Friday, June 03, 2011

Catching up with Mt. Pleasant coach, Steve Nelson...

Today we chat with Mt. Pleasant head track and field coach, Steve Nelson (pictured to the left courtesy of  He started at M.P. in the spring of 1986 and in his impressive term at the school, Steve has won a consecutive string of league titles as well as an impressive 11 CCS team titles (9 girls and 2 boys) which includes another girls' title this spring.  His 2007 girls' team also won the state championship as they outpointed the usual array of Southern Section teams to win a rare team title for a team up north.  You can read more about that team in an article posted on following that team championship at the following link:

1)  What sports did you play during your youth?
I started off as a 3 sport athlete in football, basketball and track and field at Aragon H.S. in San Mateo.  By my junior year I decided to concentrate on football and track. We had P.E athletic back then and I got started on track once  football was over.

2)  What was one of your earlier highlight that you remember as an athlete?
I remember as an athlete running a distance medley at the West Valley Relays as a freshmen. They needed someone to run the 400 leg .As a freshmen, I thought of myself solely as a sprinter. I think this was Coach Daskarolis' way of easing me into the 400. I ran a 53 something leg and moved our team way up. After that, I was a 1/4 miler.

3)  What led you into teaching and coaching?
I had fantastic coaches/mentors starting in Jr. High School. Jim Guerrelo(Buena Vist Elementary) was the first.  We had elementary P.E and some sports back then.  Next came George Trubow (Borel Jr. High ), Bill Daskarolis  (Aragon High School) and finally Bob Rush in CSM Jr.College.  They all made me want to be a teacher/coach. 

4)  Who are or have been your coaching mentors that have helped you most in becoming the coach you are today?
The previous 4 men inspired me to coach. Since then, Tony Wells (Colorado Flyers) and Vince Anderson (Texas A&M ) have both been the coaches who I have developed my philosopy around. Scott Evens (Leigh), Curtis Taylor (Laney College) and John Harvey (De La Salle) are my current support group.  Each of us have been to Toney Wells' clinics and we continue to bounce philosophy and training idea off each other.

5)  How long have you been at Mt. Pleasant and did you teach/coach anywhere else before MP?
 I've been at Mt.Pleasant since the spring of 1986 when I was a student teacher. I started teaching at M.P. in the fall of 1986 after running in Jr.College at CSM.  I did assist at Homstead in 1984 while attending San Jose State.. Joe Mangan (current CSM coach) and Toney Green (current Bishop O'Dowd coach) were also on staff.

6)  Looking back to when you started coaching at MP, who was the first athlete(s) that really bought into what you were doing as a coach?
Ed Lasquete was the first national level athlete I had in 1990. We worked together to earn the state championship in 1990 and he went on to compete for Cal Poly SLO.  Ed also competed in the Olympics for the Phillipines in 1992. Ed helped me become a better coach as I needed to learn more to better help the athletes that were more talented.

7)  You won your first CCS track and field titles in 1992 as both your girls and boys won the team titles.  What was it like to win those first titles?
 In 1992 we had a fantastic overall team, both boys and girls. We had CCS placers in the sprints, distances, jumps and throws.  We expected to win both titles then. I learned a lot about the administrative parts of coaching that year. 

8)  From your perspective, what are the keys in developing strong sprint, hurdle and field athletes?
Being on campus and identifing the athletes and then getting them to commit to the prrogram . The weight room is the biggest factor in development especially for the girls.  Olympic lifting during both off season and in-season are the key. 

9)  Your girls won the 2007 CIF Track and Field team title.  Tell us a little about that group of girls and some of their accomplishments.
I am very proud of those girls both for there accomplishments on and off the track.  Every year at the league, section ant state level, the teams that are supposed to win don't always do so. That group of girls and coaches were on it for the long haul with everyone working very hard all year.

10)  It's been well reported in the newspapers about your teaching position at Mt. Pleasant.  Is there any update as to where you will be teaching next year?
As of right now, I'm still teaching at Evergreen Valley H.S.  We did have a teacher retire at M.P. this spring and hopefully I wil be back next year. There are no guarantees. I was told by the superintendent that what I do as a coach has no bearing on my teaching position. It's a political snafu that has nothing to do with me.

11)  What would be your advice for a new coach in Track and Field and how to best build a successful program?
Get quality assistance that are on the same page as you as a coach. All of my assistants are my ex-athletes Monica Gomez (throws) Jamal Elmidge, Jimmy Brown (jumps,) and Angela Hill (hurdles).   As the head guy, you need to be responsible for coaching everyone on the team. In our case our assistants are all off campus coaches and have jobs.I need to make the workouts and be in charge of the development of all of the kids. The assistants need to come in do what they do best and go back to being moms and take care of their jobs.If you can get one day a week out of quality people, take it. 

12)  Anything else you would like to add.
I really enjoy what I do and the people that I work with.  My assistant coaches as well as my colleages in my coaching circle have made me a better coach and a better person. I appreciate and thank them for making this the best job in the world.

Thank you very much for your time Steve!  AJC

1 comment:

Evan Smith said...

Steve makes the CCS stronger in so many ways. Keep it up Mr. Nelson!

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