Inspiring Coaches Finalist Connie Washnik

Park Ridge High School - Park Ridge, NJ

Number of years coaching: 17 years coaching Track and Field

At a glance: If there was one word that could describe Coach Connie Washnick’s track team it would be family. She creates a bond with her runners that they carry with them throughout life. Always honest and fair, Coach Washnick has an unwavering faith in every student who is willing to try. Recently, she lost her husband, who was also an assistant track coach after a long battle with cancer. Throughout this difficult time, her team felt her strength, courage, love and even with all her personal sadness, she still had an encouraging word to say to every member of her the team. This dedication pushed her athletes to work that much harder and make her proud.


What piece of advice does Coach Washnik give an athlete having a bad day to inspire them?
As for advice for an athlete having a bad day? We have some ‘special’ athletes on our team and they never complain. They are always smiling! All I need to do is look in their general direction when an athlete is having a tough day and not much needs to be said. However, if the reason they are having a bad day is because they have not done all that they should have to prepare, then the motivation will help them look inward and recognize what they need to do. All athletes have different things that motivate them, the key to good coaching is finding what works with each individual. That is the greatest challenge.

What makes Coach Washnik Run Happy?
I never tire of helping each runner find his or her way to ‘run happy’

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