Libertyville High School - Libertyville, IL
Number of years coaching:12 years of Cross Country and 3 years of Track and Field
At a glance: Since he started at Libertyville in 2001, Coach Mark Buesing has grown the track team from only 18 members to over 100 and his goal every year is to have each one of those runners succeed. Throughout the summer, he offers training camps for his athletes and commutes across state lines to be there. While many coaches will put their focus on the varsity team, Coach Buesing will spend his time during track workouts coaching the slower runners. He wants every person on the team to feel important and that with hard work, they have the same opportunity run fast and make the varsity squad.
What piece of advice does Coach Buesing give an athlete having a bad day to inspire them?
Go for a long run! Running is a perfect time to reflect. There is nothing like the tranquility of a forest preserve trail to clear the mind and ponder what is truly important in life.
When making decisions about missing practices or meets, I give parents and athletes the following rubric ranked by importance: your religion, your country, your family, your education, high school cross country, and then everything else. The point being that running comes fifth on the list. There are many things and many people that are more important than running. Sometimes a bad day is about putting things in perspective.
What makes Coach Buesing Run Happy?
I really love running. Sometimes the love doesn’t come until the end of a run, but I still love it. I’ve tried to hire the same kind of assistants. Matt Condron has run more ultras than he can count including many 100 milers (one in 19 hours). Mike Cook is a young Marine Corps officer and fellow physics teacher who can still throw down with the top high school guys. Caitlin Bye is a two-time Ironman finisher (including a 3:50 marathon in her most recent finish). Our goal is to get the kids to see that you can run, and run happy, doing a variety of different kinds of running at all ages.
I often joke about being the best coach in the state at getting guys from 24:00 to 16:00 for 3 miles cross country, but the worst at getting them to run sub-16. I really admire those back-of-the-pack runners who are doing all the same hard training and suffering just as much as the fast guys, yet they get none of the glory. They will never see their name in the paper nor ever get a medal. I am amazed that there are 100+ guys willing to put themselves through that kind of agony to drop from 21 to 20 minutes. But when I look in their faces after they cross the line with a new PR, I understand. They are truly happy. And so am I.