A New Chapter for Coach Gene Galloway
“My expectation is to continue being the same person I have been since arriving here five years ago,” Gene said. He believes in prayer, constant learning, courage in spite of the potential for failure, and the importance of giving back. Although his title has changed, his goals remain the same: “to continue helping others achieve their goals through track & field.”
From the Director’s Chair:
A 5-minute Interview with Coach Earl Graves
Coach Earl Graves, who was an early participant in the School of Track mentor program, has recently been promoted to the Director of Cross Country/Track & Field at NCAA DII University of Mount Olive. “Moving forward, we intend on being one of the best programs in Division II every year,” he quoted in the UMO’s press release.
School of Track (SOT): Describe your personal athletic history.
Earl Graves (EG): I am from Richmond, Virginia. I got involved with the sport in 6th grade. I started out racing other kids in gym class and it took off from there. Originally I was a 400/800 guy and in college transitioned to a long sprinter/jumper.
I think the thing that I am most proud of is being on Lynchburg College’s All-time Top-10 List ten different times. It is pretty cool knowing that I will be a part of the school’s history for a long time to come. One thing I constantly thought about while I was on the team was, “how am I going to leave my mark on this program?”
SOT: How did you know that you wanted to get into coaching? How did you get connected to your first coaching gig?
EG: I didn’t! My original plan was to go to graduate school to pursue a Master’s in Counseling. I had about a month until graduation and I decided that I didn’t want to do that. Right around that time, my coach mentioned to me that he thought I would be a good coach. He helped me to get a head coach position at a local high school. I had to learn a lot by trial and error, but it was definitely a fun experience. That is where I developed my passion for helping people to achieve their goals.
SOT: Have you had a coach who has impacted your life?
EG: I am fortunate enough to have had several: Craig “Mug” Hedley, Joe Pardue, Kelly Guempel, and Jack Toms. These men always believed in my abilities, kept me humble, and have been great mentors to me. I definitely owe a lot to them for helping to shape my coaching style.
SOT: What is it like to be a Director of Track & Field/Cross Country?
EG: There are a lot of meetings! It’s important to take care of administrative duties (travel, budget, meet selection, etc.) and to make sure that your staff is on the same page and has what they need to succeed. Also, it’s important to recognize your weaknesses and delegate those responsibilities to your staff when possible. And of course, we need to model whatever values and attitude that you want the team to reflect.
SOT: What type of person is suited for that role?
EG: I think the best leaders have a good feel for what the team needs are currently. They must also be very dedicated, organized and truly enjoy all the preparation that goes into a successful XC/Track program. You also have to be a great communicator.
SOT: What is one piece of advice you’d give to aspiring coaches?
EG: Keep adding dimensions to your skills and learning from your peers. I believe you can learn something from every person you meet in this profession.