KINGSTON — In a sport known for it’s long distances, Kingston High School Athletic Coordinator Dan Novick didn’t have to run very far to catch the school’s first cross country head coach.
Roger Coffman, who has served as a teacher in the North Kitsap School District for 16 years and coached football, track and wrestling at Kingston Junior High for the past 13, was selected last week to help the Buccaneers kick up some dust this fall.
“Roger’s a kid magnet,” Novick said. “He’s an enthusiastic coach who loves running. Our athletes will respond to his style of coaching. He has a great personality for it. It’s truly his calling.”
After arriving at the NKSD in 1991, the Kitsap and Olympic peninsulas were like a playground of sorts for Coffman.
“I enjoy running, hiking, mountains and the water,” he said. “The area has been a good fit for me.”
Fall will mark his first season as a cross country coach, but Coffman said he is looking forward to the opportunity.
“Starting a brand new program is a challenge in itself,” Coffman said. “It’s a very big challenge that I am looking forward to.
I enjoy working with kids. I want them to be successful in not just cross country, but with their schoolwork, too.”
Despite his inexperience with the offroad sport, Novick said Coffman has what it takes to build a program over the long haul.
“He’s already got 20 kids signed up for cross country and that’s just in ninth and 10th grade,” he said. “He loves the sport and we’re looking for him to instill that passion into the program. He’s exactly the kind of person we were looking for.”
To get things off on the right foot, Coffman hopes athletes turn out in droves when practices begin in August.
“I am hoping that as many kids as possible come out for the team,” he said. “Physical fitness is very important in today’s society. Running is one of the best things a person can do for their health.”
Early season practice sessions will be critical to the success of each runner during the 2007 season, Coffman said.
“I would like to get runners to establish their best baseline early in the season and improve from there. If they do that, they will improve their skills and run better,” he said.
Kingston’s newest coach practices what he preaches, and participates in the sport he coaches on a regular basis.
“Running is a big part of my life. I try to do it every single day,” he said. “I like running on trails in the area.”
The interaction between coach and athlete is what brings Coffman back to the coaching ranks year after year.
“Working with kids one on one and building a relationship with the student athletes and the parents is what I enjoy the most about coaching,” he said. “Sports can teach everyday life skills and lessons to athletes.”
An informational meeting regarding the 2007 cross country at KHS season will take place at 6:30 p.m. July 23 in the Kingston Junior High School tech room. All participants and their parents are invited to attend. For information, contact Coffman at firstname.lastname@example.org.