Inspiring Coaches Finalist Jerry Dotson

Cary High School - Cary, NC

Number of years coaching: 33 years.

At a glance: Through thick and thin, Coach Jerry Dotson of Cary High School in Cary, N.C., is a constant, encouraging presence for his track and cross country teams. He’s the first to wish his athletes good luck and the first to congratulate each and every runner after a race. His presence as a coach extends even to other teams as Coach Dotson is known to give running tips and motivation to runners from competing schools.


What piece of advice does Coach Dotson give an athlete having a bad day to inspire them?
I think it is very important to get to know each athlete so you can develop a good line of communication. I try to learn how to motivate them; it is important to determine what might have led to a bad day or performance…Are they sick? Did they do poorly on a test? Are there problems at home? Problems with boyfriend or girlfriend? Maybe they’re tired from training? I try to encourage them to tell me what they think the problem might be and how we can correct or deal with it. If training might be an issue, then we walk through the training over the past week or two. I also learned early on that coaching and communicating with boys can be quite different from girls. Then I tell them that every athlete has a bad day. Go be alone and give yourself five minutes to work through the emotions. Life is too short to dwell on it. Trust your training and the good days will come. How you deal with the bad days shows your true character. I would end with telling them that I am always proud of what they have done and who they are. This is usually followed by a hug or a pat on the back.

What makes Coach Dotson Run Happy?
I love running in the summer rain and especially those runs when I just can’t run fast enough.

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