Name: Patrick Theut
Current coaching position: Individual free-lance coach working with Olympic hopefuls down to middle school kids and everyone in-between. Will begin coaching pole vault at Lake Superior State in the fall.
Past coaching positions: Coach Theut has been coaching for 52 years. His first “gig” (which lasted 25 years) was coaching ice hockey goalies. He has coached golden gloves boxing, speech/debate, swimming, and finally track starting in 1997.
He has worked with Manistique HS, Bessemer HS, and the Goebic Combined team, specializing in the 110m hurdles, 300m hurdles, pole vault, and long jump.
Education/Certifications: Bachelor of Science in Environmental Chemistry
Masters in Biochemical Engineering and Black Belt Stats
USATF Coaching Level 1
Personal Athletic Accomplishments: His PR’s on the (cinder) track from 1971 include 1:52.8 for 800m, 6’1” for high jump, and 53.3 for 400m. He earned a full-ride to Lake Superior State to play ice hockey, and tried out for the 1972 and 1980 Olympic Hockey team.
Top Coaching Achievement: Theut has helped dozens of athletes to state titles and D1 scholarships in track and hockey.
He is particularly proud of his nephew, who joined Theaut’s XC team as a senior and reduced his time from 23:35 to 17:54, which he ran at the State meet. Theut also helped two developmentally challenged athletes compete at the high school level. He offered nutritional and “speed training” advice to Jeremy Scott, who finished 2nd in the 2012 Olympic trials pole vault.
In hockey, Theut said he had an instrumental role in starting Northern Michigan University’s Ice Hockey team.
1. How did you know you wanted to get into coaching?
Well, pretty lucky, my mom’s dad coached Golden Gloves for about 50 years (had numerous state and national champs and a boxer on the 1956 team) and I was honored to coach with him for four years directly.
My mom was never allowed to be a coach back, then but she had an “eye” for it and coached me and my two brothers. Dad coached ice hockey and baseball for 30 years. So, I guess you can say I grew up with it.
Additionally, I was exposed at an early age as a goalie to some really neat coaches, including THE Gordie Howe.
2. How did you get connected with your first coaching gig?
That started with dad in 1965. He had me work with goalies in St. Clair Shores. Why? As he said, if you cannot coach, you cannot play. He went on to clarify that if you coach someone, you automatically coach yourself to be better as you see yourself. In 1967, he had me coach a team with a developmentally challenged player. I was 14 at the time. I asked him what do I do? He said you will figure it out, just pay attention to detail.
Now, how did I get involved in high end aka Olympic track and field? Well, that started when I went to Moscow to buy a dog (not kidding) in 2004.
3. What is it like to hold your current position?
I am having a blast! It is such a joy to see success in the eyes of the athletes and how they have translated success in the field of battle to that big challenge called life.
Presently, I am business unit manager for pulp power and recovery, where I coach my team in the ways of making pulp and power (aka my day job).
After work is when I play. I don’t charge for services. My dad and grandpa didn’t, so I won’t.
4. What is one piece of advice you’d give to aspiring coaches?
The basics are the basics for a reason. Do them first. Coach to the athlete or team you have not to the athlete or team you wish you had. One size does not fit all.
See the team and you see the coach. If the athlete wins, it’s his fault. If the athlete loses, it’s your fault.
You will never know it all, and the day you think you do, you are either dead or you really missed something. You never know when you might learn something or from whom. It’s all about attention to detail. Listen. Learn something new every day. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Know what you know, know what you don’t know, know the difference, and work tirelessly at reduction of that knowledge gap.
Get a good nights sleep. You are what you eat. Relax. Don’t get hurt. It’s about the recovery, not the workout. Its progress not perfection. No workout over an hour except for a really good reason.
Success is 99% in your head. Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt are the pulled hamstrings of the mind. Think, Plan, React. Not Ready, Fire, Aim.