Memorial 5K salutes a true champion

To many, Jim McCoach was a legend in the world of local runners, particularly those in the high school community. He died in 2006, and on July 1 a 5K run/walk will take place in his honor at Oregon Ridge Park.

McCoach’s mantra was, “Well, let’s git ‘er done,” and a handful of dedicated volunteers have been doing just that – naming this event the Jim McCoach Memorial “Git er Done” Run. The goal is to have 250 runners on the course, and the proceeds from this event will go to the Jim McCoach Scholarship Fund.

McCoach celebrated more than 100 seasons of coaching students in cross country, and indoor and outdoor track and field. Over those many seasons, he did much more then teach teenagers how to run, jump, throw or pole vault; he taught his athletes how to be a team, how to demonstrate sportsmanship, and how to enjoy life.

Jason Miller, Maryvale Preparatory School’s head cross country and track coach is a major player in the organization and implementation of this event. “We needed to do something right away for Coach,” said Miller, a 2000 graduate of Calvert Hall College High School, Towson, where he ran for three years under McCoach and then coached with him for one year at Maryvale before his death. Miller remembers that McCoach always had a witty story with an important moral, which fit any situation that came up, much to the delight of his student-athletes.

Miller also remembers that Jim McCoach was one who led by example. “He never cut anyone from one of his teams because of their athletic ability,” said Miller. “Jim believed that if a student wanted to be on the team and came to practice and worked hard, then they deserved to be on the team, regardless of where they were going to finish in a race or event.”

After a number of years at Calvert Hall College, McCoach actually started the Maryvale Prep running programs six years ago, starting with a club cross country team and then an indoor team.

He was named “Coach of the Year” by the Baltimore Sun in 2001 after his first-year team from Maryvale exploded onto the running scene. Miller has since followed in McCoach’s footsteps by staying with the Lions and introducing them to an outdoor track program in the coming year.

Maryvale will always remember McCoach, as his youngest daughter, Annie, also a runner, attends school there.

“This 5K is a great opportunity for everyone who had a chance to be coached by McCoach to share their experiences, renew friendships and remember a great man,” said Terri Moeser, athletic director at Maryvale Prep.

In addition to Miller, members of the committee include former McCoach runners from Calvert Hall, Doug Stewart and Jonathan Dietrich, Rebecca Dietrich, Regina Miller, former Maryvale athletic director Helen McAuley, Kelly and Glenna Sullivan’s father, Brian Sullivan, and Kelly Dees from Charm City Run.

Members of the committee remember that Jim McCoach had something positive to say to every one of his athletes after each event. His philosophy was clear and unwavering. Running was a metaphor for life and the journey was just as important as the destination. Every race and every day is an opportunity to improve.

According to Miller, McCoach kept in touch with many of his athletes long after they graduated from high school. His periodic calls were just to check up on how things were going, but in every instance he had a lesson learned or piece of wisdom to share. For their part, these adult men and women continued to call, seeking McCoach’s advice or to hear him tell one of his famous stories.

The “Git er done” Run is one way of honoring the man who coached his team to be winners in the race of life.

Jim McCoach Memorial “Git ‘er Done” Run
Sunday, July 1, 2007
8:00 a.m.
Oregon Ridge Park
13401 Beaver Dam Road
Cockeysville, MD 21030
$25 Pre-race registration
$30 Race day registration

For more information contact Kelly Dees, Charm City Run.(410) 308 – 1870

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.