Inspiring Coaches Finalist Nicole Petty

Garfield High School - Seattle, WA

Number of years coaching: 6 years coaching track and cross country.

At a glance: Coach Nicole Petty brings energy, passion and a wonderful sense of humor to her coaching. At a culturally diverse school, she stresses the importance of team bonding. She pushes her athletes to do their best, but she is also their biggest cheerleader and supporter off the track. When she found out that the father of one of her runners was losing his battle with cancer, Coach Petty dropped everything to lend support and visit with both the athlete and his father. The care and compassion she shows to each student drives them to always push themselves to do their best.


What piece of advice does Coach Petty give an athlete having a bad day to inspire them?
Usually after telling them a joke with my sarcastic sense of humor (that if nothing else will create a smile response)…I tell them that whatever obstacles and challenges they face today will all be a part of their testimony tomorrow. We learn from our successes, failures, and life circumstances and more so than not – those who have had more to overcome, will one day achieve the highest fulfillment. I support them in any way I can, and remind them although the road may not be easy, to NEVER GIVE UP because they are more than conquerors!

What makes Coach Petty Run Happy?
I believe running to be therapy. One thing I often share with my runners is how important running can be in their life. Not only for the physical benefits, but also the mental and emotional ones. I encourage them to face their adversity and use running as an outlet, as I do. If they are angry, sad, confused, overwhelmed, frustrated, etc., to “run it out” – and use running as a therapy session, leaving nothing behind…Running is freedom and brings clarity– helps make room for happiness

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