Making History

 


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One of the things I most enjoy about my mission with SportsLeader is the opportunity to talk with coaches from all over the USA and Canada.

I had a phone conversation recently that I found particularly inspiring. It was with the head track coach at Franciscan University of Steubenville, Vince Oliver.

The point that hit me the most was when Coach Oliver began talking about the athletes on his team. "When a young person joins my track team they instantly become one of my children. I have six biological children of my own that I love with all my heart of course. But these young people become part of my heart as well. I become so emotionally involved with all of them. I care about them so much. I cry when they cry, I rejoice when they rejoice, I hurt when they hurt."

"One of my former athletes joined the Marines after graduation. When it came time to go to bootcamp, for whatever reason his family was not available to take him. He called me. I was so honored. Of course I went. He is being deployed oversees soon and I am going to see him."

"We have an athlete on the team, Bill Jones, currently who is ranked number 1 in the nation in Division 3. He is an outstanding runner, excellent student and even better human being. He is a graduating Senior and has already landed a job pretty far away. It hurts just thinking that we are "losing" him. He is such a leader and a huge part of the "heart" of our team ..."

All these quotes that I'm trying to write do not do justice.

How different our country would be if the majority of the coaches truly lived and loved the same way as Coach Oliver.

Don't be afraid to love with all year heart!

Here below is an article about Bill making history over the weekend. Coach and athlete making history both on and off the field.

Virtue = Strength, Lou 
SportsLeader Web Site

 
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Bill Jones Makes Division III History at Division I Meet

Lewisburg PA– Franciscan University runner Bill Jones won the 10k race at the the Bucknell Bision Invitational, running a time of 29:11.37 and making him the second fastest runner in the history of Division III outdoor track and field.

"It was the best race of my life," Jones said. "I surprised myself."

While the other members of the Baron Track team competed at the Westminster Invitational, Jones traveled to Lewisburg P.A. with assistant coach Daniel Kuebler to Bison Invitational, a Division I meet. Not only did Jones win the 10k against all Division I opponents but he also beat out the 2012 Atlantic 10, 10k Champion, Kevin McDonnell.

"I was with him in the first half," Jones said. "Then he pulled away about twenty yards and I started to gradually reel him back in. Then, at the last mile, I started to pull away."

In the last lap of the race Jones "unleashed the beast," in his words, and crossed the finish line a full five seconds ahead of McDonnell.

"It was one of the best races I've ever seen in my life," said assistant coach Dan Kuebler who is also Jones' head coach for Franciscan Cross Country. "He ran smart and he ran tough."

Jones said the tougher competition but relaxed atmosphere of a D I meet with limited expectations and pressure helped him run a faster time than ever. Jones was able to focus on himself in this meet instead of his opponents.

"I didn't think I was going to come back," Jones said, "I just ran my race and once I realized he was in reach, I took him."

Jones, who came in fifteenth in the 10k at the Division III National Championship last season said that all year his coaches have been telling him to just run his race. Jones ran nearly even splits for the entire twenty-five lap race, playing to his natural strengths as a long distance runner.

"That's exactly what I did," Jones said. "The key to success is running the race that you know how to run. I ran even and controlled and that's my race–and it worked."

Jones, who now rankes first in the nation in both D II, and D III and eleventh in D I, travels to the Penn Relays next week to compete in the 5000m run.

"I want to thank all of my coaches, especially Coach Kuebler for taking me out here. They made it possible," Jones said. "I thank my teammates for being so supportive. You guys inspire me too. Just because we're at different meets doesn't mean we're not a team. We're all in this together."

Jones looks forward to the National Championships on May 23-25, and said that the race was a major confidence builder for him.

"I didn't expect to run that fast," Jones said. "It was a 'winning' kind of day."