Starting at a very young age, people have an idea of what they want to be when they grow up. Some knew that they wanted to coach a sport because of their pure love for the sport, but others were inspired by someone else.
Girls cross country Coach, Ladd Baldwin played football, basketball and ran track during his high school years, but fell in love with track when he realized he had a keen sense for strategizing when he helped his own team win the county championships.
“I went to my track coach and he asked me if I had any ideas for the team, and I said if you take Charlie out of the relay, and you put him in the open 200, we can win ten points because he will win it,” said Baldwin. This experience, of someone looking to him for guidance compelled him to learn more about the sport and preparing a team for competition.
He attended a Theory of Track and Field course at Florida State University that opened his eyes to his love for the sport and also gave him insight to about the sport and how to coach it. But he took a lot of coaching inspiration from his dad, and coaches he met while moving around and attending FSU.
But while Baldwin began coaching because he was inspired by someone, varsity f ootball coach, Andres Perez began coaching because of his passion for the game.
“The biggest thing that high school did for me was, it created such a love and passion for the game and that kind of inspired me to get involved in coaching,” said Perez. Even in his early years, Perez knew that from the moment he stepped on to the field, he wanted this sport to be a part of his life and he wanted to share his love for the sport with others.
He tries to explain to his players that if you put in the hard work and dedication in high school, it will really pay off, that is one of his motivators to make a positive impact on kid’s lives and help them succeed in the game that they have all grown to love.
“Coaching is one of those things that is just in your blood, it’s a love for teaching and life lessons. More than just X’s and O’s.” says Perez. X’s and O’s may make up 90% of their preparation but these coaches do things away from the team to prepare, and they are dedicated to the sport on and off the field.
“I think the key is you have to be your own person, you can’t pretend to be somebody else. You get molded by the coaches you had in the past and they help you become who you are, but in the end you have to pick your own path,” said Perez.
But regardless of their past athletic experiences both coaches now focus on the future of their team and what they can bring and teach to this new generation of players.
BY: Madison Sieckowski / Staff Writer