Friday, July 15, 2016

Goodbye KWU

 After seven years of coaching college and four years as an athlete, I have seen countless coaches in many sports come and go.  I even have my own experience leaving Baker University as a graduate assistant.  It seems that even a scheduled departure from a university is met with sadness and even sometimes hostility and anger.  When I left Baker, the majority of my athletes were very understanding that I was not offered a full time position and had no choice but depart.  So, I began a new chapter at Kansas Wesleyan University with one athlete.  Despite the dismal program I inherited, I knew I was doing what I had to do and more importantly what I wanted to do.   Each year I worked hard to recruit athletes, helping them grow as student athletes and young adults.  Currently with signings and returning athletes I have grown the program from 1 athlete to over 40 athletes.  I arrived with no uniforms, hurdles, or even a track. While at KWU, I feverishly spent more of my time calling alumni and writing letters to get our new facility built.  I also was the first coach in school history to coach both a men's and women's team to the national championship in cross country.  My years here at KWU have held some unforgettable moments that I will always remember.

In making a decision to coach at the college level I chose to forgo high salaries, enjoying weekends and holidays with friends, and even gave up most of my evenings for seven years, constantly texting and calling recruits to answer questions.  I loved what I did and as a young single man with a healthy family five hours away in Colorado it was a great time. I now have made what is potentially one of the toughest decisions I will ever make.  I am resigning as the head cross country, track and field coach at Kansas Wesleyan University. 

Automatically people assume that my resignation means I was asked to leave which is not the case. Not only did KWU want to keep me, they just offered me a raise to stay.  So, failure and salary had nothing to do with my decision.  Next, one might assume I have a coaching position lined up in Colorado, and at this time that is also not the case.  I still believe KWU is an excellent choice, as it has some of the finest coaches and professors anywhere.  My respect for my athletic director has even grown as he has stood up for me and my athletes multiple times.  I do believe that KWU is extremely top heavy with administration, but that doesn't apply to athletics or my decision.  I have arguably the strongest men and women's team I've had in my five years at KWU and know that a trip to nationals is likely for both.  Even the track only athletes will give KWU the highest placing I have ever had in track. 

Leaving is not an easy decision and has been weighing heavily on me for quite some time.  I've done my best to hide it while focusing on my athletes and growing my program.  I am not leaving for objective reasons. Instead, it is my heart pulling me home to Colorado.  My father will be 70 years old soon and has been fighting and so far beating cancer for over a year now.  This has made this past year more difficult, as time with him and family seems more precious than ever before.  I also have a love for Colorado that any who have met me would know.  It has been hard living away from the running community there, and even my best friends from college admit they are shocked that I have not moved home to look for a career there sooner.  My faith and happiness is at its strongest in Colorado.  Along with my family and friends it is where I must be.  There is never a good time to leave as a coach as each year I will have exciting young athletes that I love and care for.  I am choosing to leave now with the hope that a new coach will be blessed with a great team, and they can support each other.

I want to conclude by saying I will miss Kansas Wesleyan. I am thankful for all the support I received while there.  I love each and every one of my athletes, and none will be forgotten.  I hope in time they will understand my decision, and I pray their academic and athletic careers finish with personal bests all around.