From coach to sidelines for Sammy Owen

What made you decide to stop coaching the sport? 

I made the transition into school administration.  Our district does not allow administrators to coach.

Why did you start to coach? 
All of the coaches I had over the years instilled in me a love and passion for the sport. I think that played a role in my decision.  During my college years as I was trying to decide what career to pursue, I had a conversation with my mother.  That conversation consisted of her mentioning that she thought I should look into teaching and coaching.   I believe that conversation helped me narrow my focus and I began to pursue my degree in secondary education.

My last year of running in college there were five or six freshmen on the team.  I guess I caught the coaching bug then as they would always ask me questions about running.

Do you miss coaching? 

Easley coach holds the 'coach' in check with daughter - 2009 article

What was your high school and college running experience like? 

I had a wonderful running experience in high school and college.  I had success early in Jr. High and that carried over in to Sr. High and college.

I lived and breathed running. I wanted to win.  But I also wanted to make my parents proud.    Their support and encouragement really helped shape me and drive me to be successful in the sport.

What I remember most was the close friendships that I made on all of the teams I was a part of.  I can remember with great clarity, most all of the races I ran, win or lose.  The memories of the travel on the van to the meets, the warm ups, the practices, the bond developed between teammates is what I will cherish forever.  That is what I want for Raigan.

What is it like for you to be on the sidelines at meets while your daughter is running? 
When I was coaching, I was always nervous before a meet.  Now I am a bit more nervous, but in a completely different way.  Being on the sidelines watching my little girl run is an awesome thing.  The fact that she chose the sport I so deeply love is something that I will cherish. 

What have you learned from the experience? 
That I am her “daddy” NOT her “Coach”!!  I am there to support and encourage her.  I now understand how my parents felt at races.

What challenges do you encounter? 
OH, It is hard not to let the coach in me come out.  There are times when I want to. She lets me know very quickly when I cross the line.  The biggest challenge is getting her to understand
that I will not be disappointed if she has a “bad” race.  I just want her to try hard and have fun.

What do you recommend to parents when supporting their children in cross country and track and field? 
With your love and support, let your kids find their own way in the sport.  Winning a race, or beating  their best time has no bearing on your child’s self-worth!  Continually convey to them that your love is unconditional and it has nothing to do with how fast they run.


Is there anything else? 
I had the best and most supportive parents a kid could wish for.  They never missed a meet. They made sure my academics and behavior were in check, or I did not get to run.  I loved seeing them at my meets. When I got into coaching,  my dad would drive an hour to Greenwood to watch me coach.  If I am half the dad he was to me, I will consider myself a success.  I just wished my mother could have seen Raigan run!