Marist School - Atlanta, GA
Number of years coaching:9 years coaching Cross Country and Track & Field, the last 6 years at Marist School.
At a glance: Coach Eric Heintz inspires new runners to run more, experienced runners to train harder/smarter, and everyone he knows to never give up. Each of his runners leave high school with a lifelong love of running which was proven by the 82 nominations we received from both current and former runners, the most of any coach. A cancer survivor, his struggles have shown his team how to persevere in any situation. Coach Heintz promotes higher education with his students, stays in touch year round to keep them focused on running and out of trouble, and encourages his team to be the best they can be.
What piece of advice does Coach Heintz give an athlete having a bad day to inspire them?
I usually give them 10 minutes to pout about it and then ask them to move on to positive thoughts. Seriously, I am not the kind of guy that can give a platitude to a broken heart and see revolutionary change; I am honest with kids. We all have bad days. We all have moments of doubt and ill feelings. If we didn’t, we aren’t human. However, the trust test of a champion is whether we learn from these experiences and whether we let ourselves get weighed down by them. Recognize the positive in every moment no matter how dour it may seem.
What makes Coach Heintz Run Happy?
I love running pure and simple. I remember my grandparents asking me in high school if I would still be running when I am in my 30’s. Here I am! I sleep well at night knowing that I am helping teens develop the same love and passion for sport that drives me to this day. On a personal note, there is seriously no better feeling that finishing a race or a long run and seeing your wife and two boys waiting for your return. I can’t help but smile when I hear my oldest son butcher a “congratulations daddy.” Times don’t mean a thing when your family is running right there with you!