'Passing a baton:' Jim Watkins' farewell letter to Mary Kate DuBard


Submitted by Jim Watkins

Dear Mary Kate,

I've just written an e-mail "officially" passing my coaching relationship with you to Coach Drosky at Georgia Tech.

As I shared with him, it felt like I was passing a baton as you entered another leg of your journey. It is as if I now am watching you move on out ahead of me. I can go no further. My time with you is finished.

Remember the lessons that I've passed on. Lessons that were, ironically, first passed on to me when I ran at Georgia Tech 45 years ago. (Who would have thought that after all these years I would have a hand in helping a champion woman runner put on the same school colors I wore).

As you read this, you are probably reciting the lessons that Coach Griffin (the track you will compete on is named for him) taught so many of us. "Double Knot Your Shoelaces." "You Have Won If You Have Beaten Yourself."

You've always double knotted your shoelaces. If anything, you've been over prepared. This year, you have beaten yourself. You have pushed yourself beyond what you ever thought you were capable of doing. That made all the difference.

Some day when you hang up your running shoes, hopefully you will hold on to those lessons. Coach Griffin knew that running prepares a person for whatever lies ahead.

And so Mary Kate, best wishes. Our official coaching connection is now in the past. However, on your next leg of life's relay, remember a part of you will always be the lessons learned at Northwestern just as a part of me will always be Coach Griffin.

Coach Watkins

(Distance Coach at Northwestern. Member Georgia Tech Sports Hall of Fame)