BRONXVILLE, N.Y. -- Jim Mitchell is a Somers resident who has taught and coached cross country and track and field at Bronxville High School for more than three decades. He answers five questions about his coaching career.
When and how do you begin your long career at Bronxville?
I started teaching at Bronxville in March of 1978 and my first season as girls' track coach was spring 1979.
What are the most important characteristics of a successful cross country or track athlete?
I think that the main characteristic of the successful cross country/track athlete is the ability to be patient and to value long term results rather than quick fixes. You start a season often three months from the state championship race and need to keep it as a goal despite it being so far away.
What is your most memorable moment or moments as a coach?
There have been many memorable moments; four national championship relays, 10 state cross country championships, one national relay record; but I think the most exciting moment was a relay race in which the girls finished second. We ran a 4x1500 meter relay and our girls and the Greenwich girls were never further apart than one meter for 19+ minutes. Greenwich won by a second and we both broke the national record.
What is the worst meet-weather memory?
There have been some nasty weather races but perhaps the worst was in 1982 at the Southern Catskill Relays at Newburgh High School. It was the first Saturday in April and bitterly cold. During the distance medley girls were blown off the track and it rained, sleeted, and snowed.
Who were you mentors?
I have been fortunate to have influenced by some great coaches. Frank Rienzo, who is now Georgetown coach and athletic director was very helpful when I was a young coach. At that time he was the coach at Molloy High School. Arthur Lydiard, coach of numerous Olympic athletes, shared many of his ideas on our runs when he came through New York. And Larry Sullivan, a good friend, and I spent countless hours discussing how to best get young runners ready to be successful.
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