What is a coach’s influence?
I just came across this lovely tribute in Runner’s World to cross country coach Elmer Swanson written by his student, running legend Amby Burfoot.
Here is his description of Swanson:
A good throwback, despite the nasty chewing-tobacco habit, which he gave up a year or two later. Elmer was a gentleman, a family man, a great storyteller, and an always-reassuring presence….
We Wesleyan runners particularly appreciated his warmth, calm demeanor, and unswerving dedication to our pursuits….
In November, 1966, I took the first plane trip of my life with Elmer and attended my first National meet (Wheaton, Illinois), then called the NCAA Small College Cross-Country Championships. “Have fun and hurry back,” he said just before the start, a remark he repeated to thousands of Wesleyan harriers through the years.
He goes on to describe the critical role coaches have in player’s lives. Check it out .
The article in Runner’s World led me to the time Burfoot wrote about another coach of his who he credits for much of his success in running and beyond.