Aug | 6
Run Happy Inspiration

Congratulations Renee Williams-Smith, the Brooks 2014 Inspiring Coach of the Year

After looking at hundreds and hundreds of nominations for coaches from all 50 states and watching your thousands of votes roll in, today Brooks crowns Renee Williams-Smith as the 2014 Inspiring Coach of the Year!

Renee’s coaching career has been defined by paving a path for young runners in our sport and providing opportunities, particularly for girls, to experience success and a team in running.

Current and former athletes, parents and fellow coaches nominated Renee for inspiring her Mira Costa Mustangs through her pioneering example. In the 1970s, Renee Williams-Smith was the first girl to run cross country at  Mira Costa High School, stitching her own uniform to run with the boys since her school didn’t have a girls’ cross country team.

brooks inspiring coaches winner 2014, renee wlliams smith inspiring coach, renee williams smith receives coaching award, mira costa coach receives brooks coaching award

Brooks crowned Renee the 2014 Inspiring Coach of the Year in front of a group of athletes, running clubs, coaches and others from the running community.

Renee blazed a trail on a full-ride scholarship to run at Kansas State University and in the 1980s, she was heavily involved in the Los Angeles Olympics Committee, the first Games to hold a women’s marathon.

After a successful professional career, Renee returned to Mira Costa High School and turned a small group of girls training on their own into a perennial powerhouse team, one that considers their teammates family and Coach Renee a second mom.

As the Brooks 2014 Inspiring Coach of the Year, Renee will receive $10,000 in Brooks gear, $2,500 cash for team expenses, membership to the Inspire Daily program and a trip for two to the 2015 PR Invitational.

Renee was selected from 24 other finalists, each of whom go above and beyond in their coaching to inspire their runners to do and be more. They include coaches like Kris Keppel who shows up to every practice and meet even while battling pancreatic cancer and StanFryczynski who has developed and led his teams through humor and compassion during his 41-year career which encompasses indoor and outdoor track, cross country. Each finalist will receive $5,000 in gear and $500 cash for team expenses along with membership to the Inspire Daily program.

brooks inspiring coaches winner 2014, renee wlliams smith inspiring coach, renee williams smith receives coaching award, mira costa coach receives brooks coaching award

Congrats to each of the 2014 Inspiring Coaches Finalists. The future of running looks brighter because of you!

Brooks began giving the Inspiring Coaches Award in 2011 to honor high school track and cross country coaches who create lasting, meaningful differences in their schools and communities and to celebrate their work, energy and all that they do for youth running. Each year, we receive hundreds of nominations from around the country and painstakingly narrow them down to the Top 25.  The winner is chosen through a combination of community supported voting on Facebook and feedback from Brooks employees and our Inspiring Coaches committee members.

Congrats Renee! And congrats to all of our finalists and other coaches who were nominated for the Brooks Inspiring Coach of the Year Award. The future of running looks brighter because of each of you!

 

About Derek
I’m a runner, a writer, and a shoe lover who enjoys morning coffee, travel, singing in the car, and getting legitimately lost on trail runs. Three things I can’t live without: bubble tea, Fridays, and my Brooks PureFlow’s.
13 Comments
  • Charles

    What was the point of the Voting?

  • JLMThompson

    I would also like to know the point of voting. All of these nominees were outstanding coaches who made positive contributions to their communities. With all these great stories I can understand that choosing just one would be difficult. I thought that is where the voting might have an influence. There were two coaches who were WAY above the other coaches in voting, yet neither of them won. There were people who put their heart and soul into voting and sharing every day and getting other people to do the same. It’s a great way to show your coach love, appreciation and respect. But it seemed to have zero influence on the outcome of the contest. I think the voting was a big scam to get publicity through the vote/share tactic and Brooks was going to pick whoever they wanted to pick anyway. I noticed that winners alternate between male and female each year. Since a man won last year this must have been designated the year of the woman. Congrats to the winner and all of the nominees. But I feel very suspicious of the way that Brooks picked the winner and feel certain that votes did not matter at all. If votes don’t count (and it seems like they didn’t) then Brooks should have been more upfront about that.

  • Cynical Dude

    Ya I feel the same way as the previous poster. You had multiple coaches that had inspirational stories (two with Cancer by my count) and the coach who was a Quadriplegic and still kept on coaching. I found their stories to be “inspirational”. Having someone who was a division I athlete go back and get a teaching degree to become a XC coach is a rather run-of-the-mill story and very bland. If this was done for marketing purposes to highlight coach Williams-Smith to sell shoes to women, I will be highly disappointed in Brooks as a company, one that I have always respected greatly for their commitment to the Hanson-Brooks Distance project. Perhaps the nomination submission for coach Williams-Smith was a Shakespearean masterpiece that put her over the top before the voting actually began. I think the top two vote getters had 5 to 6 times her number of votes. And if the Olympics were in 1984 and the winner was at K-state in 1983, how exactly was a then college-student “heavily involved” in the LA Olympics organization? An intern?

  • Thanks to great coaches

    Each and every one of the coaches were well chosen and honored. I am certain that the kids who run with each of them is grateful for the experience. No doubt the short blurb on the posts was but a glimpse of who these terrific coaches are. Let’s spend our energy making sure we say thanks to the coaches that inspire our kids. Thanks to Brooks for honoring all of them! I can bet you, each of the recipients felt honored and grateful.

  • Cynical Dude #2

    Ya I feel the same way as the previous poster. You had multiple coaches that had inspirational stories (two with Cancer by my count) and the coach who was a Quadriplegic and still kept on coaching. I found their stories to be “inspirational”. Having someone who was a division I athlete go back and get a teaching degree to become a XC coach is a rather run-of-the-mill story and very bland. If this was done for marketing purposes to highlight coach Williams-Smith to sell shoes to women, I will be highly disappointed in Brooks as a company, one that I have always respected greatly for their commitment to the Hanson-Brooks Distance project. Perhaps the nomination submission for coach Williams-Smith was a Shakespearean masterpiece that put her over the top before the voting actually began. I think the top two vote getters had 5 to 6 times her number of votes. And if the Olympics were in 1984 and the winner was at K-state in 1983, how exactly was a then college-student “heavily involved” in the LA Olympics organization?

    • Bob Hurley

      A simple “congratulations” would suffice..

    • BeNice

      If your mad at Brooks be mad at Brooks! No need to bring the coach down.

  • Joe Stevens

    I followed the contest pretty closely after hearing about the Quadriplegic coach via a local Indy website. Not sure how the winner topped that, but best wishes.

  • Rene Paragas

    Great job Renee Williams-Smith. You are a true inspiration!

  • brooksblog

    Thanks for reaching out to us and for your interest in the Inspiring Coaches program. Each year, we receive hundreds of nominations from around the country and painstakingly narrow them down to the Top 25. Community supported voting was one of the inputs in ultimately choosing the winner, combined with feedback from a panel of Brooks employees–who carefully review each of the hundreds of nominations, and feedback from our Inspiring Coaches committee members. The winner was announced last night at an awards banquet, and was recognized alongside the Inspiring Coaches finalists.

    At Brooks we believe that inspiration comes from many places and takes many forms. It is with great pride that we support the many coaches who overcome personal adversity, and who cultivate leadership, good sportsmanship, and a commitment to personal development in youth and in communities across the nation. It is certainly true that all of our applicants are extraordinarily inspiring.

    Our lesson learned is that we should help our community understand the selection process in more detail. Thank you for your feedback on our approach. We will take your concerns into consideration when communicating the selection process going forward. This charitable event has been in existence since 2011 and we are honored to have the opportunity to celebrate inspiring coaches this year and in the years to come.

  • Sam Weingart

    This Is a disgrace on brooks. Coach Kris Keppel is the true winner. He had the thousands of votes over this girl. The man showed up to meets getting Keno therapy during races. He is one of the nicest people you will ever meet.
    This girl might be deserving of this honor but coach Kris Keppel is the true winner.

  • Randy Faigmane Lagsac

    CONGRATULATION COACH!!!

  • Puma

    I think there’s a lesson here and that lesson is that good sportsmanship doesn’t just apply to athlete’s on the field. Good sportsmanship applies to all of us as we go about life. Brooks should be commended for #1, honoring all of these wonderful, extraordinary coaches; #2 for the countless man hours and resources that were spent on the Coach of the Year project; and #3, for doing the right thing and taking the time to sift through all of the Facebook voting, for reviewing all of the applications as well as videos submitted by all of these applicants. Brooks ultimately chose a coach which embodied all of the qualities a Brooks Coach of the Year Award recipient should possess. Thank you Brooks for providing us with a platform to toot our horns for our coaches who dedicate their lives to our youth.