Brooks Inspiring Coaches

It started with one. And then it was 10. And suddenly we were flooded with stories of high school running coaches who didn’t stop at teaching kids to race. To the coaches who take their leadership into their schools, into their communities and into the lives of their athletes: this award is for you.

Nomination Form

Fill out my online form.

FAQS

Have a burning question? Chances are we’ve answered it before.

  • Q: When are nominations open?
  • A: Nominations for 2015 are open! Nominations will close on May 15.
  • Q: Do you have to be a high school athlete to nominate a coach?
  • A: No way! We love to hear from parents, other coaches, former athletes, school administrators, shop owners, observant passersby—in short, anyone who has been inspired!
  • Q: Does the nominee have to coach at the high school level?
  • A: Yes. We know there are awesome coaches inspiring runners at all levels, but this program is designed to honor those who are currently coaching high school cross country and/or track and field in the U.S.
  • Q: When do you announce the finalists?
  • A: In June, Brooks will announce the finalists and share their stories. That’s when you (and everyone you know) will have a chance to vote for your favorite coach. Be sure to spread the word!
  • Q: When do you announce the winner?
  • A: The 2015 Brooks Inspiring Coach will be chosen from the group of finalists and announced in June.
  • Q: What do the coaches win?
  • A: Each finalist will receive:
    • $5,000 in Brooks performance running footwear, apparel and accessories for their team(s)
    • $500 cash for team expenses (paid to the high school’s athletic department or booster club)
    • Membership to the Brooks Inspire Daily (ID) program for the following year

    And for the winner:

    • An additional $5,000 in Brooks gear
    • Another $2,000 cash for team expenses (paid to the school athletic department or booster club)
    • A trip for two to the Brooks PR Invitational in Seattle
  • Wait! You didn’t answer my question!
  • Take a peek at the Contest Rules for a full lowdown on the Inspiring Coaches program.

Contest rules

Brooks Sports Inspiring Coaches Giveaway Official Rules

Important: Please read these rules before nominating a Nominee (defined below) in this Giveaway (the "Giveaway").By participating in this Giveaway, you agree to be bound by these Official Rules and represent that your Nominee satisfies all of the eligibility requirements below.

NO PURCHASE IS NECESSARY TO ENTER.

1. Eligibility. PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE ODDS OF A NOMINEE RECEIVING A GIFT. YOU MAY ONLY NOMINATE A NOMINEE WHO IS A HIGH SCHOOL TRACK AND FIELD AND/OR CROSS COUNTRY COACH AS OF THE START DATE OF THE GIVEAWAY AND WHO IS A LEGAL RESIDENT OF ONE OF THE FIFTY (50) UNITED STATES OR DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA OR CANADA AND IS AT LEAST AGE 18 (OR THE AGE OF MAJORITY UNDER APPLICABLE LAW). IF THE NOMINEE YOU NOMINATE DOES NOT MEET ANY OF THESE REQUIREMENTS, OR ANY OTHER ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS IN THESE OFFICIAL RULES, THEN THE NOMINEE IS NOT ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE A GIFT, AND BROOKS SPORTS, INC. ("Brooks") RESERVES THE RIGHT NOT TO GIVE GIFTS TO THAT NOMINEE. Nominations (defined below) must be completed and received by Brooks in the manner and format designated below in order to be judged. Directors, officers and employees of Brooks and its participating sponsor(s) and any of their respective affiliate companies, subsidiaries, agents, professional advisors, advertising and promotional agencies, and immediate families of each are not eligible to receive any gifts, Nominate Nominees or vote for Nominees. All applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations apply. A Nominee can be Nominated by multiple individuals, but an individual may only Nominate a particular Nominee one time. Additional Nominations from one individual (including from different email addresses belonging to one individual) for one Nominee will be disregarded. A Nominee may not Nominate himself or herself.

2. Disclaimer. Brooks, all participating sponsors, and any of their respective parent companies, subsidiaries, affiliates, directors, officers, professional advisors, employees and agencies (collectively, the "Released Parties") will not be responsible for: (a) any late, lost, misrouted, garbled or distorted or damaged transmissions or entries; (b) telephone, electronic, hardware, software, network, Internet, or other computer- or communications-related malfunctions or failures; (c) any Giveaway disruptions, injuries, losses or damages caused by events beyond the control of Brooks or by non-authorized human intervention; or (d) any printing or typographical errors in any materials associated with the Giveaway.

3. Giveaway Period. You may submit Nominations between 9:00 am (all times Pacific Time) on September 1, 2015 and 11:59 pm on May 15, 2015 (the "Nomination Period"). Nominations must be received by the end of the Nomination Period for the Nominee to be eligible to receive a gift.

4. Gifts. One first place gift recipient will receive the following gift pack: $10,000 in Brooks merchandise for the first place gift recipient's current high school team (approximate retail value ("ARV"): $10,000); $2,500 cash for additional team needs (ARV: $2,500); membership in the Brooks I.D. Program for 2016 (ARV: $1,500); and a trip for the first place gift recipient and a guest to the Brooks PR Invitational in 2015 consisting of 3 nights accommodations at a hotel in Seattle, Washington, two roundtrip airline tickets from the major airport closest to the recipient's address to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (ARV: $2,000) (the "Trip"). Total ARV of first place gift pack: $16,000. All merchandise and cash will be donated directly to the high school (or its designee) where the first place gift recipient coaches and will be earmarked for the track and field and/or cross country program at that school.

Twenty-nine (29) runner up gift recipients will each receive the following gift pack: $5,000 in Brooks merchandise for each runner up gift recipient's current high school team (ARV: $5,000); $500 cash for additional team needs (ARV: $500); and membership in the Brooks I.D. Program for 2016 (ARV: $1,500). All merchandise and cash will be donated directly to the high school (or its designee) where the runner up gift recipients coach and will be earmarked for the track and field and/or cross country program. Total ARV of each runner up gift pack: $7,000. All merchandise and cash will be donated directly to the high school where the first place gift recipient coaches and will be earmarked for the track and field and/or cross country program at that school.

Total ARV of all gifts available: $219,000.

5. Odds; Taxes; Etc. Odds of receiving a gift depend on the number of eligible Nominees and the quality of Nominations received. ALL FEDERAL, STATE AND LOCAL TAXES ASSOCIATED WITH THE RECEIPT OR USE OF THE MEMBERSHIP IN THE I.D. PROGRAM AND THE TRIP ARE THE SOLE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE RECIPIENT. All gifts will be given, except that if there are not enough Nominations for one first place gift recipient and twenty nine (29) runner up gift recipients, then the number of runner up gift recipients will be reduced to the actual number of Nominations received that are not the first place gift recipient. If a gift notification is returned as undeliverable or a gift is otherwise not claimed within fifteen (15) business days after delivery of notification, the applicable gift will be forfeited and awarded to the Nominee who received the next highest score that puts the Nominee into the top twenty-nine (29) after the forfeiting recipient is disqualified. Gifts are not transferable. No substitutions or exchanges (including for cash) of any gifts will be permitted, except that Brooks reserves the right to substitute a gift of comparable or greater value for any gift. Limit one gift per Nominee per school. All gifts are awarded "AS IS" and WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, express or implied (including, without limitation, any implied warranty of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose).

6. How to Nominate a Nominee. To nominate a Nominee, take the following steps during the Giveaway Period: (i) Identify a current high school track and field or cross country coach that you think is an inspiring coach (a "Nominee");
(ii) Visit Brooks' Web site at www.brooksrunning.com;
(iii) Click on the "Inspiring Coaches Application" on the Inspiring Coaches Program webpage;
(iv) Fill out the Inspiring Coaches Application with all requested information about the Nominee; and
(v) Follow the instructions to submit your entry (your completed Inspiring Coaches Application, contact and other information are collectively your "Nomination").

All requested information and material must be provided for your Nomination to be valid. Nominations submitted to Brooks in connection with the Giveaway will not be returned. Proof of online submission of a Nomination will not be deemed to be proof of receipt of Nomination by Brooks. By submitting a Nomination, you consent to being placed on a mailing list for promotional and other purposes.

By submitting your Nomination, you agree that your Nomination conforms to the Content Guidelines and Restrictions listed below (collectively, the "Guidelines and Restrictions") and that Brooks, in its sole discretion, may remove any Nomination and your Nominee from the Giveaway if it believes, in its sole discretion that your Nomination fails to conform to the Guidelines and Restrictions.

Content Guidelines and Restrictions:

  • Your Nomination must be your original creation and owned one hundred percent (100%) by you, or alternatively you must have full rights to grant the license and rights that you grant to Brooks in Section 11 below;
  • Your Nomination must not contain material that violates or infringes upon any person's or entity's rights including, but not limited to, the rights of privacy (including, but not limited to, publicity and/or right not to be held in a false light), publicity or any intellectual property rights (including, but not limited to, trademark or copyright infringement), and cannot describe, in any identifiable way, any copyrights, trademarks/tradenames, logos, or similar brand identifying marks or third party artistic works;
  • Your Nomination must not disparage any person or entity;
  • Your Nomination must be tasteful, consistent with Brooks' brand and image, must not be harmful to Brooks' brand or image, and must not contain material that is inappropriate, indecent, obscene, hateful, tortious, and/or defamatory;
  • Your Nomination must not contain material that promotes bigotry, racism, hatred or harm against any group or individual or promotes discrimination based on race, gender, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; and
  • Your Nomination must not contain material that is unlawful, in violation of or contrary to the laws or regulations in any jurisdiction where the Nomination is created.

7. Selection and Notification of Recipient. Beginning on or about June 2, 2015, a panel of qualified judges, including Brooks employees (the "Judging Panel") will, in their sole discretion score the eligible Nominee based on the following criteria ("Judging Criteria"), each as applied to the Nominations received for each Nominee. The top 30 scoring Nominees will become finalists and the finalist Nominees will be notified by Brooks on or about June 1, 2015: (i) overall inspirational quality of Nominee;
(ii) clarity and objectivity of examples of how the Nominee has been inspirational;
(iii) consistency of Nominee with the theme of inspirational coaches;
(iv) the most apt, interesting, and original Nomination;
(v) the overall merit of the Nominee (including the number of Nominations the Nominee receives); and
(vi) the overall quality (e.g., writing quality, including clarity) of the Nomination.

On or about June 1, 2015, the 30 finalist Nominees will be posted online at www.brooksrunning.com/InspiringNominees. Once posted, the running community and general public may visit Brooks' Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/#!/brooksrunning?fref=ts and vote on the Nominees until June 25, 2015, using the Judging Criteria. Voters vote by using the voting application and may only vote one time, for one Nominee, on a given day.

After the public voting has closed, the Judging Panel will re-score the finalist Nominees using the score first given to the Nominee by the Judging Panel and the number of votes the Nominee received from the public. The original score and the public vote will each make up 50% of the Nominee's "Final Score."

The Nominee that receives the highest Final Score will be the first place gift recipient. The twenty-nine (29) next highest scoring Nominees will each be the runner up gift recipients. Gift recipients will be notified by email and telephone or about June 30, 2015. In the unlikely event of a tie, the applicable gift recipient will be determined by the Nominee's score in the following criteria: consistency of Nominee with the theme of inspirational coaches. To claim a gift, each gift recipient should follow the instructions contained in his or her notification.

8. Selection of Merchandise. Actual model, color, size and features of the merchandise included in the gift pack awarded will be selected by Brooks in its sole discretion and may vary from photos used in print, electronic, or online advertising, including Brooks' web site.

9. Conditions of the Trip. Brooks will select airline, dates and times of travel and hotel. Dates of stay at the hotel will coincide with the 2016 Brooks PR Invitational and will be determined by Brooks at upon final scheduling of the 2016 Brooks PR Invitational. Brooks will pay only the nightly rate and taxes (all other incidental hotel expenses are the responsibility of the recipient). Recipient's guest must: (i) be at least 18 years of age or the age of majority under applicable law (unless recipient is the parent or legal guardian of the guest); and (ii) sign an affidavit of eligibility and liability release prior to recipient taking the Trip. Recipient is responsible for ground transportation to and from the airports, hotel and Brooks' PR Invitational, all meals and all other expenses that recipient or recipient's guest incurs in connection with the Trip.

10. Non-Infringing Entry Materials. You hereby represent and warrant that (i) you have the right to grant the rights granted herein (including without limitation in Section 11 below) or, alternatively, you have obtained all necessary rights and permissions to use and submit your Nomination in connection with the Giveaway and to provide all the rights specified in these Official Rules; and (ii) your Nomination and the use thereof as contemplated herein does not and will not violate, misappropriate, or infringe upon any law or regulation or the rights of any third party, including any copyright, trademark, or any rights of publicity or privacy, or any other intellectual property or proprietary rights.

11. License to Nominations. By submitting your Nomination, you hereby grant to Brooks a perpetual, irrevocable, royalty-free, worldwide, nonexclusive license to publish, reproduce, display, perform, distribute, adapt, edit, modify, translate, create derivative works based upon, and otherwise use and sublicense your Nomination, or any portion thereof, in connection with the Giveaway and for other marketing and promotional purposes, and to incorporate Nominations, in whole or in part, into other works in any manner, form, media or technology now known or later developed, without additional compensation to you. Brooks will have no obligation to publish or use or retain any Nomination you submit or to return any such Nomination or Giveaway entry materials to you. You also agree to take, at Brooks' expense, any further action reasonably requested by Brooks to effect, perfect, or confirm Brooks' rights set forth above in this paragraph.

12. Affidavit and Release. As a condition of being awarded any gift, the gift recipient may (in Brooks' sole discretion) be required to execute and deliver to Brooks a signed affidavit of eligibility, acceptance of these Official Rules, release of liability, and any other legal, regulatory, or tax-related documents required by Brooks in its sole discretion.

13. Gift Recipient List; Rules Request. For a copy of the gift recipient list, send a stamped, self-addressed, business-size envelope after June 30, 2015 and before July 31, 2015 to Sponsor at the address listed below, Attn: "Brooks Inspiring Coaches" Giveaway Gift Recipient List. To obtain a copy of these rules, send a stamped, self-addressed business-size envelope to Sponsor at the address listed below, Attn: "Brooks Inspiring Coaches" Giveaway Official Rules Request. Residents of VT may omit return postage.

14. Intellectual Property Notice. Brooks and Brooks Running are trademarks of Brooks Sports, Inc. The Giveaway and all accompanying materials are copyright 2015 by Brooks Sports, Inc. All rights are reserved.

15. Miscellaneous. The Giveaway and these Official Rules will be governed, construed and interpreted under the laws of the state of Washington, U.S.A. You agree to be bound by these Official Rules and by the decisions of Brooks, which are final and binding in all respects. Brooks reserves the right to change these Official Rules at any time, in its sole discretion, and to suspend or cancel the Giveaway or any entrant's participation in the Giveaway should viruses, bugs, unauthorized human intervention, or other causes beyond Brooks' control affect the administration, security or proper play of the Giveaway, or Brooks otherwise becomes (as determined in its sole discretion) incapable of running the Giveaway as planned. Notwithstanding the foregoing, Brooks reserves the right to amend, modify, or cancel the Giveaway at any time without notice. Participants who violate these Official Rules; violate any law, rule, or regulation in connection with participation in the Giveaway; tamper with the operation of the Giveaway or engage in any conduct that is detrimental or unfair to Brooks, the Giveaway, or any other entrant (in each case as determined in Brooks' sole discretion) are subject to disqualification from entry into the Giveaway. Brooks reserves the right to lock out persons whose eligibility is in question or who have been disqualified or are otherwise ineligible to enter the Giveaway. Any provision of these Official Rules deemed unenforceable will be enforced to the extent permissible, and the remainder of these Official Rules will remain in effect. If you have any questions about these Official Rules or the Giveaway, please e-mail them to socialmedia@brooksrunning.com or send written questions to Brooks Sports, Brooks Inspiring Coaches Giveaway, ATTN: S. DeKoker, 3400 Stone Ave N, Floor 5, Seattle, WA 98103.

16. Sponsor: Brooks Sports, Inc., 3400 Stone Ave N, Floor 5, Seattle, WA 98103.

Past Winners

  • 2014 Renee Williams-Smith

    Mira Costa High School
    Los Angeles, CA

    Renee was the first female athlete to run for Mira Costa High School and she returned after a successful business career to form a dynamic girl’s program.
    Read more

  • 2013 Justin Torres

    Bishop Mora Salesian High School
    Los Angeles, California

    By igniting the athletic and academic fire in his athletes, Coach Torres led the Mustangs to both cross country championships and college.
    Read more

  • 2012 Paul Raley

    Benton High School
    Benton, Wisconsin

    Meet a man who dedicated his retirement to re-starting Benton High School’s track program, funding it out of pocket for its first four years.
    Read more

  • 2011 Amy Pitzel

    Katy Taylor High School
    Katy, Texas

    Coach P blew her runners away as she kept the team united after a devastating accident.
    Read more

2014 Inspiring Coach of the Year

Renee Williams-Smith

Mira Costa High School
Los Angeles, CA

Number of Years Coaching: 12

At a Glance: At the advice of a teacher, coach Williams-Smith decided to run for the Mira Costa track team. After running a few meets in the only option available – the boy’s uniform – Renee decided to stitch her own uniform. Coach Smith went on to run for Kansas State on a track scholarship and then lead a successful business career in leadership and team-building. She used those business skills when she returned to Mira Costa to rebirth a fledgling girl’s program to create a California State powerhouse, empowering young woman and putting the final touches on an incredible story of a trailblazing coach.

What Piece of Advice Do You Give an Athlete Having a Bad Day? That it’s just one day. The challenging and/or bad days are part of the growth that gets you where you want to be, when you want to be there. Also, the statement “If it were easy, everyone would do it” helps them stay focused on being proud of their effort, rather than worrying about results. When they focus on giving their best effort, their best results have a way of following.

What Makes You Run Happy? I love running with friends and talking and laughing about every possible subject, but I also love that long run on my own at 5:00am when the sun is rising halfway through my run and I am pushing hard and no one else is out there and I feel like the strongest version of myself. Both of these help feed my soul and make me complete. Running has given me great life lessons, lifelong friends, and good health.

2013 Inspiring Coach of the Year

Justin Torres

Bishop Mora Salesian High School
Los Angeles, California

Number of Years Coaching:

At a Glance: By teaching his team from East LA the true meaning of hard work and what it accomplishes, Coach Justin Torres not only motivated them as runners, but many went on to attend four year universities. This is something many of them had never considered a possibility before running. Coach Torres creates a brotherhood among his team with altitude training trips that are more about the bonding then the workouts. This commitment to the team encourages each person to work for something greater than just their personal achievements.

What Piece of Advice Do You Give an Athlete Having a Bad Day?

What Makes You Run Happy? Seeing my boys succeed!!! On the course, in school, and in their community.

2012 Inspiring Coach of the Year

Paul Raley

Benton High School
Benton, Wisconsin

Number of Years Coaching: 31

At a Glance: In the 1980's, Coach Paul Raley lead a strong track program at Benton High School before leaving to pursue other job opportunities. The program that he championed eventually folded, so when he retired from teaching he returned to Benton High School to revive the program that he loved so dearly. For the first four years, he funded the program on his own and continues to work for free as the volunteer head coach. Now as he faces his own personal medical struggles, he continues to coach as much as possible, so he can pass his joy of running and coaching advice onto his athletes.

What Piece of Advice Do You Give an Athlete Having a Bad Day? The first thing I try and do is find something positive to tell them. Athletes can read body language, so stay upbeat. They will look to his/her coach for support immediately, so being positive is the way to start. I then try and calm them down and give them confidence and support. In this day and age where "touching" can be frowned on, I still give hugs, high fives, and pats on the back where needed! We all have hurdles in our lane or path of life. Some of these hurdles are bigger than others that we have to get over, and just because we tried, it doesn't always mean that there will be a positive outcome. I stress with my athletes that one can't go around these—they must attack them head on! This applies to school, family, friends, and sports. If they prepare themselves and have confidence in their abilities and teammates, good things will happen in the end! There will always be another race to race! So let's get 'em next time!

What Makes You Run Happy? Knowing that running improved our physical conditioning, health, and overall wellbeing! My whole family enjoys being outside in the woods, in the lake, on trails, or in the mountains as much as possible. Running, biking, walking, lifting weights, and swimming are a big part of our family's routine!

2011 Inspiring Coach of the Year

Amy Pitzel

Katy Taylor High School
Katy, Texas

Number of Years Coaching: 6

At a Glance: With 64 Inspiring Coaches nominations, the most of any nominee, it is easy to say that Coach Amy Pitzel (also called Coach P by many of her athletes) is loved by athletes and parents alike. Phrases like "always available to challenge, encourage, and comfort her athletes," "is totally dedicated," "leads by example," and "is the glue that bonds her team like no other" continually come up in her applications.

What Piece of Advice Do You Give an Athlete Having a Bad Day? Most of my runners' bad days or bad races stem from having doubt in themselves. I just try to tell them that they need to believe in themselves as much as I believe in them. They have done all the training so know they just need to step on that line believing that they can compete with anyone. Distance running gives you a long time to think to yourself so you have to stay focused and confident.

What Makes You Run Happy? I honestly love to run and it comes across to my runners. I train with them (or behind them) and they appreciate that I am out there with them hitting the pavement. We run all summer even though I get no additional pay to run them during the summer. I do it because we have to in order to be competitive in our district and because I love spending the time with them. I welcome runners of all abilities to the team because they all can improve. The great thing about running is that you can see yourself getting faster because you can see your time going down. It makes me just as happy to see a runner get from a 21 minute 5K to a 19 minute 5K as it does to see a runner get down to a 15 minute 45 second 5K. I support them and their running after they leave high school whether they are competing in college or running their first marathon. I appreciate that running is a lifelong sport and I ultimately hope that I instill that love of running in them long after they have left the cross country team and high school. It is important to me that my team knows that I care about them and I am always proud to hear of their successes outside of running and into their college years and beyond.

2014 Inspiring Coach of the Year

Renee Williams-Smith

Mira Costa High School
Los Angeles, CA

Number of Years Coaching: 12

At a Glance: At the advice of a teacher, coach Williams-Smith decided to run for the Mira Costa track team. After running a few meets in the only option available – the boy’s uniform – Renee decided to stitch her own uniform. Coach Smith went on to run for Kansas State on a track scholarship and then lead a successful business career in leadership and team-building. She used those business skills when she returned to Mira Costa to rebirth a fledgling girl’s program to create a California State powerhouse, empowering young woman and putting the final touches on an incredible story of a trailblazing coach.

What Piece of Advice Do You Give an Athlete Having a Bad Day? That it’s just one day. The challenging and/or bad days are part of the growth that gets you where you want to be, when you want to be there. Also, the statement “If it were easy, everyone would do it” helps them stay focused on being proud of their effort, rather than worrying about results. When they focus on giving their best effort, their best results have a way of following.

What Makes You Run Happy? I love running with friends and talking and laughing about every possible subject, but I also love that long run on my own at 5:00am when the sun is rising halfway through my run and I am pushing hard and no one else is out there and I feel like the strongest version of myself. Both of these help feed my soul and make me complete. Running has given me great life lessons, lifelong friends, and good health.

2013 Inspiring Coach of the Year

Justin Torres

Bishop Mora Salesian High School
Los Angeles, California

Number of Years Coaching:

At a Glance: By teaching his team from East LA the true meaning of hard work and what it accomplishes, Coach Justin Torres not only motivated them as runners, but many went on to attend four year universities. This is something many of them had never considered a possibility before running. Coach Torres creates a brotherhood among his team with altitude training trips that are more about the bonding then the workouts. This commitment to the team encourages each person to work for something greater than just their personal achievements.

What Piece of Advice Do You Give an Athlete Having a Bad Day?

What Makes You Run Happy? Seeing my boys succeed!!! On the course, in school, and in their community.

2012 Inspiring Coach of the Year

Paul Raley

Benton High School
Benton, Wisconsin

Number of Years Coaching: 31

At a Glance: In the 1980's, Coach Paul Raley lead a strong track program at Benton High School before leaving to pursue other job opportunities. The program that he championed eventually folded, so when he retired from teaching he returned to Benton High School to revive the program that he loved so dearly. For the first four years, he funded the program on his own and continues to work for free as the volunteer head coach. Now as he faces his own personal medical struggles, he continues to coach as much as possible, so he can pass his joy of running and coaching advice onto his athletes.

What Piece of Advice Do You Give an Athlete Having a Bad Day? The first thing I try and do is find something positive to tell them. Athletes can read body language, so stay upbeat. They will look to his/her coach for support immediately, so being positive is the way to start. I then try and calm them down and give them confidence and support. In this day and age where "touching" can be frowned on, I still give hugs, high fives, and pats on the back where needed! We all have hurdles in our lane or path of life. Some of these hurdles are bigger than others that we have to get over, and just because we tried, it doesn't always mean that there will be a positive outcome. I stress with my athletes that one can't go around these—they must attack them head on! This applies to school, family, friends, and sports. If they prepare themselves and have confidence in their abilities and teammates, good things will happen in the end! There will always be another race to race! So let's get 'em next time!

What Makes You Run Happy? Knowing that running improved our physical conditioning, health, and overall wellbeing! My whole family enjoys being outside in the woods, in the lake, on trails, or in the mountains as much as possible. Running, biking, walking, lifting weights, and swimming are a big part of our family's routine!

2011 Inspiring Coach of the Year

Amy Pitzel

Katy Taylor High School
Katy, Texas

Number of Years Coaching: 6

At a Glance: With 64 Inspiring Coaches nominations, the most of any nominee, it is easy to say that Coach Amy Pitzel (also called Coach P by many of her athletes) is loved by athletes and parents alike. Phrases like "always available to challenge, encourage, and comfort her athletes," "is totally dedicated," "leads by example," and "is the glue that bonds her team like no other" continually come up in her applications.

What Piece of Advice Do You Give an Athlete Having a Bad Day? Most of my runners' bad days or bad races stem from having doubt in themselves. I just try to tell them that they need to believe in themselves as much as I believe in them. They have done all the training so know they just need to step on that line believing that they can compete with anyone. Distance running gives you a long time to think to yourself so you have to stay focused and confident.

What Makes You Run Happy? I honestly love to run and it comes across to my runners. I train with them (or behind them) and they appreciate that I am out there with them hitting the pavement. We run all summer even though I get no additional pay to run them during the summer. I do it because we have to in order to be competitive in our district and because I love spending the time with them. I welcome runners of all abilities to the team because they all can improve. The great thing about running is that you can see yourself getting faster because you can see your time going down. It makes me just as happy to see a runner get from a 21 minute 5K to a 19 minute 5K as it does to see a runner get down to a 15 minute 45 second 5K. I support them and their running after they leave high school whether they are competing in college or running their first marathon. I appreciate that running is a lifelong sport and I ultimately hope that I instill that love of running in them long after they have left the cross country team and high school. It is important to me that my team knows that I care about them and I am always proud to hear of their successes outside of running and into their college years and beyond.