuous minute of rest between
·        Being nearly stampeded by horses in the Hayward hills when the Loma Prieta earthquake struck and having to sprint to the nearest barbed wire fence and dive over it to safety

Those mean more to me now than any medal or plaque I won. I can see something similar developing now in my guys at St. Ignatius—they have little jokes and rituals and “secret runs” that I know little to nothing about, and that’s cool. That means they are doing it right. That is where the bonds of a team are made. That is where they will create what Cardinal Newman coach Pat LaFortune calls “forever memories”.

3)  Who were your high school coaches and what did you take (learn) from them?
My real highlights revolve around my two coaches—Phil Wilder and Peter Brewer. I have written about them before in an article I wrote for your site, so instead of being redundant, I will just say that these two men are the reasons why I am a part of this sport today. They are great educators who use the sport to impart greater lessons—they are amazing people. Whether it was trips to Tahoe for camp or workouts that would make your eyes roll back into your head, Wilder and Brewer gave me the best of the sport in the form of inspiration and pain. I loved it. Most importantly, they taught me the love of the team approach. I loved my teammates. We all had such different personalities, and although we could try one another’s patience (and I tried a lot of people’s patience), we had learned how to put aside the personal battles and personal glory and seek something greater in the form of team success. Wilder and Brewer are two of the most influential people in my life, although I can hear them both snickering now, as if to say, “Great, he blames us, does he?” Well, yes, it is all your fault, guys—thank you.

4)  What about your college experience and highlights? 
My college was a great opportunity for me to learn, although at the time it was the most tumultuous thing I ever endured. I ran for one year at the Division I level, and suffice to say it was a difficult year. The coach that recruited me left over the summer (unbeknownst to me) and I came into a situation that was immediately tense and foreign to me. I had received no guidance over the summer prior to my arrival, and as such, I came to camp ill-prepared and had a less-than-stellar season of cross country, although I was our team’s #2 or #3 runner most days. I would eventually get the first of my eight stress fractures in January of my freshman year, and running never was really the same for me.

That year taught me a lot about what not to do, as both an athlete and a coach, and although I would have liked to have had some success at the Division I level, I think the knowledge I gained that year has proved invaluable to me as an educator.

I did try to run some more in my second year of college, this time at Diablo Valley College under the tutelage of Kevin Searls of Asics Aggies fame. Although I was never able to be healthy enough to help on the course, Kevin really taught me a lot about the sport through his example, and he definitely shaped who I am as a coach.

5)  What led you to your decision to pursue a career in teaching and coaching?
I never wanted to be a teacher. My parents were teachers, and I saw how tough that could be, so…yeah. Well, here I am. Truth be told, when I first started teaching, I thought it would be a good way to pay bills while I pursued my desire to write (I was a Creative Writing major in undergrad). So a little like Mr. Holland’s Opus, you know? Well, just like Richard Dreyfuss’ character, I discovered that helping my students and athletes became a greater passion for me than any piece of writing I could produce.

Also, I did not begin teaching with the intention of coaching, and if I was going to coach, it would not be running. However, when I interviewed for my first teaching job at Paraclete HS in Lancaster, CA, they asked about my athletic experiences. Once I let the cat out of the bag, I was given the task of coaching. And so it began…

6)  Who are and have been your coaching mentors?
When I began coaching in 1998, I really had no idea how to put together a season, a training week, or a workout. I only knew what I had done, and even my memory of the workout specifics from my running years was foggy. The best thing I did at that point was attending an LA84 clinic. At this clinic, I met Tim O’Rourke and Ken Reeves—two of the all-time greatest coaches in California high school history. After they gave their talks at the clinic, they stuck around for an extra hour or so to field some of my individual questions. They also hooked me up with training handouts, the LA84 manuals for XC and track, and gave me their emails and phone numbers. At that same clinic, I met Kevin Smith from Oak Park HS—another great coach, who also gave me his training plans, his email, and his phone number. These three guys really were my support system in the beginning of my career. Not only are they amazing with the X’s and O’s of the sport, they are incredible teachers and motivators. I saw in them the same gifts I found so helpful in my own high school coaches.

After I left SoCal in 1999, I went to Cardinal Newman HS in Santa Rosa. At this point, I worked as an assistant to Pat LaFortune, coaching cross country and track for both CN and Ursuline. Pat was a great mentor for me, as he taught me the importance of reigning athletes in and helping them to not place so much pressure on themselves. He loved to win just as much as the next guy, but to him, the victory took place within each individual athlete, not necessarily on the track or course. Pat allowed me to have a lot of freedom as a coach, so I was able to really stretch my legs as a young coach by trying out some different training methods. He also helped me shape what would become the foundations of my coaching philosophy.

It was also during my years at CN/URS and Amador Valley HS that I really leaned on the expertise and advice of Joe Rubio. The coach of the Asics Aggies club program, Rubio is also a frequent contributor to Running Times magazine and wrote what I feel is the best chapter in the book Run Strong, which was edited by Kevin Beck. Rubio is down-to-earth, hilarious, and brilliant all at once, and he has always been generous with his time and guidance. I learned a great deal from him about progressing an athlete properly and covering all your bases physiologically.

The last coach that I would recognize as a mentor would be Doyle O’Regan—the incredibly successful and modest coach from Piedmont HS. Doyle has an uncanny ability to help his kids rise to the occasion, and he is also one of the most gifted intuitive coaches out there. He just knows what needs to be done when and for how long. No charts, no fancy science. Doyle is really an example of someone who is artful in his coaching.

I would be remiss if I did not mention my father as a mentor to me in my coaching, although he never coached in our sport. My father coached me in baseball, basketball, and soccer when I was a kid. His fiery style and overwhelming love for competition left a mark on me. Most importantly, my dad made all of his athletes feel like he genuinely cared about them, and I try to do the same with my kids now.

7)  Tell us a little about coaching experiences before heading to the college coaching ranks.
As I mentioned, I began coaching in 1998 at Paraclete HS in Lancaster, CA. My teams had some success, winning league titles that year and sending kids on to the CIF-SS championships in XC and track. I learned a lot that year, mostly through my mistakes, and I was lucky to have some really great kids to work with that year. It was a trial by fire, and coaching in the desert was certainly a crazy experience. At times, it would be 115 degrees outside, and then on other days, we were combating body-chapping winds of over 40 miles an hour! I really learned how to improvise as a coach, and I think that is a skill that has served me well in the years since.

When I arrived at CN/URS in the fall of 1999, the program was not in the best place. Numbers were low and the cross country teams were routinely at the bottom of the league and NCS. Pat and I made a great team, and we were also fortunate to have a great influx of talented kids during my time there. By the time I left in 2002, we had sent athletes and teams to the state meet in cross country and track. This was also the first time I dealt with having a truly superior athlete in JK Withers, who would go on to run at the University of Oregon. I learned a lot from working with JK, and his relentless drive and desire to truly be great at his sport forced me to be a better coach for him. I was also really blessed to coach with some of the better coaches in California in the North Bay League at this time—Larry Meredith (Montgomery), Danny Aldridge (Maria Carrillo), Doug Courtemarche (Santa Rosa), and Jerry Drew (Ukiah)—and they were all very helpful to me as a young coach.

Before moving on to UC Davis, I was lucky enough to head to Pleasanton to teach middle school and coach at Amador Valley High School. This was an especially cool experience since I was able to work in the same school district as my dad. In the time I was at Amador Valley, I believe we really ignited the resurgence of what was once a very strong program. We increased the numbers, the kids ran faster, and we sent some athletes to the state meet in both cross country and track. One thing I was especially proud of was initiating the Dan Gabor Invitational, which is going strong now in its second incarnation. The event honors an amazing young man who touched a lot of lives, on and off the track. While at AVHS, I was once again lucky enough to be surrounded by great coaches—this time in the East Bay Athletic League. Eddie Salazar (Livermore), Tim Hunter (San Ramon Valley), Brad Morisoli (Granada), Mike Davis (Monte Vista), Mark Karbo (California)—these guys are among the very best coaches I have ever been around, and I was able to learn things from each of them.

All in all, my high school coaching experience prior to my years at UCD was a great one. I benefited from having fine mentors, amazing kids, and opponents that forced me to be better by being so exceptional in their own right.

8)  What about your experience coaching at UC Davis?  Highlights?
My time at UC Davis as an assistant and a head coach was very instrumental in my development as a coach. In the first two years there, I had to hold down a gig doing personal training in order to make ends meet, and while this was a challenge given the time I was investing at the office and the track, it was totally worth it. To be mentored by Deanne and Jon Vochatzer—two great collegiate head coaches who also boast tremendous international coaching experience—was invaluable. When I had something come up or I was confused about something or when I just couldn’t figure out how to get a kid to turn the corner, Dee always had a story for me that seemed to fit. I spent a lot of time with Coach Dee, and I tried to take as much knowledge—career and life—as I could from her. Coach V (Jon) always helped me keep things in perspective. Being as competitive as I am (and also a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to my coaching), I would often find myself worked up about something. When these times came, Coach V was really good about helping me look for balance in those moments. I would have to say that Coach Dee and Coach V really helped me grow as a coach more than any one else I have ever worked with in my career.

While at UCD, I was also lucky enough to learn from the likes of US Olympian Andy Bloom. Andy was our strength and conditioning coach, and any foundation I have for strength work—be it drills, plyometrics, general strength, circuit training, or lifting—was built in the conversations I had with Andy in my first three years at UCD. I am pretty sure we went to lunch almost every day together in those early seasons, and I would just pick his brain constantly. He is truly one of the better minds I have met in the sport, and he really helped me establish a lot of my core values when it comes to ancillary work with athletes.

Most importantly, I was able to work with some great kids. Coaching in college is so different than high school. The challenges the kids face are different, therefore your challenges as a coach are different. There are more events to cover, and many of these kids are used to getting a fair amount of attention because they were one of the best if not the best athlete on their HS teams. It is a big transition. That said, I had some kids that really came into their own in college. The two that stand out the most for me are Chris Ferren-Cirino (Burlingame HS alum) and Kaitlin Gregg (Davis HS alum). While they were decent high school runners, they were not scholarship athletes coming into UC Davis. And yet, through steady work and commitment to a system they believed in, they absolutely exploded! Both of their names litter the record lists at UC Davis, and they were very inspiring for me to coach. That is one thing that is cool about coaching in college—you can find the sleepers from the high school ranks and really help them blossom.

9)  How did coaching in college make you a better high school coach?
Through my experience coaching in college, I was able to improve as a high school coach because of the following:

·        Training athletes for 5000m on the track
o   This really taught me about the need for specific endurance and specific speed for the race. I think when I was at the high school level prior to my time at UC Davis, I did not appreciate the need for the myriad of elements that go into creating a great 5000m race. When I started at UCD, I worked primarily with the 5k/10k kids, so I really had to learn quickly how to get them where they needed to be, and fast! Because of all the time I spent those first two years focusing on the longer track events, I learned a lot about developing the aerobic system while also not losing sight of necessary speed. Now, as a high school coach during cross country, I am more prepared because of the intensive study I did coaching the 5000m event on the track.
·        Individualizing sessions
o   While it is hard to do at the high school level (I had 74 boys this year at St. Ignatius during the XC season), I was able to learn how to identify what individual needs my athletes have better because of my time at UCD. My last two years at UCD, all I did was teach one or two PE classes a quarter, coach, and recruit. Granted, recruiting took up the bulk of my time, but when I wasn’t doing that, I was experimenting with better training ideas for my individual athletes. I began to see trends and learned to individualize workouts for different kids for the same events. Most notably was the split I had for Kim Conley (Montgomery HS alum) and Kaitlin Gregg. They were both shooting for the regional mark in the 5000m, but they were very different in their strengths and weaknesses at this point in their careers. As such, I trained them on two different sets of workouts, and it was the rare occasion that they did a session together. They both hit the regional marks and were very pleased with their seasons, and I believe that if I were to have tried to train them on some mixture of the two approaches, they would not have been as successful. This taught me that I could take a very different approach with two different kids for the same race and be successful.
·        I had time to educate myself
o   Because all I was really doing was coaching or training people, all I read about and studied was running. I was not lesson planning. I was not grading papers. I was chaperoning the prom. I was immersed in the culture of the sport, and so I had time to really study it. I ended up earning my MS in Exercise Science during this time, and I believe it made me a better coach.
·        USTFCCCA and USATF conventions and schools
o   While at UCD, I was able to attend the USATF Level II and Level III schools and the USTFCCCA convention on several occasions. While this can be done as a high school coach as well, I found it better for me as a college coach because I was surrounded by a majority of other college coaches. This was a great time to learn from some excellent instructors, but also to meet and brainstorm with some of our country’s finest collegiate coaches—many of whom I regard as some of my better friends in the sport. Being able to sit down with these guys over food and drink for hours and to just grill them with any and all questions was incredible. Sometimes, I would actually just pull out my notebook and just take notes on what they were saying while we would be scarfing down buffalo wings and burgers. Guys like Louie Quintana (Arizona State), Dave Smith (Oklahoma State), John Hayes (Texas), and Jay Johnson (Nike) are some of the best guys I know, not to mention incredibly gifted coaches, and they have always been more than helpful whenever I had a question or wanted to mull something over with someone. These are contacts that I will keep for a long time, as these guys—and many others I have stolen from and not named here—are my constant advisors.

10) Since UCD, you have coached at Miramonte and St. Ignatius.  Tell us a little about your experiences there and some of the highlights
My stint at Miramonte High School was very special. We celebrated so many amazing things in my two years there, and we also endured a very difficult time when we lost Joe Loudon in the spring of 2009. I was able to reunite with one of my high school coaches—Brian Henderson—and he really helped me adjust back to the high school environment. More importantly, he brought me back to my roots in the sport by reminding me of all the great lessons that were imparted to us by Mr. Wilder in our days at Moreau. Brian is one of the best guys in the sport—technically and spiritually—and I am indebted to him for sharing the Miramonte experience with me. With his help, as well as the support of a great coaching staff that I was able to assemble, we were able to resurrect the programs at Miramonte from some recent years of disappointment. We garnered league championships (individual and team), state meet qualifiers (track and XC), but more important than the accolades, we were able to boost team numbers, and in doing so, we also brought a newfound pride to the track & field program. Being a part of the track team became a source of identity and confidence and strength for our kids. We truly fostered a familial community among our kids, and I believe that was our greatest accomplishment. The relationships those kids built with each other and with the coaching staff are the true signs of our success. I am also proud of how many of our graduates have gone on to compete in college in the sport, and there are a few more that will graduate in the next 3 years who will do the same. We brought the tradition back to Miramonte HS, and I am very proud of those kids and of my coaching staff who nurtured those student-athletes in their development. Lastly, I really enjoyed being in the Diablo Foothill Athletic League with many of my longtime friends and colleagues: Manny Myers (Acalanes), Andrew Schreiber (Las Lomas), Chris Williams (Dublin), Tim Bruder (Alhambra), and Chuck Woolridge (Campolindo). Talk about a hit list of great coaches! Working with these guys week in and week out was a lot of fun.

As for St. Ignatius College Prep, what can I say—I am a pretty lucky guy to be in a place that brings together all of the things that are most important to me. I have always spoken to my students and athletes about the significance of faith, and now that I am in the Catholic school tradition in which I was raised, I can share my views more specifically and openly with my kids in the hopes of bettering their life experience. Faith, academics, and athletics—these are the three prongs of my life, and they mirror the traditions of Jesuit education. I mentioned earlier the death of Joe Loudon—one of my athletes at Miramonte HS. Joe’s death had a huge impact on me, because he was a young man who brought these three areas together seamlessly in one incredible person. He was an excellent student, an excellent athlete, and he was also a young man of tremendous faith—giving of his time to do for others always. At his candlelight vigil, I spoke of Joe being “a man built for others”—a phrase I had read in a book entitled A Season of Life. Well, this inspired me to try to find a place where I could really flourish and be more like Joe. St. Ignatius is that place for me, where we are called to serve others—to be “men and women for and with others.” Needless to say, there could be no better place for me to give back to the community at large—to take what I had learned from Joe and return the favor by giving of myself to the students at SI.

I teach juniors and freshmen in my English classes at SI, and in track and cross country, I have been able to join forces with one of my great advisors over the years—Al Berrin. I have been talking shop with Al for nearly 10 years now—meeting him for coffee and clogging up table space for hours at the Starbucks on Twin Peaks along with Tony Kauke (BATC co-founder). Al is a great educator, a great coach, and a man of incredible generosity, and it is great to have him as my right-hand man at SI. I once again find myself in a league of tremendous coaches in the West Catholic Athletic League, and three of them in particular are ones whom I consult with on a variety of things—Josh Small (Valley Christian SJ), Pat McCrystle (Bellarmine), and Andy Chan (Sacred Heart). These guys are great to talk with and are always willing to share their insights and ideas.

It has been really exciting coming to SI and coaching the boys so far. We are a very young team—chronologically and experientially—so that makes me very excited about our potential. My first XC season this fall started out a bit rocky, as we were not very prepared when we began racing. We were forced to make a lot of adjustments to what I had hoped to do with the athletes from a physical and psychological standpoint, and the boys rolled right with it. The dramatic improvement that we saw from the beginning of the year to the end was very inspiring. Unfortunately, we were one of those teams that got bit by the sickness bug down the stretch, and this made our postseason not as good as we had hoped. Nonetheless, the boys exhibited great resiliency as we continued the streak of making it to the state meet, and several of them were still able to pull off their best races of the year despite illness. All in all, it was a great year of growth and learning and achievement, which bodes well for the future.

11)  From your perspective, what are the keys to being a successful runner in high school?
Well, there are certainly some obvious answers to this question (i.e. genetics—choose the right parents), but here are some others that I really try to focus on as a coach with my athletes:
·        Love the sport
o   Running is hard. Really hard. If you do not love it, you will not be as good as you could be. And love is not easy, and it takes work, so spend the time getting to know your sport so that you can really fall in love with it. That doesn’t mean being a message board whacko or freaking out every time some new rankings come out. What I mean is that you need to really learn about the history and the dynamics of the sport. Despite the craziness of the drug age in sports, there is still purity and nobility in stepping to the line with another guy and looking him in the eye and daring him to try and beat you. Racing is what we do, and everyone loves races of some sort. So talk to people, read books, watch movies, go to meets, go to camps and clinics—immerse yourself in the culture of this sport. I promise you, you will not be disappointed. Some of the best relationships I have in my life are the direct result of being associated with this sport. You will be better for falling in love with running.
·        Show up, Make the effort, Be a great teammate
o   I wish I could say I thought of this, but quite frankly, I am not nearly as sharp as the great Jeff Johnson. Jeff was Nike’s first employee, the man who gave the brand it’s name, one of the greatest photographers in our sport, the man who discovered Andrew Wheating, and the former coach of the Nike Farm Team. Bottom line—the dude is impressive. Anyway, about five years ago, I had a chance to listen to Jeff talk out in Colorado and this is what he presented as his keys to success—the very one’s he offers up to his own athletes. I have built other things around these core ideas, but here they are in a simplified form:
§  Show up—be dependable
·        80% of life is just showing up. If you just show up, you will be successful 80% of the time because most people do not show up.
§  Make the effort—be responsible
·        The difference between making the effort and doing it halfway is not that much, so you might as well do things right by giving your best.
·        If you show up and make the effort, you will be successful 90% of the time because you will be willing to do two things most people will not do.
§  Be a great teammate—be selfless
·        Each athlete must work positively with their teammates for a team to be successful. Each athlete must care about the success of their teammates as much as their own. Athletes must reach ahead to push those ahead of them and reach back to pull those behind them so that the links of the team will come together.
·        If you show up, make the effort, and are a great teammate, you will be successful 95% of the time because you will be willing to do three things most people will not do.
So what about the other 5%, you may ask? Well, personally, I think that is left up to the things you cannot control, so why worry about them?
·        Balance
o   I do not believe that a kid can only be excellent in one area of his/her life and expect to lead a full and productive life. This suggests a lack of balance. If a person becomes too single-minded, something will suffer. Want to be good in running? Be good in school. Want to be good in school? Be good in running. Want to be a good teammate? Be a good son or daughter. And so on. Each element feeds those around them. You cannot invest in one thing predominantly and expect that something else will not suffer. I always tell my kids and their parents that student-athlete is one word, and both deserve equal attention. If you cannot be both and give each their due respect, then you should choose to be just a student and not be on a team. The hyphen in the word student-athlete is a fulcrum, and on either side are seven letters—one for each day of the week. Mindful practice of both each day is essential for success in the form of balance.

12)  Same question in regards to being a successful high school coach.
Simple bullet points will serve well here, as I am nowhere near as successful as others you have interviewed on here, and I can only think to offer up what I try to focus on myself.
·        Expect greatness
·        Maximize potential
·        Improve every day
·        Be consistently excellent
·        Listen more, talk less
·        Always be learning
·        Know that the kids are not like you
·        What got you here won’t get you there—evolve
·        They want your help—even when they don’t know how to ask
·        No one wants to fail—some just don’t know the way

13)  Anything else you would like to add?
Thanks for everything you do for the sport, Albert. And good luck to all this track season!

Thank you very much for your time Chris!  AJC


Mattern said...

I ran against Chris, and occasionally with him on training runs, while in high school.

1. He was crazy fast!
2. Shenanigans, definitely.
3. I remember doing Wilder Fun Runs with him...behind him...on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the summer.
4. I think that the 8 mile run with Berkowitz that you referred to was also with Larry Guinnee. It was intense. My bro and I still talk about it.
5. I always enjoy talking with Chris and hearing his passion for distance running.

Take care and Happy New Year!

Coach Small said...

This is a must read for any coach!

It was inspiring to read the journey Coach Pup has been on through the years and how he brings that to coaching at the high school level.

Incredible interview Coach Pup, it made my Monday a little better after our two weeks off!

Coach Darren - Harbor .City said...

I thoroughly enjoyed the interview and am inspired. I am coaching boys & girls at San Pedro HS, pursuing knowledge through books, USATF coaching level 1 certification, and pursuing a MS in Exercise Science. Your site is great for the sport and coaches.

KFTM said...

This is a great interview. It really covers the entire spectrum here and I learned something from each part of it. Keep it coming Albert!

Anonymous said...

Doesnt he also coach Tim Bayley?

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