GFU track coaches earn national honors
To the winners go the spoils.
The George Fox track and field program is certainly enjoying the fruits of the women's team's recent NCAA Division III national championship, as three of its coaches were honored with national awards by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
Head coach John Smith was named Women's National Coach of the Year, associate head coach Adam Haldorson was tabbed Women's National Assistant Coach of the Year and assistant Gabe Haberly was lauded as Men's National Assistant Coach of the Year.
It was the first time any of the three have earned national coach of the year accolades.
"I'm the guy that gets to stand on the deck of the ship and kind of wave, but the real inner workings of the team are definitely those guys day in and day out putting time and energy into the athletes," Smith said. "They cover such a wide range of events, as well, so I'm super happy that they were recognized in that way."
Smith led the Bruins to the third national championship in school history this season after the GFU women shared the outdoor national title with UMass-Boston. The Bruins scored in seven different events, including a victory in the women's 4 x 100 relay and top-three finishes in the heptathlon, long jump and high jump.
Haldorson played a key role in helping the Bruins grab a share of the national title at the NCAA meet. He oversees the sprinters, hurdlers, high jumpers, throwers and the heptathletes. His two brightest stars in Sarah King and Annie Wright delivered big at the NCAA meet with points in the 400, 200 and the heptathlon.
"Adam was a part of the team for four years, so just culture-wise he knows what it meant to be a George Fox track athlete," Smith said. "Coming back into coaching after they graduate is awesome because they already know how it works and how we operate. Then it just builds. Both have been great continuing education-wise, learning more and more about their events and becoming better coaches."
Haberly has been instrumental throughout the career of two-time javelin national champion Seth Nonnenmacher, who is now fifth in NCAA DIII history after his impressive 241-11 throw that the 2018 NCAA meet.
Haberly also coaches the sprinters, the 4 x 100 relay team, which placed fourth at the national championships, and the pole vaulters.
"Javelin and pole vault were events he had done really well at, so it was a natural fit to put him in that," Smith said. "Then I picked up the horizontal jumps again. Adam has done a lot of different events as an athlete, so he helps with the multi-events, he does the high jump, he does the 400, he's doing the hurdles. There's a ton of different events they all cover. It makes it interesting."
Smith said the recognition for Haldorson and Haberly is long overdue and joked that it will be harder to keep the pair on campus now.
"I want my assistants to be the best that they can be and help them achieve what goals they have," Smith said. "For most of them that's going to mean leaving and finding a head coaching position of their own, eventually. I definitely pride myself in being able to help them along with that just like I would with an athlete."