Everyone knows the top athletes on many teams across the state of Indiana, but we seem to forget about those guys that helped get them to that level, the coaches. Whether they are a volunteer assistant or the head coach, every single one has an impact on the team. That is why we are starting a series entitled, "Meet the Coaches". Each week we will try to feature one coach from somewhere in Indiana, so we and you can get to know them a little better.
This week we have Adam Schwartz of Franklin Community High School.
MileSplit IN: When did you start running?
Coach Schwartz: I started
running in middle school. Up until then
I was a soccer player. I continued
playing soccer and running XC simultaneously through my senior year in high
school. Admittedly soccer was my number
one sport in high school. In college I
decided to see how good I could be if I focused solely on running. I grew up in Franklin and ran cross country
and played soccer at Franklin High School
MileSplit IN: When did you begin coaching? How long and where have you coached?
I started coaching after college. I was a volunteer assistant for 2 years before being hired on as an assistant for one year. Next that I was hired as head boys coach for the cross country team and then become a paid assistant with the track program. I have only coached at Franklin and I am starting my 7th year as Varsity head coach.
MileSplit IN: Why did you decide to coach?
After college I was looking for a way to stay in shape and continue to train. I was working in the schools and felt that I could help out by just being another warm body to run with the kids. My brother was a senior my first year as a volunteer assistant so it was a nice way to be able to spend some time with him as well. I enjoyed learning about and seeing cross country from the coaching side so I stuck with it.
MileSplit IN: What is you "day job"?
I am a 6th grade social studies teacher at Custer Baker Intermediate School
MileSplit IN: If you had to pick one season out of your whole coaching career as your favorite, which would it be and why?
A lot of great memorable seasons come to mind. While I don't have the longevity that some coaches around the state do, I've had some overall pretty good teams. It's hard to pick just one memory. The first time we won conference with me as the head coach was pretty special. Our first regional title or sectional victory. Two years ago at Semi-State we didn't place amazing but somewhere around 10th. That was a turning point for our program back to where it once was. At that point it became clear we weren't simply settling and happy to be there anymore.
MileSplit IN: Favorite hobbies?
MileSplit IN: Do you have a favorite course in Indiana?
For my favorite course in Indiana I'd have to be selfish and say our own at Franklin. I know some people love it and some hate it but it's hard to root against your home turf. Shelbyville's course has really come along and is looking great. IU's old course was a favorite of mine while running.
MileSplit IN: How would you describe your coaching style?
My coaching style is very democratic by nature. I work closely with my assistant coaches and we make plans for the kids. I speak to the guys daily to see how they are feeling and alter where we need to alter. I am fairly conservative in my training plans and keep mileage pretty low so they have ample room to build mileage in college if that is the route they take. I try to encourage the guys as much as possible especially in workouts and races.
MileSplit IN: How do you work with the different ability levels of your athletes?
Different ability groups in running might be a bit different than other sports. Obviously, my slowest runner is not going to run with the top runners for more than a few minutes. I base my training off of minutes rather than miles. We might send the kids on a 35 minute run and know that top guys will be over 5 miles but my slowest might barely hit 4 or a bit over. It's nice to see them all starting and stopping near the same time. This allows us to start core or weights at the same time and push each other in all aspect of our training plans.
MileSplit IN: What are some team traditions you have?
We really don't have anything that stands out as a tradition. We get together every Friday night before a race and have a team meal. I think most programs do that. One area of our program I am very happy to have is our Parent group. If you ever come to a meet where Franklin will be at you'll notice our team tent standing tall and set up long before our team arrives. We have a few dedicated parents who take it upon themselves as so called "tentboys" and make sure that on race day we can focus on getting the kids ready to race. That group has been amazing over the years.
MileSplit IN: Favorite workout?
I don't really have a favorite workout. Each workout serves its own purpose as we work towards the end of the season. Each group of runners requires different workouts year after year. I have my base workouts we do such as tempos and k repeats but try to make sure we are providing a new stimulus to their training each year be it intensity or volume.
MileSplit IN: Anything else to add?
In my first 6 years of coaching we have won 5 conference, 3 county, 3 regional, and 2 sectional titles. We had 1 qualify for the state meet. 2 finish as the 16th individual at Semi-State and miss out on advancing. We have several athletes either running in or on their way to running in college after high school.
If you would like to participate in this or know of a coach that should, please reach out to us by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject "Meet the Coaches" or send us a message on any of our social media channels.