Riverside coach Eric Cummings talks about the sport and being nominated to the SCTCCCA Hall of Fame.
Name: Eric Cummings
Years coaching: 1997-2002 James F. Byrnes
2002-2006 Spartanburg Methodist College
2006-present, Riverside High School
Other hobbies: Coaching and watching my sons sports teams. Camping
Favorite athlete: Don Mattingly, Larry Bird, Derek Jeter
Runner stats: Ran at Springstead HS in Spring Hill, Florida from 1988-1992
1991 CC State Ind. Runner-up; 1990 and 1991 Team Runner-up
4x All-State (2 CC, 2-3200)
School Records (all still standing) 1600, 3200, 4x800, Cross Country
Coaching bio: 2 Boys State Titles in CC at Byrnes 2000 and 2001 (2000 was boys largest margin of victory)
1 Girls State Title in CC at Riverside 2013 (largest margin of victory)
Both a Greenville County and Spartanburg county xc title
When first receiving the news on being an inductee what went through your mind?
I was surprised. I stepped out of the room during the Hall of Fame discussions and it was a huge honor. I would like to thank David Hickman for the nomination.
Looking back as president of the SCTCCCA what have you experienced in this position?
I have learned patience and I have grown very thick skin. I could not always make everyone happy and I tried my hardest to follow procedures and took everything thrown at me by a lot of biting my tongue. I have a better understanding of the way the (S.C.) HSL works and this helps with me running off the many meets that I run off.
How and why did you get involved in coaching?
I had a great high school coach, Fred Hudson, and I knew that this is something I wanted to do. He taught us a lot and showed what hard work could achieve.
What does it mean to have your son running this year?
It is going to be hard. I have already had to appeal his hardship through the HSL and have had to already stop being coach and just be dad this season so far. It is fun though, because I get to spend every afternoon with him and watch him improve and fall in love with the sport I love.
How is your team looking this year?
The teams are looking very good. We have right at 130 runners and the times are ahead of where we were last year at this time. The girls are very strong and we are hoping to repeat our season and hopefully win a few additional races this year. The boys are actually running stronger than expected and we have some new guys that are helping us big time. Both teams will travel to Disney this fall and hope to have both teams on the podium in November, with the girls repeating.
Who will be in attendance during the induction at the Bob Jenkins SCTCCCA Coaches Classic?
I am not 100-percent sure. My wife, Karen, who coached with me at Byrnes will be there along with Alex my oldest son and Jon my youngest son. Our middle son, Lucas, will be at a baseball tournament that weekend with his grandparents. We will get to see him and my oldest play on Sunday. I have heard that some of the Byrnes team will be in attendance along with former runners from SMC and Riverside will be coming in. Also my mother and stepfather along with my brother (who ran with me in HS and College).
What would you like to see happen in the sports and how do you see this happening?
As I stated before, I Love this sport and I do not want to see it change. This is something pure and does not need to change. Cross country is the athlete versus themselves, pushing the limits of their mental pain tolerance. Athletes racing elbow to elbow and then holding each other up as the walk through the chute. You get out of it what you are willing to put into it!