CROSS COUNTRY AND GIRLS TRACK COACH, LAKES HIGH SCHOOL
24 years coaching cross country
- 5 marathons completed
- President, Washington State Cross Country Coaches Association
- Founder & Director, Fort Steilacoom Invitational Westside Classic
“They made me start wearing the orange shirt so they wouldn’t lose me in the crowd,” he explained. Joe’s amicable personality has served as a catalyst for community in the South Sound.
Over the years, several of Joe’s former athletes and parents, including his daughter, have joined his coaching staff—simply because of his personal relationship. Other friends with no ties to running have become regular volunteers.
The greatest illustration of Joe’s dedication to community is the growth of the annual Fort Steilacoom Invitational, the largest invitational in Washington state. Each year, over 100 coaches and 100 volunteers help put on the meet, a feat only possible with the foundation of a strong community.
Joe’s explanation? “I focus on promoting the team.” He creates an inclusive team culture through team dinners, annual camping trips, athlete recognition and investing in students’ leadership potential.
In addition, the team works together at each meet to choose an Athlete and Supporter of the Meet. The only rule is that winners can only be chosen once per season, so the team can recognize as many students as possible.
Joe also schedules weekly team dinners—sans coaches. It’s important to Joe that his athletes spend quality time together outside of practice.
“It allows them to build a stronger community and act more like themselves when we’re not around,” Joe explained.
In the nearly 40 years since he began running, Joe has completed five marathons—including the Boston Marathon in 1982. He has been elected president of Washington State Cross Country Coaches Association for the past 10 years and has won coach of the year numerous times, among many other accomplishments.
Joe isn’t always running. He also likes kayaking, biking, backpacking, gardening and hiking. Living in the South Sound is the perfect place with the perfect pace to enjoy it all.