This morning I get the opportunity to share an interview that I did with one of my closest and best friends, Zach Morgan. I recruited Zach out of high school to run cross country and track at Dallas Baptist University. Every day throughout the four years that he represented Dallas Baptist University he gave everything he had. He was the model of consistency and loyalty to our team and program.
These days Zach gets an opportunity to teach and instill those qualities to the young men and women he coaches at the high school level. Zach is what I consider a young coach (~3-4 years of total experience), but as you can tell from his responses below…HE GETS IT.
It’s been fun riding along with Zach as he’s started his coaching career…every day we exchange stories from each of our practices and every day we talk over the training that will be done in the coming days and weeks.
This is a great read…I hope you enjoy it.
1. How long have you been at Spring Woods High School and what is your official role/title?
This is my second year at Spring Woods High School. I am the Head Boy’s and Girl’s Track and Field and Cross Country Coach and CTE Teacher. I was also an assistant cross country and track coach at Odessa High School for a year prior to Spring Woods HS.
2. What is your educational background?
I graduated from Clear Lake High School in Houston, TX. From there I continued my cross country and track career at Dallas Baptist University, and graduated in 2012 with a Bachelors of Business Administration in Marketing.
3. What is your running background?
I competed in cross country and outdoor track all four years at Clear Lake High School where I was a two year varsity letterman. I continued my running career at Dallas Baptist University under Jacob Phillips where I competed in cross country, indoor and outdoor track. During my four year career I was a 3 time all conference cross country athlete, scoring member of back to back Heartland Conference Cross Country team championship titles, back to back runner up in the NCCAA 10k, and two time Timothy Award recipient.
After graduating I obtained a job with Adidas as a running marketing representative, where I continued training and competing in 5k to half marathon distances while servicing running specialty stores for their Adidas needs. After a three year career, I decided I wanted to pursue my passion and become a high school coach and teacher.
4. If you had to sum up your coaching philosophy, what would it be?
To teach young men and women how to exhibit commitment, consistency, and sacrifice every day to their life, the team, school.
5. What is your favorite XC workout?
5-6×1000 cut down starting at tempo pace and working down to date 5k pace with 2 minutes rest. We do this after our first our second meet of the season and have a 1000 meter loop in a park a mile from campus that we use or we use our practice fields on campus to replicate cross country.
6. What is your favorite Track workout for a 16/32 kid?
I have two, first is our 600/200 routine. 4-6 sets of 600 at two mile pace with 1-2 minutes rest, then 200 at mile pace with 2-3 minutes rest. We do this work out toward the middle part of track season and it does a great job practicing gear changing during races.
The second one is 3-4sets of 4×400 with a minute rest and two minutes in between sets at date two mile pace. Simple but classic way of practicing rhythm for a 3200/1600 athlete and great to do early in track season.
7. What’s the most challenging part of your job as a high school coach?
Coaching at a low economic demographic high school presents many challenges on its own, but getting kids to believe that they can be a phenomenal runner in their own capacity is the most challenging. A lot of my athletes have little to no support system outside of school, making it difficult for them to buy into the culture we have created and themselves. However, once they buy in and break through that barrier, the payoff is pretty amazing to watch.
8. What’s the most enjoyable part of your job as a high school coach?
Watching a kid come from nothing, to pouring in everything they have into their training and academics, to crossing the finish line with no doubt that they left everything out on the course/track.
9. Favorite coaching memory?
There are two for me. In 2016 I coached my first district champion at Odessa High. Junior Benejandro followed the plan perfectly for his 3200 from start to finish, and timed it perfectly in the last 50 meters to win the race.
The second is was this past cross country season. We had a series of up and downs with Hurricane Harvey, but watching our team unload the bus for our first meet at Oak Ridge HS and finally get to race after a two week interruption was truly special. The team grew a lot closer together and supported each other more than they did ever before over the course of the 2017 season. Puts a smile on my face every morning as they take off together for their workout.