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Track and field: Ex-Lancers relay expertise as volunteer coaches
Liberty’s Dick Geddes says coaching track and field is like herding cats — with so many disciplines to oversee, it’s easy for athletes to stray during practice.
“Sometimes I’d look down and see kids just lying around on the mat,” he said. “But that hasn’t been a problem this year.”
That’s because Geddes is receiving help from four familiar faces who have returned to lend a hand with the program.
Jason Epps, Tim Hamilton, D.J. Miller and Nolan Tuck each competed for the Lancers in recent years and have welcomed the chance to assist their former coach on a volunteer basis.
“These guys are great role models for the current kids,” Geddes said. “We always seem to have one or two hanging around, but this is the most we’ve ever had in one season.”
Three years ago as a senior, Tuck won a state title in the high jump. And he pulled off the feat despite spending much of his practice time without coaching supervision.
While Geddes did his best to shuffle between long jumpers and high jumpers — whose practice areas are at opposite ends of District 20 Stadium — he couldn’t be in both places at once. Now, he doesn’t have to be.
“Having the extra help around here allows me to spend more time facilitating the assistants,” Geddes said. “They can take their groups and go their own way, and I don’t have to worry so much about the work getting done.”
Hamilton, who ran distance events at Liberty, spends time directing athletes who compete in the 800-, 1,600- or 3,200-meter runs. The benefits are twofold for the 2008 graduate — he gets to see the runners’ progression and he stays in shape.
This is the second season of volunteer work for Miller. After working with hurdlers last year, the 2007 graduate is helping to instruct the sprinters. But his advice goes beyond the track.
“It feels good to help out and give them some insight into what they need to do on the track,” said Miller, who teams with Epps, a 2009 graduate. “But I also want them to know that they need to enjoy every day they’re out here.
“There’s an excitement to running, and I didn’t realize it until it was gone.”