Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Clyde Morgan, a Chaney High graduate, is becoming involved in USA Track and Field.
By JOHN KOVACH
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
Clyde Morgan is hoping to capitalize on what he learned at the USA Track and Field Emerging Elite Coaching Camp held recently in Chula Vista, Calif.
Morgan, the Wabash College men’s and women’s track coach from Youngstown and Chaney High, was among 20 college and high school track coaches invited to the six-day camp at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Training Center that consisted of training, practice drills, and instruction for about 12 hours daily.
The purpose of the camp was to bring the most promising coaching minds in the nation together for an exchange of information, techniques and ideas to make them better instructors so that they can develop better athletes.
“We were learning from one another through interaction. We were brainstorming new ideas and techniques,” said Morgan, who was part of a group that focused on teaching hurdles, sprints and relays.
“[The U.S. team] didn’t do great at the Olympic Games last year. We need to educate our coaches so that they can better educate our athletes, and that’s what [this camp was] all about.”
Morgan said the 26 college and four high school coaches at the camp performed classroom work, had discussions, studied film, focused on the bio-mechanics of running, incorporated science into training and did actual workouts on the track — all with the goal of making each coach more informed of the latest advancements.
“We have to create a higher standard of coaches in order to create a higher standard of athlete. We have lived off our reputation for years sprint-wise and we have to get better,” said Morgan, who was invited to the camp because of his expertise and innovative training methods in coaching hurdlers for the 100- and 300-meter hurdles.
He sent in his application to attend the camp with encouragement from retired Wabash track coach Rob Johnson, a presenter at the camp, and Mike Holman, the camp coordinator.
Holman is the track and field coach at Lawrence Central High School in Indianapolis, Ind., who was impressed by Morgan’s presentation on coaching hurdles at he Indiana High School Track and Field Coaches Association’s annual meeting in Indianapolis.
“[The camp] was very intense. It was all about training elite athletes,” said Morgan, who succeeded Johnson as Wabash coach and completed his first season in 2009. The school is in Crawfordsville, Ind. Morgan previously coached the Thiel College track team from 2004-08.
“I found myself in a starting block for the first time since 2000.”
Johnson, who served as an assistant coach for the U.S. Olympic Team in Sydney, Australia, for the 2000 Games, called Holman “a big-time coach. He went to Beijing, China, with the U.S. team as a video analysis expert to help with training.”
Johnson also pointed out that “Holman seemed interested in getting Clyde out there [to the camp], so I kept pushing until he finally filled out the application.”
Morgan believes he made a contribution to the coaching group at the camp, which he hopes will also lead him to becoming a future Olympic coaching candidate.
“I left there with a good feeling that I contributed information to the benefit of the group. I shared informtion on a DVD that I created,” said Morgan, hoping that he can build a reputation as an innovator that will make him more atractive as a world-class coach.
“The next [coaching] step is the World Junior team, the Pan-Am Games and then the Olympics. A lot of of coaches are retiring and they are looking for new blood.”
Morgan would love to follow Johnson’s path and perhaps someday serve as an Olympic coach.
“That’s one of my goals and dreams — to be an Olympic coach. When I was younger I saw myself representing my country as athlete or coach. The chance to do it as an athlete is long gone. Now I would like to do it a coach to represent my country and Wabash College on the world-wide stage,” said Morgan.
“I’ve been blessed with this chance to participate in the Elite Coaches Camp,” Morgan said. “It’s an incredible honor. It would be unbelievable if it ever turned into a chance to do the kind of things Coach Johnson has done.”