Inspiring Coaches Finalist Hernando Chavez

Taos High School - Taos, NM

Number of years coaching: 5 years as an assistant Cross Country Coach and 2 years as an assistant Track Coach

At a glance: Coach Hernando Chavez sees the potential in every athlete and encourages them to be the best they could be without comparing themselves to other runners. He is positive and full of integrity with a customizable approach to coaching. When an athlete joins his team, Coach Chavez doesn’t look at their current skill level, but sees their potential and how he can bring running into their lives. Located in a diverse area in northern New Mexico, Coach Chavez uses the special connection he has to the multi-cultural environment that exists in his community to inspire the youth as a special education teacher, as well as a coach.


What piece of advice does Coach Chavez give an athlete having a bad day to inspire them?
TRUST! This is the one word that has come to define our XC and Distance Event Track Runners. We have come to understand and develop a trust between our group that is strong and well tested. In times of stress, turmoil, etc. we always come back to that one word, TRUST. In speaking of trust this includes a trust in our program, and most importantly in each other. Often times I might share inspirational quotes or past experiences with them that will ease some of their worries and concerns. Ultimately, I believe trust extends in all aspects of these young people’s lives. It is important to foster a culture of openness without fear or being judged or ridiculed.

What makes Coach Chavez Run Happy?
My faith and the love that I share for my family. My three kids and my wife inspire me to keep pushing and continually grow as an individual. It can’t go without saying however, it is also those early mornings out for a run with the team when you see the sun just coming up and the joy and eagerness on the faces of these young men and women. It is in those moments when I remind myself once again to inspire and be inspired.

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