Track Coach

USATF Contents for TC242



2023 Level 1 Schools are now open for registration. Watch for preliminary information on Level 2 Schools, Cross Country Specialist Course, Emerging Elite Coaches Camp, and other opportunities to be available in the spring issue of Track Coach.

  • Jan 6-9 Level 1 – Zoom #2023-1 (Central Time)
  • Jan 13-15  Level 1 – Zoom #2023-2 (Pacific Time)
  • Jan 20-22 Level 1 – Zoom #2023-3 (Mountain Time)
  • Jan 27-29 Level 1 – Zoom #2023-4 (Pacific Time)
  • Feb 3-5 Level 1 – Zoom #2023-5 (Eastern Time)
  • Feb 10-12 Level 1 – Zoom #2023-6 (Mountain Time)
  • Feb 24-26 Level 1 – Zoom #2023-8 (Pacific Time)
  • March 3-5 Level 1 – Zoom #2023-9 (Central Time)
  • March 10-12 Level 1 – Zoom #2023-10 (Mountain Time)
  • March 25-27 Level 1 – Zoom #2023-12 (Mountain Time)
  • May 19-22 Level 1 – Zoom #2023-20 (Eastern Time)
  • June 2-4 Level 1 – Zoom #2023-22 (Pacific Time)
  • June 9-12 Level 1 – Zoom #2023-23 (Central Time)
  • June 19-21 Level 1 – Zoom #2023-24 (Eastern Time)
  • June 23-26 Level 1 – Zoom #2023-25 (Eastern Time)

NEW: Registration for coaching education is now available under Coaching Schools directly within your membership profile on the USATF Connect platform and on the traditional Calendar of Schools. 

Brad Walker named 2022 USATF Nike Coach of the Year

When athletes you coach take the top two spots in a single event at the year’s two global championships, something is definitely going right. Walker guided Katie Nageotte and Sandi Morris to women’s pole vault gold and silver at the World Championships in Eugene, reversing the order of finish from the World Indoor Championships in Serbia in March. Nageotte and Morris waged an epic battle for gold in Eugene, with Nageotte taking the top spot on the podium by virtue of her first-attempt clearance at 4.85m/15-11, a height Morris needed two tries to negotiate. At Belgrade, Morris sailed over 4.80m/15-9 on her final attempt to grab the gold over Nageotte, who ended up with a best of 4.75m/15-7. Over the course of the season the duo met nine times, with Morris holding an 8-1 edge over Nageotte, the reigning Olympic champion.

2022 USATF Coaching Education Awards Announced at Annual Meeting

Joe Vigil Sports Science Award: Christopher Richardson, Ed.D, USATF Imperial

This award recognizes a coach who is very active in the area of scholarship, and contributes to the coaching literature through presentations and publications. This award identifies a coach who utilizes scientific techniques as an integral part of his/her coaching methods, or has created innovative ways to use sport science.

Ron Buss Service Award: Jeremy Fischer, USATF Imperial

This award recognizes a coach who has a distinguished record of service to the profession in leadership roles, teaching, strengthening curricula, and advising and mentoring coaches. This person is a leader, whose counsel is sought by others, and who selflessly gives his/her time and talent.

Fred Wilt/Educator of the Year Award: Dr. Christine Brooks, USATF Florida

This award recognizes a coach who has a distinguished record, which includes sustained, exceptional performance. This award is presented annually to recognize one individual who has exemplified passion and leadership nationally for the promotion of USATF Coaching Education.

Vern Gambetta/Young Professional Award: Simone Terry, USATF Arizona

This award recognizes a young coach in the first 10 years of his/her career that has shown an exceptional level of passion and initiative in Coaching Education. This award is presented annually to recognize one individual who has exemplified passion and leadership nationally for the promotion of USATF Coaching Education.

Terry Crawford/Distinguished Female in Coaching Award: Sue Humphrey, USATF Arizona

This award recognizes a female coach who has shown an exceptional level of accomplishment, passion, and initiative in Coaching Education. This award is presented annually to recognize one female coach who has exemplified passion and leadership nationally for the promotion of USATF Coaching Education.

Kevin McGill/Legacy Award: Dr. Russ Ebbets, USATF Niagara

This award recognizes a veteran coach with 25+ years of involvement who has shown an exceptional level of passion and initiative in Coaching Education. This award is presented annually to recognize one individual who has exemplified passion and leadership nationally for the promotion of USATF Coaching Education.

Level 2 Coaches/Rising Star Award: Sean Denard, USATF Illinois

This award recognizes a coach who has utilized the USATF level 2 CE program to make an impact on their coaching that includes sustained, exceptional performance. This award is presented annually to recognize one individual who has recently completed the level 2 school and implemented its teachings in their coaching. This award winner exemplifies the impact of the USATF Coaching Education program.

Verify Your Standing on the USATF Coaches Registry for 2023 

USATF members are encouraged to start 2023 off by verifying their compliance with USATF Coaches Registry requirements. Don’t be caught off-guard at 2023 USATF Championships with a lapsed requirement. Members must be current with all USATF Coaches Registry requirements to receive a coach credential at USATF Championships. Members may verify their status by querying the public list with their name. A member whose name is not listed on the public Coaches Registry List should login to their membership profile on USATF Connect. A green, current status must be displayed under each individual requirement (Membership, Center for SafeSport Training, Background Screening and Coach Certifications). All requirements must be current through the last date of competition to qualify for a registered coach credential. 

In addition, members must be listed on the club profile and/or designated by declared athlete during the specified USATF Championship. 

Please be advised U.S. Center for SafeSport training is an annual requirement valid for a 365-day period and NCSI background screens are valid for two years from date of acceptance. 

A link to the public USATF Coaches Registry List and requirement information can be accessed from > Programs > Coaches under the Quick Links heading.

USATF Coaching Education Instructor Spotlight

An interview with Chris Richardson, Ed.D, Cerritos College, USATF Imperial

Chris Richardson is the Director of Track and Field/Cross Country at Cerritos College. Richardson is the Vice-Chair of the USATF Coaching Education Committee, USATF Level 1 West Region Coordinator, Level 1 Instructor, and Level 2 Instructor (Jumps). Richardson has served on multiple USATF Team Staffs including at the Capital Cup, Thorpe Cup, NACAC U23 Championships, and Pan American Junior Championships. As an athlete, Richardson was a two-time all-American and placed 16th at the 2008 Olympic Team Trials in the decathlon. He holds multiple USATF certificates, including a USATF Level 3 in Combined Events, along with a Doctorate in Athletic Administration from Northcentral University. At the 2022 USATF Annual Meeting, Richardson was honored with the Joe Vigil Sports Science Award for his service to USATF Coaching Education.

Chris Richardson (second from right)

Matt Rohlf (MR), USATF Coaching Programs Manager: Tell us how you got started in coaching, and second how you got involved with USATF?

Chris Richardson (CR): I got my start in coaching from my college coach who referred me to a local high school (Kennedy High La Palma, CA) l to help with the jumpers one to two days a week. This experience sparked my interest in coaching and working with athletes, but I didn’t realize it at the time as I was focused on my own athletic journey. My thrust into coaching as a profession occurred in my pursuit as a banker; and after weeks of training and orientation, I left after my first day at lunch because I knew I was not going to be fulfilled. At that moment I knew I wanted to coach all day every day.

I always enjoyed learning and teaching and the environment of [education], which fosters collaboration, growth, and challenge. I am so fortunate to have had such great mentors that pushed me to grow as a coach and USATF coaching education programs provided that along with a community of fellow coaches with the same mindset. The relationships I gained only further prompted my interest and passion for coach education. 

MR: One of the themes that the executive committee continues to discuss is the value of mentorship especially in an increasingly digital education environment. You’ve referred to Olympic medalist coaches Cliff Rovelto and Harry Marra as two of the many mentors you’ve had in the sport. Walk us through how you forged those relationships, the importance they played in transitioning from national level decathlete to coach, and your advice to a new coach looking to find and create a mentor dynamic.

CR: When it comes to securing a mentor, it is as simple as asking. I always believed that to build a quality relationship you need to invest a quantity of time. With any relationship the initiation should be as convenient as possible in sharing time and energy, which I have found that coaches I have gleaned some level of mentorship from are more than willing to share. One major opportunity that allowed me the chance to interact and build these relationships was from the USATF Coaches Education Mentor Program. 

Some of the lessons I learned from my mentors, especially coming out of my athletic career to coaching, was that coaches need to be selfless and require wholehearted attention and focus with the prime objective being on the positive advancement of the athlete. This is a difficult reality to shift toward, but is extremely rewarding. 

I would recommend connecting with as many experienced coaches as possible, and be mindful that there is something to learn from everyone. Sometimes mentorship relationships can be formal and informal. Lastly, I would say you will be surprised how receptive other coaches can be. 

MR: As an academic and track and field coach, what conferences, publications, websites, or other sources of information (outside of USATF Coaching Education) would you recommend coaches follow or get engaged with for professional development, and even create networking opportunities?

CR: There are so many resources and outlets that can allow for access and information. I think exploring social media to spark interest and using the internet to get deeper into those areas. I am currently into looking at areas and topics that parallel the sport (interpersonal and/or performance based) and drawing connections to how I can apply what I gathered to helping my athletes. For example, learning breathing techniques from a respiratory therapist or various ways to have engaging/effective communication styles.

MR: Lastly, in your 19 years of coaching, you’ve had a growing list of accomplishments from conference and state champions, multiple Team USATF staff appointments, and qualifiers to USATF Nationals. Can you share what fuels your commitment to continuous improvement, advancement in the sport, and some of your goals for 2023?

This makes me think of an old saying “the more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know”. The hardest part of this question is that I have a nagging fear that I am not doing enough, but the fuel is to build myself as a coach so that I am the best resource for my athletes. The double edge sword of coaching comes from having a competitive spirit that strives for excellence and a humble spirit to allow the reception of information and continuous self-audit. 

My goal for 2023 is to build my current relationships within the coaching world. I have meet a lot of people over the onset of the pandemic, but I want to invest time and energy in building those relationships. 

Chris, thank you for giving back to the sport, being an advocate for coaching education, and a part of this feature. I look forward to following all your individual and team successes during the 2023 season. USATF members can catch Chris Richardson next at multiple 2023 USATF Level 1 Schools and the summer Level 2 School.