May | 18
Inspiration

Announcing the finalists for the 2016 Inspiring Coach of the Year Award

At Brooks we believe that running change a day, a life and even the world. We also believe that coaches bear some of the brightest torches in our sport. They are the mentors and the true inspiration behind millions of people experiencing the run. The time has come again to announce this year’s finalists for the Inspiring Coach of the Year Award, the multinational award we give to pay tribute to coaches for all they do for runners and our communities.

Last year, we expanded the search for the Inspiring Coach of the Year to Canada, and this year, we opened the award to coaches outside of high schools, acknowledging the important work they do in youth clubs, community running groups and more.

Get to know this year’s finalists below, including their best line of coaching advice, and be sure to leave a comment and let us know who you think should be named the Brooks 2016 Inspiring Coach of the Year!

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Alysun Deckert, Team Transplant, Seattle

Alysun, a clinical nutrition manager at University of Washington Medical Center and competitive master’s runner, started Team Transplant as a way for transplant recipients to find community and healthy lifestyles post-surgery.

“I went into this thinking that with my diet and exercise background, I’m going to show the power of diet and exercise. People will be thinner and have better cholesterol levels, they’ll be fast. But it’s not so much what they do to train and what they eat, it’s having a community that supports you in that effort that makes a difference. The community is what gets people back on Saturday mornings to exercise. They show up because they know they’ll have a group there and people will support them.”

Alysun has seen what running can do for those around her and in her own life and found a logical transition into coaching and building community using her experience. Currently with over 200 members, Team Transplants’ motto is “Survive. Thrive. Together.”

Anders Brooker, Hellgate High School, Missoula, Mont.

Anders, the coach at Hellgate High School in Missoula, Mont., views running as a tool to build quality student athletes and human beings. For him, racing fast and winning are important, but they are only one element of creating valuable memories. Coach Brooker has succeeded in creating a community of runners and a legacy of running memories at Hellgate High. One athlete wrote of coach Brooker, “Anders has created a culture that at-once demands your absolute greatness in strength and endurance, is full of passion and empathy, is wholly inclusive – but has an instantly obvious layer of endearing sarcasm, humor and so much fun.”

Ashley Wiles, Sole Girls, Vancouver, British Columbia

Understanding the struggles of doubt and body image that many young girls experience while growing up, Ashley was pulled to create positive change in her community.

Ashley used her passion for running and for helping those around her to create to create Sole Girls, a group for adolescent girls that uses running as a tool to build self-confidence and a sense of empowerment.

“Sole girls started in 2013. It’s an empowerment program for girls between ages 8 to 12. We started with 15 girls and now it’s over 600 girls. We run a nine-week program where girls train to run a 5k. We talk about values and we use running as a tool to facilitate conversations about body image and confidence. At Sole Girls by intermixing physical activity it enables a deeper learning and is less confrontational –it’s facilitates an open-minded conversation. We tell the girls to be that person that inspired you 5 or 10 years from now. Find your happy pace!”

Many runners have indeed found their happy pace with Sole Girls. Ashley’s goal to “change the number of girls who are physically inactive” and in return build self-confidence is working.

Dan Dachelet, Southington High School, Southington, Conn.

Dan Dachelet may be a firefighter by trade, but he’s a coach through and through. One example-The Vicious Cycle. It’s what he calls the process of inspiration on his team- he coaches and motivates the kids and through their running, they motivate and inspire him. “That’s the reward I look forward to… listening to them talk about how they want to be better,” he says.

“I like the word passion, and that’s the way I approach the sport. If you’re going to do this, be passionate about it. Don’t just go through the motions. Put your heart and soul into it and you’ll be better at it and you’ll succeed.”

Hopey Newkirk, Montgomery County High School, Mt. Sterling, Ky.

Hopey views herself as a mentor and tries to foster family with her program.

“We teach family and we call ourselves a family. We celebrate graduations, we mourn loss, it’s not a seasonal activity – it’s year-round and all through their years. We encourage church activities, service activities, helping homeless families. It gives kids the big picture that we all need to help each other in this world and also helps them appreciate what humans sometimes take for granted.”

That sense of family and commitment to one universal goal has brought a running team from obscurity to become regional champions.

“We weren’t competitive (in the past). This past season we were moved into a much more difficult region. Our goal was State and we wanted a trophy – the top two teams in the region. We did a visualization and I said here (finish line) is where you’re gonna lay down and die. And well, they did. I remember as the last runner crossed that line I looked and they were all laying down – it was cold and muddy – and I lay down with them right there. And it hit me right there that these kids had grown in their belief in themselves and that was a defining moment. And we got that trophy!”

Family, community and commitment to team are the values that create community for the Montgomery County Indians and what makes Hopey Newkirk such an admired leader.

Jason Belinkie, Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, Bethesda, MD

Jason views coaching as an opportunity to create lifelong runners and also lifelong passion for running. It’s a metaphor for life, he thinks, and running on a team is a chance to learn and grow.

“I’ve had countless parents who say their children leave the team and running became a foundation for them to reinvent themselves and make them better people,” he says.

Whether it’s working for nonprofits like Athletes for Hope as Chief Operating Officer or coaching at the high school, Jason brings an enthusiasm and genuine respect for the human condition that help to inspire the community of runners around him.

John Peebles, John Burroughs High School, Burbank, Calif.

For Coach John Peebles, his first responsibility is to mentor young adults into responsible human beings. And that means doing the simple thing…the things most people take for granted.

“Like knowing your teammates names. I hate it when I go to a meet and someone yells go ‘school name’ but doesn’t know the name of the athlete they are cheering for.”

Coach Peebles enjoys teaching and coaching because he enjoys mentoring young adults. His goal is for all his athletes is that they aspire to succeed. Their growth comes from the efforts made to attain those goals. He knows that if his student athletes “do the simple things right,” that they will ultimately become better people and responsible adults. Sometimes the simple things are inspiration enough.

Juan Castanon, Southside High School, San Antonio, Texas

Coach Juan Castanon knew it wouldn’t be easy but he knew it was right; he was determined to create a program the community could be proud of.

“When I first took over the program it was way below a standard program…they went to small meets and there wasn’t much motivation to succeed. I started setting goals and the athletes responded. I exposed them to the highest level. This year we won district and qualified for State for the first time in school history. No sports at our school go to State, but now XC does.”

He was inspired to coach after a powerful life given to him by his own high school coach.

“My girlfriend of five years passed away in college. I dropped out. My high school coach got me back to running and in school and really changed my life. I wanted to be able to have that positive impact on other peoples’ lives.”

Coach Castanon’s generosity and determination have turned a lackluster running program into the best sports team in the high school and the center of attention for an entire community.

Marisa Parks, Dripping Springs High School, Dripping Springs, Texas

Marisa Parks loves what she gets to do for a living and she loves her sport. She created a unique and special culture in Dripping Springs that not only inspires her student athletes, but unites a community of runners.

“I think what’s really cool about the type of kids you get is there’s no glory… at least not much in our sport. These kids are coming from all different backgrounds, and the run is the one thing that unites us all. It can define us; that one moment of being edged-out or finding passion that changes their lives. As a coach, you never know when that moment is going to impact them.”

To Coach Parks, running is special and powerful, and she acknowledges its role on her team. It’s just one reason of many why she’s a finalist for the 2016 Inspiring Coach of the Year Award.

“You don’t always realize the impact you have and I truly believe I get more from coaching than I give. I love coaching…I love my job. I feel like the kids can see the passion I have for running and for my job.”

Nat Carter, Union Pines High School, Cameron, N.C.

Nat Carter is a pioneer for women’s track and field in North Carolina. When he began teaching, there were no sports for girls in the spring, so he organized an all-girls field day and invited other schools. He saw the need for even more opportunity for the girls, so he began working with the high school coach to take some of the older girls to compete in the Junior Olympics. From that work, the Union Pines girls’ track and field team was born.

Coach Carter has created a legacy of inspiration in his community, empowering youth and developing responsible adults.

“When you look at the diversity of different kids in the program, not everybody at home receives the same type of encouragement, affection or ability to challenge themselves. They learn devotion, commitment and they build friendships. It’s just a matter of, overall, making a kid more well-rounded. You learn to deal with people – wins and losses – you learn to appreciate performances. It’s just a matter of preparing these kids for life itself.”

Rick Patton, Wamego High School, Wamego, Kan.

Rick Patton loves coaching and he loves his athletes. His passion for his adopted sport is contagious in his athletes, and like many great coaches, he uses running as a metaphor for life.

“Life’s a gift and, you know, you want to use every day you have. If you’re willing to really work at it, you can get better. You may have some potholes along the way, but you can get better. The choice is yours, and of course you have injuries, but every day is a gift. And the coach can be one of the most influential people in their lives – outside of their parents. The life skills they learn from running are invaluable – it translates to being good people: mothers, husbands, fathers and wives.”

Coach Patton has not only created a positive impact on his community, but he’s galvanized the commitment and tradition of a small running community for something much larger than himself.

RJ Stiltenpole, Scranton Running Club Barrier Breakers, Scranton, Pa.

RJ Stilenpole never intended to become a coach. But a group of women saw his potential and now, years and 600 athletes later, RJ isn’t just a coach, he’s a finalist for the 2016 Inspiring Coach of the Year Award.

“You want to try to be a good runner, but I preach to be a good person. You see people from the 8 minute group go back and run with the 14 minute groups,” says Coach Stitlenpole. “People come here and they can be who they are, good and bad.”

Through his Barrier Breakers running group, RJ Stiltenpole has transformed an otherwise sedentary town in Pennsylvania into a pretense-free, joyful, life-affirming place to run.

Stephen Barlow, Oliver Wendell Holmes High School, San Antonio, Texas

After leaving his native Australia to run in the U.S., Coach Steve Barlow established roots in Texas and decided to invest back in his chosen sport, seeking to bring as many kids as he could into the running family to help them fall in love with the sport that had such a huge impact on his life.

“I’m here to help the kids. The only thing I get out of it (coaching) is helping kids run well. Kids want to come back every day, that’s the payoff. If a kid doesn’t want to be there, that’s OK, it’s not for everybody. But we want to keep everyone around.”

Coach Barlow understands the impact a good coach and mentor can have on a community of runners. He’s decided that modeling an example of self-sacrifice, hard work and teamwork is how he can inspire future generations of runners. Several years ago, he started the “Run-a-Thon,” to raise money for local charities. What started as him alone running for eight or more hours during the day has turned into a team and community event that helps provide meals for struggling families.

 

Our list of 13 finalists represents some of the finest coaches in running today, and we’re excited to award them $5,000 in Brooks gear and $500 in cash for team expenses. The winner of the Inspiring Coach of the Year Award, who we’ll announce in June, will receive an additional $5,000 in gear and $2,000 in cash.

 

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.
208 Comments
  • Zoë

    Coach Jason Belinkie is truly the most inspiring, influential, and impactful person and coach. Every day, in his job at Athletes For Hope, he guides children to realize their full potential. Coach Belinkie operates with that same philosophy year round, checking in daily with individual members of an 80 person cross country and track team during summer and winter vacations as well as during the season. He sacrifices
    personal time with his newborn daughter and wife in order to travel up and down
    the coast and support my teammates and I in races. His careful and strategic
    training plan builds up not only endurance and anaerobic capacity, but also
    mental strength. I would not be the confident and relentless person that I am
    today if I Coach Belinkie had not been my coach. He understands every
    runner’s mind on a deep level and is able to use this psychology to boost
    everyone’s self-worth and lower race times. He truly creates a love for running
    that fulfills lives.

    • Thanks for telling us about Coach Belinkie, Zoe! He’s an inspiration to us and we’re excited to recognize him this year!

  • Thanks for all the comments on Coach Belinkie, Audrey! It’s amazing to hear all of the additional ways he’s helping to inspire and motivate runners of all types.

  • Anna Marie

    How do we vote for the coach that we think should win the award?

    • Hi Anna! We don’t have voting this year, however, we’d still love to hear who of our finalists inspires you!

      • Coach Carter’s biggest fan

        Coach Carter is a great man who really takes the best interest in the team but can still manage to give individual attention to everyone no matter how many kids there are. He is always smiling and joking around but takes very good care of everyone and shows he cares. The effort he puts in every year is astonishing and I’m very happy people can hear about the amazing things he has done through this program.

  • Hilary

    Coach Jason Belinkie has truly transformed my life in many ways. When I first joined the JDS track team, I was one of the slower runners, and yet Coach Belinkie still paid me close attention, care, encouragement, and direction. He never excluded anybody, because he believed in the importance of a welcoming community. Over the course of my time on the team, he inspired me to try my best and he helped me discover my potential as a leader and a willing member of the team. I do not know what my life would have been like in high school without the support of Coach Belinkie and the JDS Cross Country and Track teams.
    However, I had no idea that his support would extend far beyond my time as a runner on the high school team. I am now in college, and last semester I had to withdraw due to health reasons. I was devastated to be leaving my friends and living at home. It was none other than Coach Belinkie that played one of the most important roles in my well-being during my semester off and my recovery from illness. Coach Belinkie constantly checked in and motivated me when I was feeling hopeless. Furthermore, he welcomed me back to the team to help coach, once again providing me with a place to belong. I never would have imagined the impact Coach Belinkie would continue to have on my life, but I now know that I can go to him in a time of need. It takes an astounding level of genuine selflessness, compassion, and willingness to help for somebody to be putting in the time that Coach Belinkie does to all of his athletes (and former athletes). If I could even be a fraction as dedicated, helpful, and understanding as Coach Belinkie, I know I could lead a successful life. He inspires me beyond measure.

  • Kathy Katz

    Coach B is truly amazing. I have had 4 kids at this school and they have participated in soccer(boys & girls), basketball, softball, and volleyball(boys & girls) and all have been great experiences. But Coach B tales it to the next level, creating a family atmosphere where everyone feels important and involved, regardless of their times or achievements. By fostering this kind of environment, I believe he helps kids learn to love running and teamwork. This gives them invaluable lessons for their future lives, health and well-being.

  • Debra Shurberg Diewald

    Coach Jason Belinkie ‘Coach B’ is an extremely patient and caring coach. He motivates his runners to perform to their highest level. He has coached all levels of runners and encouraged them in their training. He creates a welcoming team environment for everyone. He is very approachable and reasonable with both the younger middle school runners and high school runners. He has coached my son for the past 3 years in both cross country and track. He has pushed him and motivated him to run at a high level of competition. He checks in with him daily and gives him an individual training schedule that works for him. He is truly the best coach my son has had in any sport he has participated in!!

  • Az “Coach Cat” Harrison

    For the past 7 years, I have had the pleasure & privilege to be an Assistant Coach to Jason “Coach B” Belinkie. Although our running skill-sets differ (mine: Sprints, Hurdles & Jumps. His: Distance & Endurance), Jason has taught me so much about what it means to lead a running community. The key word here being ‘community’. Jason puts his heart and soul into fostering a diverse community, all connected through a common love for running. He not only believes in meeting each runner where they’re at, but also has a knack for motivating runners to aspire to new, challenging goals, just outside of their comfort zone where the magic truly happens.

    I’ve worked with Jason since before the birth of his vivacious daughter, his engagement followed by marriage to his supportive wife, and the adoption of their adorable Pug duo. Through these milestones, his dedication to the JDS running community has never wavered–if anything, it becomes stronger with time. He provides the athletes with so many unique opportunities – bringing in world-class athletes as guest speakers, coordinating with a physical therapist to educate the team about injury prevention, providing optional Summer vacation training schedules & training meet-ups, sacrificing free time to register interested athletes for elite invitationals (which he also consistently attends), initiating a “fantasy Track team” complete with points & prizes, coordinating team dinners…the list goes on!

    Jason is the clear choice to me in this contest. In the midst of all the Brooks contest excitement, he is SO incredibly humble about being a finalist. He blushes whenever the contest is brought up and will not allow for mention of the contest to pass without giving thanks to the parents, athletes, and coaching staff for making this possible for him and our team. Quite honestly, the only time I hear Jason speak about the Brooks contest, it is to excitedly share how he can’t wait to “spread the love” with the JDS running community, were he to be selected as a winner. This contest has come completely by surprise to him and it is such a great reflection of his character that it hasn’t changed him at all, if anything it’s given him a rejuvenating sense of purpose in his coaching career.

    There aren’t enough words in the world for all of us whose lives are touched by Jason to give the proper thanks, but hopefully you can see just how deep his influence impacts by our feedback.

  • Emma

    Coach Carter is the best coach I have ever had. He was my track coach in fifth grade and my cross country and track coach in ninth grade. He is very inspiring and is the kindest person I know. He is always putting others before himself. During cross country, he took a varsity team of mostly freshmen girls and helped us qualify for states (as a team) for the first time in a long time. I was injured and out for eight weeks and he still took the time to let me know how the team was doing and that I was still part of the team even though I couldn’t run. Our whole team appreciates him so much. We wouldn’t be the team we are without him.

  • Lauren LaClair

    Coach Nat Carter is honestly one of the best coaches I’ve ever had. He trains his team well and brings in outside coaches to supplement his training. He has coached for as long as anyone from our school can remember. He’s made such a huge impact on our Womens cross country, winter track and Women’s spring track teams. He has lead many seasons of girls to regionals and even to states. We’ve won many conference championships with Coach Carters coaching. He’s had many girls go on to run track or cross country at the college level. Coach carter spends the majority of his time in some way devoted to his team if he’s not at practice he’s somewhere scheduling something or getting something for the team. He’s one of the most devoted coaches I’ve ever met and he really loves all of his athletes.

    • Thanks for stopping by and sharing a few words about Coach Carter- he’s very deserving and we’re honored to consider him as a finalist for our Inspiring Coach of the Year Award.

  • Daniel Taylor

    Coach Carter is the greatest coach I have ever had in any sport, and I’ve had quite a few coaches from middle school to my time now in high school. This year he coached cross country as he always does, along with indoor track for boys and girls, and outdoor track for the girls. He has been a coach at Union Pines High School for a very long time now and has helped many runners achieve their goals. I started running a year ago with some pretty terrible times, but coach carter kept encouraging me and giving me great workouts to get better and this year I am running times I would’ve never thought possible for me. Because of my progress in running, I am gonna be running at Methodist University next year. Coach Carter got me in touch with Methodist’s coach because of the big jump I made from last year to this year, which is thanks to Coach Carter in the first place. Before this year, I had no idea what I was gonna do after high school, but now, thanks to Coach Carter, I have a plan. Coach Carter not only cares about your goals but about you as a person too. I could call him anytime about something I need help with and he would help me with it. He is not only a great coach but a great friend as well.

  • Charles Hirsch

    Coach John Peebles goes above and beyond for his athletes. The concepts of respect, community, responsibility and gratitude are life lessons he strives so hard to imprint on the young people under his guidance. He works so hard on so many aspects of life, it helps round out the abilities of the athletes. Times are great, but what if that athlete doesn’t support and encourage his teammate. Team dinners are fun but what if nobody thanks the host parent? The track meet is taking place but what if nobody is helping to run it? Coach Peebles develops the person in tandem with the athlete! When my son, Alexander, joined the cross country team as a freshman last year, the culture of the team embraced him, supported him and motivated. Yes, that team did amazing things including winning the CIF Southern Section Division 1 title, the first CIF Championship EVER for Burroughs. However, the team raised up Alexander. It made his transition into high school easier which let him thrive in the classroom and in competition. That culture, that sense of responsibility to self, to team and to others all came from Coach John Peebles.

    • What a great story about Coach Peebles and Alexander! We’re excited to recognize coach and all the work he’s doing for student athletes like yours.

      • Charles Hirsch

        Alexander’s a big fan of the Ghost 8 and his racing flats for XC are also by Brooks. Keep making great products that don’t compromise 🙂

  • Jessica

    Coach Carter is honestly the best coach I have ever had, his dedication and patience towards us as a team has really impacted me. We were able to go all the way to states this year even though most of us were freshman. He has had a profound impact in my life that will stay with me, the team really loves and appreciates him.

  • Ike

    Let me tell you about coach Nat carter from uphs. He the kind of guy you can mess around with. My friends like messing around with coach carter because he don’t care he just a laid back dude and we have the fun nest with him and he inspires us. Everytime we do something he says alright now go this far or fast and you look at this man and say “huh what you mean” and he makes you do it and we end up finding out we can go that far and that fast. This man also gives people on are track spikes for running if they don’t have any and he brings the team water bottles and fruits to practice everyday and then we make jokes with him and he has even taken money out of his own wallet for kids to eat after the end of a track meet. Coach carter is probably one of the best coaches uphs has ever had and I have ever had and has had a lasting impact on everyone from uphs

  • Megan Jackson

    Coach Nat Carter has helped me so much throughout my freshman year. I went into high school not knowing what I wanted to do other than softball and cross country (which I’m not the best at) and after one season of Coach Carter being patient with me and making me better, I was hooked. I ditched softball and decided to run/jump winter and spring track. He is such an inspiration to everyone and he is truly amazing. It’s got to be in the orange hat…

  • Isabel P

    Coach Carter is one of the most inspiring people I have ever met. He pushes us to do our best, gets us out our comfort zones to improve our times, believes in us every step of the way, and all in all makes running fun. I started running track last year thinking I would only be running sprints during high school, but Coach Carter insisted I run cross country and started putting me in mid-distance events during track. I was reluctant at first, but now I realize it’s so much better for me than sprinting was. He has led our team to many conference champion titles over the years and will continue to do so. I’ve never met a coach with such a great attitude, kind heart, and appreciation for the sport they were coaching and I am SO glad I decided to run on his team.

  • Madeline O

    Coach Nat Carter is the best coach I have and will ever have. He is always there and cares about each and every person on the team, fast or slow. One reason that the school team does so well is because everybody wants to make Coach Carter smile and happy. Making Coach Carter proud is one of the best feelings ever. He takes the time to talk to each person and is able to challenge them with what is appropriate for that person. Doing this makes the team better and stronger as a whole. I have only known Coach Carter for about a year but I will never forget him. He’s the type of person that you automatically love from the start. Ever since the first day that I met him he has been encouraging me. Because of this I have become a better athlete and person, all thanks to him. I will never forget Coach Carter.

  • Katie O’Sullivan

    I have run under Nat Carter for the past four years at Union Pines High School, and I would not be the person, or runner, I am today without him. My father is in the air force, so I moved to NC right before the start of my freshman year, and had no one. I joined the cross country team in an effort to put myself out there, and it lead me to meet one of the greatest men in existence. When I started running as a freshman, I hated it- I despised the sport and dreaded the runs with a passion, and every time I walked up to Carter to tell him I wasn’t coming back the next day, he would greet me with a huge genuine smile and let me know how happy and proud of me he was for sticking with it. I could never tell him I wanted to quit because we both knew that I could finish. When it came time for my first race, I laced up my shoes and could feel all the butterflies going crazy in my stomach, I couldn’t do it. Enter Coach Carter. He looked at me, smiled a Coach Carter smile, and told me to run my race, that this was about me, and I could do it. We lined up, the guns went off, and I ran. My freshman year was not the best for me time wise, but with each year I grew faster and more in love with the way my shoes sounded as the pound on the trails. I never dreaded a single practice because I knew that Carter would be there with a smile and his stop watch. I never dreaded a race because I knew Carter would be there with his bike and bright orange hat at all the important markers with encouragement and a time. Fast forward through a few injuries and years, and it’s my senior year, and I am lining up for the state finals as the captain of a team that had just had boys and girls qualify for the championship race in the same year.

    Coach Carter taught me that running isn’t about just times, it’s about how hard you work. Never once did he get upset with me or tell me my time was bad. My runs were about my effort, and that was what Carter wants from every one of his runners- effort. No matter who you talk to about Carter, the first thing out of their mouth is “Man, I love Coach Carter.” One of the runners on our cross country team is blind, and when she came up to Carter and told him she wanted to run he answered her with a resounding yes. He loves and supports every one of his runners, and it’s so incredibly genuine. Every single runner who has run under him could give paragraphs about the amazing ways he has impacted them, the communities he has reached out to and touched, and all the amazing ways he has empowered running across North Carolina.

    For the gift from the cross country seniors to Coach Carter, I asked all of them to write a letter to Carter that I would place in a scrap book filled with pictures of Carter and the team, and some of the letters that were written to him brought tears to my eyes.

    I could spend so much longer writing about the amazing person and coach that Nat Carter is but I hope something here catches the eye of a Brooks representative, and I hope all of you at Brooks can see the wonder of a human that is my coach, and how deserving he is of recognition.

  • Katie O’Sullivan

    I have run under Nat Carter for the past four years at Union Pines High School, and I would not be the person, or runner, I am today without him. My father is in the air force, so I moved to NC right before the start of my freshman year, and had no one. I joined the cross country team in an effort to put myself out there, and it lead me to meet one of the greatest men in existence. When I started running as a freshman, I hated it- I despised the sport and dreaded the runs with a passion, and every time I walked up to Carter to tell him I wasn’t coming back the next day, he would greet me with a huge genuine smile and let me know how happy and proud of me he was for sticking with it. I could never tell him I wanted to quit because we both knew that I could finish. When it came time for my first race, I laced up my shoes and could feel all the butterflies going crazy in my stomach, I couldn’t do it. Enter Coach Carter. He looked at me, smiled a Coach Carter smile, and told me to run my race, that this was about me, and I could do it. We lined up, the guns went off, and I ran. My freshman year was not the best for me time wise, but with each year I grew faster and more in love with the way my shoes sounded as the pound on the trails. I never dreaded a single practice because I knew that Carter would be there with a smile and his stop watch. I never dreaded a race because I knew Carter would be there with his bike and bright orange hat at all the important markers with encouragement and a time. Fast forward through a few injuries and years, and it’s my senior year, and I am lining up for the state finals as the captain of a team that had just had boys and girls qualify for the championship race in the same year.

    Coach Carter taught me that running isn’t about just times, it’s about how hard you work. Never once did he get upset with me or tell me my time was bad. My runs were about my effort, and that was what Carter wants from every one of his runners- effort. No matter who you talk to about Carter, the first thing out of their mouth is “Man, I love Coach Carter.” One of the runners on our cross country team is blind, and when she came up to Carter and told him she wanted to run he answered her with a resounding yes. He loves and supports every one of his runners, and it’s so incredibly genuine. Every single runner who has run under him could give paragraphs about the amazing ways he has impacted them, the communities he has reached out to and touched, and all the amazing ways he has empowered running across North Carolina.

    For the gift from the cross country seniors to Coach Carter, I asked all of them to write a letter to Carter that I would place in a scrap book filled with pictures of Carter and the team, and some of the letters that were written to him brought tears to my eyes.

    I could spend so much longer writing about the amazing person and coach that Nat Carter is but I hope something here catches the eye of a Brooks representative, and I hope all of you at Brooks can see the wonder of a human that is my coach, and how deserving he is of recognition.

  • Brianna Stengele

    Being an athlete, I’ve had many great coaches but I’ve never had one as inspiring as Coach Carter. The thought never crossed my mind to even run cross country or track in my life until my freshman year of high school at Union Pines. I was talked into doing cross country the summer before freshman year started and that’s the day everything changed. I went out for summer workouts and realized right then and there how amazing of a Coach he really was. Through every practice, workout, race, and meets Coach inspired me to constantly get better. Starting as a freshman my times weren’t all that great but they drastically got better thanks to Coach. Coach Carter has always been an inspiration to not only get better in sports but to be better in everything. Coach Carter’s inspiration has always stuck with me ever since I graduated, and I’ll never forget that.

  • Danny Waksman

    Coach Jason Belinkie is a personal hero of mine. I joined the team in seventh grade and to be quite blunt I was no contribution to the team whatsoever. In fact, teammates in my own grade would lap me in track workouts. However, from the very start there was only one thing Jason cared about, your passion for the sport and the team. He did not care if you were the best runner on the team. If Coach B saw that you cared, he would help you with anything. This leader of over 60 athletes treated me, one of the worst kids, with the same equality and respect as the top runners on the team. He cared just as much as my performance than any other runners. He took a chance on me and spent hours of his personal time guiding me to success. Over years of training and personal help that included late night phone calls and agreeing to meet with me before practice to pace me through a mile he has always been there. That alone makes him remarkable. However, what makes him unbelievable and my personal hero is the fact that he put in all that work on a runner who did not contribute when he had several other runners to deal with, a wife and a young daughter, a second job, and a masters degree that he was obtaining at a prestigious university. Because of him, I transformed into a slow seventh grader into a placing athlete. Coach B has personally changed my life for the better. It is no wonder how he has coached this team to its first championship victory in school history. He is hard working, intelligent, kind, helpful, understanding, and easily the best coach I can even imagine. He is Jason Belinkie.

  • Stephanie Barney-Tassart

    Coach Peebles is the reason I wanted my son Zander to join Cross Country and Track and Field. When I read the team “laws” and saw that being a team player, being kind to each other and the community was of utmost importance to the Coach I knew this was the team for him! Coach Peebles encourages each member of the team to do their best but to also push past their comfort zones and to cheer for one another, respecting each other and only speaking in positive words. Coach Peebles teaches the kids to be amazing runners and athletes but what he teaches most is to be an amazing human being each and everyday and for that, to all of us at John Burroughs HS, he IS our Coach of the Year!!!

  • K Clark

    Coach John Peebles works day and night to help his students. I know because I live very close to the high school and I see him there day and night! He always gets his students to dig deep and give their all. John Peebles is a beloved member of the community and is very deserving of the Inspiring Coach of the Year award. Thank you for your consideration.

  • Max Stravitz

    Coach Jason Belinkie or Coach “B” to us is literally the greatest coach I have ever had. For years I have been playing basketball on many different teams with many different coaches, but Coach B is better than all of them. I can say for certain that he truly cares about his runners and their success. I’ve only been running for two years now and in the beginning I really didn’t feel the need to try hard and would constantly slack off, but because of Coach B and his commitment to me and my success I feel like I am obligated to both myself and to him to always try to achieve my best. He has truly influenced me with great motivation to become the best runner I can be. Coach B hasn’t just influenced me mentally, but he has also constantly given me workouts to improve my physical abilities as a runner. Without Coach B our team wouldn’t achieve what it already has and will achieve in the future. I think of my team as a family because of the care for cross country that Coach B has instilled in me. Coach B has gotten me from just thinking about cross country as a time filler for the fall season, to loving the sport not just for the fun times that it has, but also for the pains that come with it.

  • Clare

    As a parent of 4 kids who have had the privilege of being coached by Coach Carter, I am so exited to see him being recognized for his contributions to the sport. In addition to being an amazing coach, he is one of the kindest, most genuine and humble individuals I have ever encountered. His dedication to the sport and to educating our youth is unparalleled. He has helped so many of the youth in our community develop as athletes and more importantly as confident, healthy, upstanding members of our community. After spending just a few minutes at one of the pre-meet pasta dinners he organizes for the cross country team, it is clear that his runners are not just part of a team but also a family.

  • Debbie McHorney

    John Peebles is a tireless supporter of ALL students at John Burroughs High School. Not only does he spend countless hours with his own student athletes, but he attends MANY school events as well. It is quite common to see John sitting in the stands at basketball, football and volleyball games. He even steps in as the announcer for events when need be. John is also an excellent teacher, establishing important relationships with his AP Calculus students, helping them succeed in a difficult topic. And as if teaching and coaching are not enough, be sure to check him out as he sings his way into the hearts of all at the JBHS Pop Show. John performs a song (that he writes) with members of the JBHS choir every year and is a big hit! John is an excellent example of what it means to dedicate your life to your students and your work.

  • Teresa Perez

    I write this poem out of tremendous admiration
    as Coach John Peebles is the greatest inspiration,
    a Coach with true passion and dedication
    for this I hope he gets selected as Brooks 2016 Inspiring Coach of the Year,
    from this nomination.

    Coach Peebles inspires a passion to run,
    to build strong bodies and minds and to have fun,
    and to take the time to inspire others prior to running in the hot sun.

    Coach Peebles educates us that running is a sport
    that requires lots of perspiration
    and everyday determination
    striving to reach that optimal running level of relaxation,
    that is when creative ideas come to mind without hesitation

    When we feel like our bodies have to much inflammation
    and on hot days the dehydration
    Coach Peebles inspires us to resolve our own limitations
    and to have BIG aspirations.

    During a vital time in our teenage lives
    when we need it the most,
    Coach Peebles is our hero who will never boast.
    He teaches us that in life we should not coast
    as it is our desire, drive and determination
    that will give us the most.

    I thank Coach John Peebles from the heart for being such a BIG inspiration
    to the future of our nation.

    Written by Teresa Perez, Cross Country and Track runner.

  • Jill Tobin

    Where do I begin with Coach PEEBLES!?!?! This guys inspires me to be a better teacher and a better human being every single day. Did you know he also writes, sings, and performs a song with our Nationally award-winning show choir every year as well!? He teaches math during the school day, and he takes a popular song that all of the kids know, rewrites the lyrics to make the song about math, and then performs it on stage during the choirs annual Pop Show! It’s awesome! And it’s hilarious! He earns mad props from both the kids and the adults for putting himself out there and not letting anything or anyone hold him back from being his true, goofy, smart, hard-working self. Coach Peebles deserves all of the awards. We love you, coach!
    Jill Tobin
    JBHS Science Teacher
    LA County Teacher of the Year

    State of California Teacher of the Year semi-finalist

  • Rebecca

    I did not go to Burroughs High School, but growing up in the community of Burbank I knew of Mr. Peebles. That says a lot!!

  • Jennifer Bess

    Coach John Peebles was my Cross Country Coach back in the late 90’s. He is now my son’s Cross Country and Track coach. He knows exactly what it means to be a team and makes sure that every student is there to support one another throughout the whole meet or race. Nothing but positive and encouraging comments come from him. My son has reach each of his PR goals with help and support and encouragement from Mr. Peebles. He definitely deserves to be recognized for all he has done to inspire so many young people.

  • Jessica Kern

    Coach Peebles was such a fantastic influence on my son! When he was on track the only thing that motivated him to do his other school work was his respect for Mr. Peebles. He is dedicated and really creates a family atmosphere. The athletes as well as the parents were always included in the meets and races. Mr. Peebles is also the most fantastic math teacher ever! Just ask anyone at JBHS.

  • Dana

    We in Burbank are very proud of Coach John Peebles, not only for his coaching but for his dedication to education and the students he inspires to be better athletes, learners, and people.

  • Sandi S.

    I have know John Peebles and his family since middle school. His family raised him with core values that he passes on to his student/athletes in a way that high school kids “get it”. My daughter is a current student/athlete and gets “it” (his values) and expectations.
    I am also thankful that she has Mr. Peebles as a mentor/coach who she respects and has as a positive role model for life lessons. She has been part of other sports and extra curricular activities, but none compare to the fun and dynamic experience she has had this track and field season. Thank you Mr. Peebles and many thanks to his family.

  • Jill Sullivan

    Coach John Peebles is by far and away one of the most inspiring coaches and teachers I know. He’s a dynamo of energy, tirelessly working 24/7 to motivate and train his athletes and build team spirit. From clever and original motto’s on tee-shirts, inspiring and humorous awards and trophies, down to breakfast burrito’s for the top 10 every Friday, everything Coach Peebles does builds commitment and a sense of belonging for his students.

    Coach Peebles amazingly accepts all comers. Any student wants to run track, Coach Peebles will take and train him/her and find an event each individual can excel in.

    I know my grown daughter, no great athlete and a student who Coach would say, “Gave her all to Cross Country,” by getting stomach-sick every meet, credits Coach Peebles for giving her, not just a love for running, but a life-long appreciation of the importance of fitness. Yes, Coach Peebles is a brilliant coach, but not just for great athletes, he coaches and inspires everyone.

    • Hi Jill! We love hearing how inspiring Coach Peebles is! He and the rest of our finalists for the Inspiring Coach of the Year Award are some of the best around!

  • Michael Hastings

    Coach John Peebles is a “LIFE” Couch. His inspiration goes beyond his team members. As a former Mayor of the City of Burbank, and a very active community member, I have watched John grow a crop of fantastic young people into confident and successful young adults. His teaching skills, seasoned with his creative sense of humor, keep the athletes and students engaged and enjoy the learning process. John has my vote and the votes of the thousands of people he has mentored. We need him cloned! Looking forward, Michael Hastings

    • Thanks for your comment, Michael! We received many great words about Coach Peebles and are very excited to recognize what an inspiration he is for his kids and his community.

  • Alexandra White Helfrich

    Coach John Peebles from John Burroughs High School in Burbank applies his coaching philosophy to his team, and to his AP calculus students as well. His mantra, “I can, I will, I am,” teaches empowerment, belief in oneself, determination, and focus. He believes in his students and athletes, but never forgets to be playful, to enjoy life and find humor in everything. As the parent of one of Mr. Peebles AP Calculus students for the past two years, I can share that he teaches arguably the most challenging class offered in high school, and remains the most beloved of teachers. Our daughter is also an accomplished athlete, and was able to use what she learned at her desk to aspects of her sport, and to her life. Coach Peebles is the best of coaches, and so much more.

  • Peter Whitehouse

    Nat Carter is easily the most encouraging person in my life and in the lives of my former teammates. When I graduated from his program two years ago, I left with a newfound drive to succeed and push for excellence. He forever changed my life for the better, in addition to making me a fairly good runner!

  • anon

    I think that Coach Nat Carter deserves this award more than anyone else because of all the time and effort he has put into our school program. He’s always making sure the team has what it needs because the running sports aren’t widely supported at Union Pines. This prize money would be greatly appreciated, yes, but most of all Nat Carter deserves this award for all his hard work and commitment.

  • Mike Krose

    John Peebles was on my track team and on my cross country team. He was also a teacher in “my” math department when I was department Chair. As an athlete, he was a very hard worker who got the most out of his ability through his work ethic and his trust in the great coaches he was lucky to have. He has become such an amazing coach, himself, who inspires trust, and gets the most out of his kids…they will do anything for him. His sense of humor, and sense of fairness, to all ability levels, inspires his athletes. All you need is to work hard in the classroom, first, and then do your best in your sport, and you are on the team! John has also impressed me with the way he cares for his kids…and they feel it. He motivates and prepares his kids for the next level, and he takes many trips to support his former athletes in their college events. He has built programs that are strong, organized, and self-sustaining. From the others who have written about him, you have read many wonderful things. I would like to add the amazing “Mathtacular”…a standing-room-only math musical that he and his students present to any classes that can squeeze into his room(so popular, there have been occasional venue changes to the auditorium). His audience is treated to math songs, sung to holiday tunes, days before winter break. As math chair, he was my choice to take over the calculus program following the passing of one of his mentors. His pass rates are always among the tops in the school. Obviously, he is a skilled coach, teacher, colleague, communicator, and, frankly, an inspiring young man who I am so proud to know, and I feel he is EXACTLY the type of person Brooks is looking for to recognize with this award.

    • Thanks for sharing this, Mike. We think Coach Peebles is pretty spectacular, too!

  • Robert Hammell

    Coach Peebles is a great coach. He trains true student athletes. His priority is teaching life skills and as a result his athletes feel cared for and will do their best to win for a coach they know cares for them!

  • Samantha Davis

    I met Coach Carter the summer before my 8th grade year, but he wasn’t my coach until this year. This year I was a freshman at Union Pines High School, and coach carter was my coach for Cross Country and track. At first I was a little scared about how both seasons were going to go, but he quickly eased my mind and welcomed me onto our amazing team. Coach Carter has worked very hard with each of us to help us meet our personal and team goals. He is always pushing us to the limit and encouraging us to never give up. At first he some of the things he told me to achieve seemed impossible, but already since knowing him he had helped me to improve a great deal not just as a runner but as a person. He had helped me to overcome many obstacles, and he always finds a way to change things up and make our workouts fun, challenging, and new. Even when I had shin splints in the middle of cross country season he still let me come to meets to cheer on our team. By the end of xc season I improved by almost a minute and since then I have improved even more. It’s not just the times that he’s helped me get that makes him a good coach, it’s the emotional support that he gives. He’s not just my coach, he’s my friend. He had helped a group of strangers become a family and that is something that no coach in the past has ever done for me. I have never felt more encouraged by any coach before him. I know this is only my first year running on our team, but because of him I have a new love of running and a drive to get better, and for that I cannot thank him enough.

  • Robyn Anders

    Coach John Peebles is such an asset at John Burroughs High School. He demonstrates great character for our students in the classroom, on the track, and in the community. Coach John Peebles represents what is great about the Burbank community because he is loyal, dedicated, and entrenched in the values and traditions that have made Burbank such a great place to grow up. He is very deserving of the recognition Brooks is providing him.

  • Alex Arking

    Coach Jason Belinkie has been a huge inspiration to me and an excellent coach throughout my entire running career. I first joined the track team 4 years ago when I was in sixth grade. Immediately after my first practice, I remember feeling like I was part of the track family. Even though I most enjoyed sprinting and hurdling, I decided that I was going to try out for cross country the next season. Coach B had a huge influence in that decision and encouraged me to to keep at it, even though there were times when I did not feel like running so far and was close to giving it up. Once I entered high school, all of the running grew on me. Now, I love running and it has basically become my lifestyle. I would be nowhere close to where I am today in terms of how I live my life each and every day if it were not for Coach B who just kept me going. Coach B has always given me encouragement, support and made me feel good about myself and my running potential, and this is what has kept me pushing forward. Now that running has basically become my life, the one and only person who I can thank for this is Coach B. He has been a huge inspiration to me and a wonderful coach for the past 4 years I have had the privilege to work with him. There is no better person or coach who deserves this award more than Jason Belinkie.

  • Jimmy McHonrney

    I attended school with coach John Peebles. From the first time we met, I knew there was something special about him. Even back then, as a teenager, he was a natural at guiding others. He was always eager to help a fellow student who was having a hard time understanding what the teacher was explaining. That has clearly translated to the job of coaching. My daughter is now on his track team, and as I watch the way he interacts with her and all the athletes, I see the same friend I have know all along. Someone who was born to coach and teach. He instills core human values right along with the track and field related lessons he is coaching. All his athletes clearly admire and respect him. He is truly an amazing coach, mentor, and friend.

  • Zev Katz

    Jason Belinkie, or Coach B, is not only a running coach to me, but also a personal mentor. I look up to Coach B as highly as I look up to anyone, and as someone to always strive to be. I started running cross country in seventh grade, and although I sensed a talent for it, I skipped many workouts and did not put in the effort to increase my capabilities. Within two short years under Coach Belinkie’s tutelage, that small interest has turned into a passion, inspired more and more everyday by my teammates, all striving together for the same goal. None of this would have happened without Coach B. He seizes every opportunity to bring the team closer, and make us a family. This team is now incredibly close, and not just because of running. Everyone on the team are truly friends. What Coach B has done for this team thus far is simply incredible, and none of our accomplishments would have been possible without the leadership and influence of Jason Belinkie. He puts so much time and effort into making this team successful, and it shows. Only some years ago, our boys team was just a normal small private school team, not standing out whatsoever. Now, we have the best team we have ever had in the history of our school, have won back to back cross country league championships, and coming this fall, our cross country boys will be a force to be reckoned with in our county. If I said we could have accomplished this alone, I would be lying. It was Coach B who motivated everyone each and every season, it was he who convinced everyone to put in the work over the summer, so that we could be successful in the fall, and it was he who tried all that he could to get us into invitational meets that no one would think a small private Jewish day school would ever enter. Due to the efforts of Coach B, the running community of CESJDS has blossomed into a loving, passionate, close knit family that people are incredibly happy to be a part of. Additionally, Coach B’s success as a runner in high school is an inspiration in and of itself to the runners on this team. Recently, he was selected into his alma mater, Walt Whitman High School’s athletic hall of fame. That achievement speaks for itself. On a final note, I would like to include that I am also a competitive basketball player, and at first Coach B would rather that I quit, or at least spend less time on basketball, and focus on running. This was simply because he wanted what was best for me, and realized that running could take me far in life. However, he was open to discussing the topic, and he now fully approves, and encourages my playing basketball. Coach Jason Belinkie deserves this award more than anyone I can think of, and I truly hope receives it, and not just because of the Brooks gear!

  • Debbie Pardal

    Coach Carter should be sainted because he can perform miracles. He somehow convinced/encouraged my daughter to become a distance runner when she has spent her whole life resisting the sport. She approached him when she wanted to join the track team to run sprints but he would not settle for that. He knew she could be a distance runner too. If nothing else, she could benefit from the training. Of course, she resisted the first season, but when it came time for track events, he consistently put her on longer runs and showed her that she could do it. He built up her confidence and now she is not only successful in 400’s & 800’s, she prefers to run cross country! On another note, I know that he cares deeply for the kids and loves to see them rise to the challenge. He does go the extra mile and he does spend his own money to cover costs here and there. He is, by far, the most popular coach in our region. Everybody around here knows who Coach Carter is. One of the schools in the county named their gymnasium after him! Good luck Coach Carter- you deserve it!

  • Ryan Allsman

    Coach Peebles was my Cross Country and Track and Field coach for 4 years in high school, and had a huge impact on my life and work ethic. I was a middle of the pack level runner, and while I watched all the rest of the assistant coaches only care about the few runners on the team who could make it to state, coach Peebles not only cared about me, he deeply cared about the slowest kids on the team, and was invested in their improvement through the season and their years on the team. He was all about personal improvement and achievement, even if it didn’t bring glory or recognition to the team. This was incredibly inspiring to me because I knew from the start I would probably never make the Varsity team, and I probably would never be one of the top JV runners either. But I never was made to feel from Peebles that this fact made me a less valuable member of the team, or that I was wasting my time. He knew my speed level, and was constantly pushing me to improve based on what he knew I was capable of so far. Not only that, but I saw him constantly doing that with every member of the team, even the slowest members. This not only improved my race times, but also rooted integrity into my work ethic- I might be able to achieve the same amount as someone else with half the effort, but that would never be good enough. I have learned to tackle many tasks in life like I have coach Peebles behind me, pushing me because he knows that I could contribute more, even if I have already done more than someone else. From our days doing mile repeats in Johnny Carson park where Peebles would call anyone out who needed to “pick it up” on our 75+ member Cross Country team to our official training gear that had quotes about “competing against yourself” and “training like a champion”, coach Peebles created an environment of inspiration and encouragement across all skill levels which fostered integrity, respect, and loyalty amongst the whole team. Thank you, coach!

  • Steven Forestieri

    I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with Coach Jason Belinke for many years. Coach Belinke is a true leader when it comes to coaching and inspiring others. He leads by example, instills confidence in those he coaches, teaches life lessons through his practice, and creates a professional team environment coupled with a sense of community and belonging. He has consistently inspired his students, year after year, to do their best and be their best on a daily basis with all they do. He has shared his passion for running and what it can do to facilitate positive changes within individuals and communities. He promotes lifelong health, wellness, goal setting, contribution, and service to others for the betterment of all. His style of coaching is a natural extension of his personal character; Coach Belinke’s successes with his teams and student athletes over the years is a testament to his dedication, passion, and leadership abilities. He conducts his coaching responsibilities, and his life in general, with the highest level of integrity and I could not think of a more inspirational Coach to represent the Brooks brand with this honor as he will do so with the same level of unrivaled integrity.

  • Madison P

    Coach Carter is hands down the best coach. He not only is involved with track and field but also within his community. Coach Carter coaches athletes from other schools. He cares about helping athletes improve and succeed. Coach Carter inspires all track athletes to perform their best and be a good example of sportsmanship. Coach Carter has a legacy across the state of North Carolina. Whenever we travel to different meets, whether it’s cross country or track, everyone we come across knows who he is. Not only is that at meets, but in the community as well. My Sunday School teacher knew who Coach Carter was too! Just being able to say that Coach Carter is my track and cross country coach is inspiring because I want to uphold his legacy.

  • Jordan Lee

    Coach Carter is one of the biggest inspirations in my life. I started out in the spring season of my 9th grade year, hesitant to even play a sport, let alone run track. I went out to the first practice with friends, just to see what it was about, met Coach Carter, and I knew that day that it’s what I wanted to do for the next 4 years. Now, 2 seasons later, I’m faster and stronger than I’ve ever been thanks to Coach Carter. I couldn’t picture myself running for any other coach. He pushes us to do everything within our capabilities, to be the best that we can be, both physically, and mentally. Carter’s team isn’t a team, it is a family. Every person, even outside of the track team, the majority of Union Pines has seen and felt the impact Coach Carter has had on our school. I couldn’t have made it this far in the sport that I have come to love, without the help and support of Coach Carter. I’ve never met another coach, another person that could even begin to compare to him. I know as long as I live, however great my memory ends up being, when I reflect on my high school experience, I’ll always remember Coach Carter, the man with the orange hat, and the incredible influence he has had on me.

  • MrPip

    Coach John Peebles is Superman (sorry for blowing your cover coach) and would be an excellent choice for Brooks 2016 Inspiring Coach of the Year. Not only does John run an outstanding track and cross country program at John Burroughs High, which is no mean feat considering hundreds of kids are under his care. But, John also teaches Advanced Placement Calculus, performs in the annual variety show which is called Pop Show at JBHS. Furthermore, John along with his brother, have created a scholarship fund at JBHS which annually awards financial aid to hard working and deserving students. Coach Peebles is a fearless leader, who epitomizes the saying that “well done, is better than well said.” Here at JBHS students, as well as his fellow teachers, view Coach Peebles as proof positive that the hurdles of life can be overcome through hard work, perseverance, and intelligence. Of course, the aforementioned traits are the hallmarks of success in running as well as in life. Here at JBHS, Coach Peebles’ accomplishments, as well as the countless accomplishments he has inspired in his students and others, are too numerous to count. Thanks Superman…ehem, I mean Coach Peebles!

    • We’re excited to celebrate Superman… we mean Coach Peebles… next month and all the work he’s doing!

  • Jameson Ramos

    Coach John Peebles changed the way I motivate myself. When I first joined cross country, I could not keep up with the group. My first 2 days of practice I got lost because I was too slow. Coach Peebles told me that it was ok. He made sure I got to know the course next time and the next time I was able to finish it. Over the 3 years of my high school cross country and track career, I would increase my personal bests by minutes. What I learned from Coach Peebles is something that extends past cross country and track and sports in general. He taught me to push myself. The greatest obstacle you can overcome is yourself. No matter how fast or slow you are, if you consistently overcome your doubts and push yourself, you will become great at whatever you do, no matter how long it takes for you to get there. I follow this philosophy to this day and it keeps me motivated no matter how hard times can be.

  • Alejandro Rosas

    Coach Peebles was my Track & Field coach for 4 years and my Cross Country coach for 2 years. Unbeknownst to me at the time, he would make a lasting impact on my life. Above all else, he teaches his athletes the value of respecting others and work ethic. Those lessons are invaluable and the results aren’t always seen immediately, but over time, it all settles in. Whether you are an top tier runner bound for collegiate athletics or the slowest kid on the team, Coach Peebles preached the same thing to every one of his students: try your best because that’s all anyone can ever ask of you. I try to live by that standard and I can say it is thanks to him. Coach Peebles inspired me, and continues to inspire students every year.

  • Leigh

    We moved to Cameron, NC last summer. Being a military family, we have worked with many coaches in many places. Coach Nat Carter stands out among all the others. He went out of his way to help our daughter adjust to the move. He is always available to the help the athletes on his teams, their siblings, athletes from opposing teams, other coaches, and parents. On multiple occasions, I have watched runners and coaches from other teams stop him and ask for training advice. He gladly gives that advice to anyone who wants to improve. He is by far the best coach we have encountered in any sport. The knowledge and experience he has to offer to all Cross Country and Track and Field athletes is invaluable. It has been a blessing to have him coach our daughter this year and we look forward to future seasons with Coach Carter.

  • Chase Western

    Coach John Peebles was not only my coach for XC and Track & Field, but was older brother’s as well! I cannot thank him enough for the dedication shown to me during those truly memorable four years of my running career. Coaches Peebles not only instilled a love and passion for running, but for learning as well! Thank you, Coach Peebles!

  • Nicholas

    Coach Carter is the best coach. Everytime I see him he speaks to me and jokes with me. I enjoy his coaching. He wants us to do our best, but he still expects us to do good. I enjoy talking to Coach Carter. He is one of the reason why I am still running. I didn’t do spring track, but I did winter track. I haven’t stopped running and he is one of the reasons why. I know that he will be there to encourage me the whole way. Coach Carter your the best.

  • Tayla Salazar

    Coach Nat Carter has been there for me since I was 9 years old. He is such a good motivator and the best coach around. Yes he may be old fashioned but he always has your best interest at heart. I am a 5’3″, 17 year old and I would of never imagined myself every running hurdles. Coach carter started me in hurdles when I was 10 years old and since I love them and have excelled in them and I would of never done that without coach carters motivation. Coach carter is more than a coach he is a friend and a motivator. He is deffinitley deserves this award and I couldn’t be prouder of him.

  • Marc Conklin

    To put it simply, coach John Peebles was the best. I was fortunate enough to have John Peebles as a coach and teacher for the second half of my time in high school and only looking back now do I realize how much of an influence he had on me as a young man. As a calculus teacher he not only made math enjoyable with all his anecdotes and mannerisms, he created a classroom environment that promoted learning and socializing while at the same time motivating each student through friendly competition. On the field Peebles was a remarkable coach. He genuinely cares for each and every student who wants to be on the team regardless of what athleticism or personal background. With his level of discipline and expertise, I feel he can make just about anyone into a better athlete, a better student, and most importantly a better person. Personally has instilled a level of confidence, persistence, dedication, perseverance, courage, and compassion that I will cherish for the rest of my life. I will forever miss our team pep talks, bus rides to meets, weekly ultimate frisbee games. Did I mention he has a wicked long throw that still surprises me to this day. To wrap things up I will repeat myself in saying John Peebles is simply the best.

  • Zachary Beimford

    Coach John Peebles has probably impacted me the most out of all the athletic coaches I’ve had in my life. He was my head coach for all four years of high school, but I continued to stop by throughout the four years that I ran competitively in college. The greatest thing that I saw him do that no one else seemed to do was to focus on the character building of the student. He wasn’t focused as much on winning as he was giving people that deserved it a chance. If you worked hard and deserved to race, you would. If you didn’t put the work in, he probably wouldn’t let them compete. I gained a real appreciation for putting effort in for any situation because of him.

  • Alima Virtue

    Coach Peebles impressed me from the first time I met him. Smart, precise and consistent in his message to his team – structure and discipline are the keys to your success. Coach Peebles guides his team with his sense of humor and selfless dedication. Coach can be summed up with the word “cornerstone”. The definition states “an important quality or feature on which a particular thing depends or is based.” This is the personification of Coach Peebles.

  • Vivian

    Coach Peebles have always been there for me. I have the pleasure working with him as an assistant coach, he was the one that actually help me become a coach. Also I decided to go back to competive running and coach Peebles have encouraged me to keep reaching to my goals. He always put the kids first and encourages them to do there very best in running and in life. I still remember to this day when he would run with me 9 miles just to show us that he could do it. Coach Peebles has been the best coach I ever had, and I have had many coaches from high school to college. Thank you coach Peebles and I hope Brooks see how you are a great coach!

  • Kennedy

    Coach Carter, while not my coach, certainly takes me, and anyone else under his wing. From his orange hat, to his love of pasta dinner, to, of course, running Coach Carter never ceases to be the best coach. Coach Carter is always there, either riding his bike or cheering from the sidelines. I truly enjoy Coach Carter and his incredible ways!

  • Kylie

    Coach Carter is by far the best coach I’ve ever had! He is so understanding and I’ve never seen a coach do so much as he has. He is always there for the team and supports us. He is prepared at every meet for anything that could happen. I’ve only had him as a coach for two years but it didn’t take me long to see how much of a positive effect he has on the team. If you mentioned coach Carter’s name in the hallways, even the students who don’t have him as a coach automatically say how kind and awesome he is. I’m so lucky to have him as a coach.

  • Jef Moody

    Coach, Nate Carter Has literally Inspired thousands of Studend athletes in Moore county going back more than 50 years. A big heart and smile. I just call him “the Legend”. His coaching style starts with love for the runners and the sport. Word can’t say what he has ment to runners here.

  • Chelsea

    Coach carter is the bomb dot com

  • Gabby

    Nat Carter was my coach when I was about 7 years old, which is almost 10 years ago. I wanted to try hurdles when I first started running, but I could not jump over them. Every day he would remove the top of the hurdles and put tape across the bars at a lower level and gradually increase the height, until I was able to fully jump over them. This is just one example of how helpful and committed he is to helping his team reach their full potential. Even though he isn’t my coach now, and I sometimes run against his team, he always supports me.

  • Teri

    It’s pretty cool that Coach John Peebles has done a few marathons, his last being in San Francisco and his best experience being the Boston marathon. Also, pretty cool to watch Coach Peebles do the speed drills with the cones with his runners. Thank you Brooks for giving us a wonderful opportunity to recognize such an inspiring coach!

  • Justin Villagran

    Coach Peebles has done so much for the crosscountry and track in every aspect that he could. As a senior this year, I look back to the very first time I walked on to the team, unknown to the adventure that was going to begin. In the beginning I really wasn’t that good, but Peebles always made sure to keep pushing me to achieve my goals. I’ll always remember my first PR ever for 3 miles was 19:00 flat. The following year after having a decent track season, he gave me a talk that I have the potential to be good, I came back to after a long summer of training running a 3 mile in 16:00 minutes, then I got the opportunity to run with the varsity team at a CIF preliminary race. That year we missed moving onto finals by 1 point, but Peebs wasn’t upset because he knew we raced to our max, he simply told us after that day ” To keep our heads up and keep grinding it out”. We ended up surprising him that following season because as a team we won the CIF Southern Section Finals at MT SAC for the first time in our schools history, plus made it to State for the first time too. All I remember from that day was we were all crying tears of joy, Peebles gave us the workouts, the motivation talks, ice baths, team dinners, and everything else, and we put in the work. After that flying year, it was time for my senior year, most of the team mates from last year gratuated but Peebles told me to not give up on hope, and I’m glad to say I didn’t. We made to State again that year, which gave the new team members a taste of the CIF post season. Also that year is where I finally ran under the 15 minute barrier in the 3 mile. Coach Peebles basically gave me that drive to succeed through out the years, and it would mean a lot to me as a Senior who is graduating tomorrow, to know that he won. Peebles has provided so much for us and I believe he deserves so much recognition for what he has done to make our team succeed. Again thank you Coach Peebles for the most memorable four years of my life.

  • Lee

    Hi! I was wondering how you are choosing the winner this year since there is no voting?

    • Hi Lee! As with years past, a committee of Brooks employees will decide who from our amazing finalists is named the 2016 Inspiring Coach of the Year. It’s a hard task, but we’re excited to recognize all of the coaches’ and their tireless work.

      • Lee

        Great! I recommend Coach Nat Carter, he is amazing! Everyone knows him around here and he is very dedicated!

  • Sierra Gonzalez

    Coach carter has been a wonderful coach to all athletes not just track. He has taught me and many others so much in the past years that we have been with him. He is a very loving and caring man with a good heart. Hope to hear that he is the Brooks coach of the year:)

  • Ireneta Warlo

    Coach Stephen Barlow isn’t just coach he’s a inspiration, he’s able to make anyone a XC running. He’s not like other coaches who tell you okay y’all are doing things and then goes to sat. No no Barlow is there everyday on Mondays through Fridays. Even on Saturday and was there on his birthday. Barlow is there every morning running with us making sure that we’re not hurting, that our grades are perfect. He just didn’t care about us running and winning he’s care about us making friends, feeling comfortable, us being apart of a team , a family. Not in a million years I would have thought of running XC but Barlow was able to walk me though it and make sure I was comfortable. In my opinion that what a great father does he make sure his kids are not only okay but happy and are having fun and that what Barlow does everyday with zero complain.

  • Mia

    Coach Barlow, is honestly one of the best coaches I have had the pleasure of running for. When I first moved to Holmes High School I wasn’t motivated or as dedicated to cross country and track as I am now. He has given me the best running experience for only my second year of running. At my previous school, my coach was not as dedicated to the entire team as coach Barlow is with his huskies. Barlow inspired me to be more ambitious and taught me that I can and will achieve my goals. When I think of the future and how I’ll look back and appreciate everything he has done for not only me but my entire team, I’ll feel accomplished for my high school career at Holmes. He’s not only a great coach but an amazing person who is kind, patient, and funny. Running in high school is not about the winning (although it’s very fun), it’s about the memories and bonds you make with your teammates AND your coaches. I know that when I graduate next year I’ll be sad to leave such an amazing team and such an amazing coach. He’s the type of coach that is also your respected friend.

  • Edjin Machado

    Coach Barlow is by far the most dedicated coach I’ve had the pleasure to run for, every morning he waits for us to start our training.
    When it comes to times the workouts he makes us do are not an easy task to complete but he encourage us by doing them with us instead of just telling us what to do.
    Coach Barlow is the perfect example of a leader venturing himself with us during long runs and motivating the new athletes to stay up and never give up.
    And it doesn’t stop there since from his own pocket he surprises us with a breakfast for the whole team. I
    He has helped the school community by hosting a “run-a-thon” raising money for every mile he ran, also the husky 5k in which is a race open to the public for a small fee.
    In general t talk about coach Barlow is talking beyond the track and the field… He’s an all around good person who not only cares about your physical condition but also for your academic records and helps you stay out of trouble

  • Hunter Orozco

    Coach Barlow is one of the best coaches a XC athlete could ever ask for. He’s been such an amazing influence on my me. He’s helped me to grow both as a runner and in my overall level of confidence. I remember when I decided to try something new by joining a new team. I remember how nervous and excited I was at the same time. Showing up to practice the first day, I had so many mixed feelings and thoughts: “Am I going to succeed on this team?” and “Am I going to have fun?” I remember being slightly more relaxed, while still feeling significantly mixed emotions of excitement and uncertainty.

    Things started off well, which is the first thing I want to thank him for. I want to thank him for being someone I felt completely comfortable talking to about anything. I never considered myself a particularly talented athlete. I like to play various sports, and I was always involved in something. As a season went on, I would find myself getting bored or frustrated, and not feeling involved or enjoying myself. This, however, all changed when I joined his team, which brings me to the second of many things I want to thank him for.

    His passion and interest in every single one of us. Raising a team of hard workers and people who wanted to succeed. If not for him, the success we achieved together would not have been possible. Each and every day, we worked for each other, but more importantly, we all worked for him. His persistence in pushing us to our absolute limits, and his ability to make us feel good about the work we put in every day was absolutely crucial to the development of not only my athletic ability but also the athletic ability of every single person on his team. Together we grew, and together we fought. You taught us not only how to be excellent athletes, but also how to be better people and what it means to care about something with every ounce of our being.

    He taught us to believe in ourselves and to believe that we could do the unimaginable. With your coaching, we all improved so much quicker and more significantly than we ever believed possible. I will never forget that and will continue to use the hard work morals you taught me in every aspect of my life. Because of him, I not only enjoy pushing myself but I enjoy pushing those around me to the best of all our abilities. He is an inspiration and a role model that I will never forget in my lifetime. Although I know there are millions of things I could thank him for, and I know a thank you will never suffice for all that he has done for me, I will leave it at this:

    He not only changed my outlook on my running abilities, he changed my outlook on how to lead my life. For that, I thank him and will never forget to think of him when I achieve something that I previously thought was too far out of reach.

    He has given me the tools to succeed, and for that, I am forever grateful.

  • Decontee W

    Coah Barlow has one of the best coaches i’ve ever seen in my 16 years of living he not only care for his runner on the track but also care off the track when we have anyone problems coach barlow is the guy to see he can slove any problems better then superman i came into track being an out of shape person coach barlow inspired me to keep going even when the workouts are hard hearing coach yelling at me makes me keep going.

  • Phill

    Stephen Barlow is an amazing coach who puts one hundred and ten percent into the kids he’s training. He dose not care if you’re fast or slow. You’re an equal. He strives to see someone perform at their absolute best and is satisfied with that.
    He doesn’t just teach us running; he teaches us morals, responsibility, and dedication.
    Without his dedication, more than half of the team would not be here right now. He sacrifices time out of his life to better our high school experience in Cross Country and Track. From being at school from sun up, to sun down on week days, Saturday long runs, and even summer runs. He is the person that will always show up and expects you to be there.
    He has an extremely goofy personality that is out of this world. He is always laughing, making fun of someone, or just making his Australian jokes. He is definitely the best coach I’ve gotten to know and probably will ever know in my lifetime. He has made such an impact on my life and I couldn’t see myself in any other sport if it wasn’t for him. I am very grateful and pleased to say I have the best coach out there.

  • Marissa Farias

    Coach Barlow has done so much for me as an athlete and as a person he had helped me to grow and improve as a person and a runner. I really appreciate all he has done for me and I know I will never forget him and what he has done for me. He supports us as a team through everything. He has given our team his all. If anyone needs a ride to or from practice he will give it to them, he is so inspirational and he gives everyone so much more motivation to run than any other coach I have had. He is so dedicated to our team we have practice on Saturdays even and he makes the best workouts for us to improve and get better. He inspires me to want to do good in school and to go to college even if not for running. He taught me how to believe in myself and always pace myself he has been through everything with the team and continues to give us his all. When I first joined I wasn’t fast at all and now I have improved thanks to coach Barlow.

  • Jennifer

    Coach Barlow from OW Holmes HS has proven to be an inspirational coach. Not only does he help with Cross Country but he is part of every sport on campus. As a teacher here on campus you notice the teachers/coaches who genuinely care, who else will run with his children at 6:30 am and MAKE then a nutritional breakfast right afterwards. He also attends 95% of all activities on campus. He spends his life trying to help the kids be better athletes, students, and above all better humans in society.
    Barlow is a staple on our campus. His program has flourished for years and it is all because of his hard work and dedication. The kids love him, the teachers and administration love him. He is one of the most inspiring teachers and coaches to have known!!!

  • Veronica R. Vargas

    Coach Barlow
    made an incredible impact in my life that has led me to the success I’ve
    experienced up to now. I attended a magnet school in San Antonio, Business
    Careers High School, so I had to travel across town just to go to school.
    I loved running and had given up on the idea of playing sports in high school
    since I had to ride the school bus. During my P.E. class freshman year we
    had to run the 400 and I darted off. As soon as coach saw
    me finish he came over and asked, “Are you a runner?” I said of
    course, he then asked “why aren’t you in track?” I had to tell him
    because I ride the school bus and can’t stay after school for
    practice. He said “If I can guarantee you that you won’t miss your bus,
    will you change your schedule and move to the athletic period so you can join
    the track team?” Without hesitation I said yes. That was a very
    pivotal point in my life. Coach asked not too long after what I wanted out of
    running and I said I would love to run in college, be a college athlete. He said ok that’s what we’ll work on. Needless to say with his support and
    dedication to both our cross country and track teams I was able to get a full
    academic/athletic scholarship. Not only
    were we cross country district champs, regional and state qualifiers in high
    school but his leadership provided me with the discipline I needed in college
    to be part of a team that became NAIA Conference Champs, Regional Champs and ultimately
    National qualifiers 2 out of the 4 years of my collegiate career. When I trace back the moments in my life and
    think of the different paths I could’ve taken I wouldn’t be where I’m at now
    without coach caring enough to step up and say something to me, providing me with
    the support and direction all through high school and even into college and ultimately
    taken the initiative to ask me one simple question, Are you a runner?
    Veronica Vargas, BCHS/OWHHS Class of 2000

  • Marissa Gonzalez

    I had 4 amazing coaches throughout high school, and it’s awesome to see one of them as a finalist for the 2016 Inspiring Coach of the Year! Coach Castonon is a fantastic coach. He’s one of those coaches that you look up to and think “I want to be just like that!” He would always push us to do our best at everything- in a race, at practice, in the weight room, and even in class. He would even practice WITH us! Running along side of us giving positive encouragement and letting us know that he believed in us. He knew exactly what words to say when we needed advice. He treated me and my teammates like we were his own children, and he didn’t play favorites. He was always there cheering us on at the starting line, during the race along the sidelines, and at the finish line. And when we felt we did not-so-good, he still congratulated us and told us how we can improve for next meet and to always do our best. Even after graduation he continued to keep in touch to make sure we didn’t get off course with school or daily exercise. Coaches are second parents who are there to inspire and encourage their athletes in all ways possible, to reach goals and make more. Coach C is definitely someone like that, truly one in a million. I consider myself lucky to have had him as my coach.

  • Skye Knight

    I am a senior this year. I’ve had the amazing privilege to run for THE Coach Barlow since my freshman year in high school. Because of him I found my love for the sport of running and I am getting the opportunity to run XC and Track at the collegiate level. Coach Barlow is unlike any person I’ve ever known. His love for running is off the charts but his genuine love for the students on him team is indescribable. I’ve spent 4 crazy years with this man, and I’ve seen him angry with me about some decisions I’ve made and he could have been like any adult and yell at me and be done with me. No, he genuinely cares about my well being,he was even there for me when I was having trouble at home. He took my aside and I was able to talk to him about what was going on. (Trust me if you know him, you know he’s not the gooey type) I had never seen that side of him before. And I’ve also seen him when his smile was so big his false teeth almost came out.

    Although it is my last year with him I know that I can always go to him for anything. I love Coach Barlow with all my heart and I really hope that he wins this contest because he always does everything for us and I would love to see him get rewarded for THE BEST COACH I COULD EVER ASK FOR!

  • Rachel

    Although I have only known Coach Barlow for a short time, I can honestly say that he has had an impact in my life and I see the impact he has on his students. Every day on my drive into school, I see Coach running with his students. It’s encouraging to see a Coach who fully participates in his sport. He has built a great program on the campus, but he is not only a running coach. He performs so many different functions on campus and is always looking for ways to inspire and help the students. He is a valuable part of the Holmes community and is great mentor to all the students on campus!

  • Nayelly Gonzalez

    Coach Stephen Barlow has helped me a lot in the two years I’ve been at Holmes. He’s helped with not only running but he has helped me with real life struggles. coach always tells us that he sees us as his daughters and to have that type of relationship with your coach is nice because not all coaches care about you all they care about is to win but coach Barlow is nothing like that, he puts his student athletes first before anything.
    One time I had to help him during a track meet and the whole time I was helping, he was yelling and running with his athletes back and forth on the field cheering for them as they ran their events, he would never miss his athletes races or events he made sure that he was there with them before and after races giving them the support they needed.
    As much as we count on him for anything he also comes to us and like I said the bond we have with coach Barlow is nothing you will ever see with anyone else.
    He’s the person I look up to and who I go to for help and that will never change. I am forever thankful for everything he does for us. COACH BARLOW YOU ARE THE BEST COACH I EVER HAD!!!

  • Anabel Korrodi

    Coach Barlow deserves this award. I was fortunate enough to have him as a coach for the past 3 years and he has made me a better athlete and pushes me even when I don’t believe in myself. With the entire team, he continues to care for every one of his athletes. His passion and dedication shown through his coaching is one of a kind and hard to find. He organized so many events to help people achieve their goals. If an athlete needs help, he is always willing to lend a helping hand. He gave everyone his attention and made a point to hold everyone accountable because he wanted them to perform to the best of their abilities even if that meant their best wasn’t that fast. Many of the slower athletes that weren’t runners initially came into the program and were coached into some of the best athletes I’ve seen. Without him, I wouldn’t have even tried to run or surpass my limits. He also cares about his athletes condition and does everything he can to prevent injuries and make sure they get enough rest and not over train. Overall, he has helped me see my potential and has made me a better leader. The program at Holmes High School wouldn’t be the same without him and I’m grateful enough to have him in my life. Several of his athletes still come back in the summer to train with him and this shows how much of an impact he’s had on their lives. He also supports other sports which shows how much spirit and school pride he has. I’ve seen him at soccer games, football games, baseball games, you name it. Everyone knows that if they need something they can go to coach Barlow and he will give an honest answer whether it’s about their technique or dealing with family problems or figuring out decisions dealing with their future. He is without a doubt the best Coach.

  • Tiffany

    I’ve been blessed to learn from Coach Steve Barlow. He sets such a great example of what it looks like to work hard and truly sacrifices so much to be the dedicated coach that he is. I’ve seen him inspire many athletes and help them grow to reach their potential. He sets the bar high and lifts his athletes to another level in doing so. I enjoy watching him coach–seeing the passion he exudes and motivates with is incredible. Steve Barlow couldn’t be more deserving of such an honor as Coach of the year.

  • Lee

    I personally believe that Coach Nat Carter deserves this award more than anyone. He is the most dedicated and kind person I have ever met. Every single cross country practice he would have water bottles for those who forgot theirs, on hot days he would have Popsicles, and before meets he organized pasta dinners. I’ve never seen him mad or unhappy and he always works with what he has. Instead of cones we have bottles full of sand. Our batons are made from PVC pipe or plastic water bottles. The track team doesn’t have matching uniforms. While the money for our team would be helpful in so many ways, I believe that Coach Carter deserves this recognition. He goes through the time and effort to make everything right for our team even though we don’t have great resources. We wouldn’t be the team we are without him, and he is one of the best candidates for the Inspiring Coaches Award.

  • Ralph Seta

    Inspiration and perspiration are two things Coach John Peebles instilled into my three daughters when they attended John Burroughs High School. Coach John Peebles taught them that success comes with effort and sweat. His encouragement was always evident at practices and competitions. He knew all of the students by name and he knew all of their accomplishments. At the Track and Field banquets he would recite not only one or two milestones his students achieved during the year but, from memory, also their times or personal bests. His devotion to teaching and coaching means he spends a lot of time at the school grounds. He is always the first one at the track to setup an event and the last one to leave after the meet. His talents include teaching AP Calculus by day and, once a year, performing with the nationally award-winning show choir where his lyrics echo student life at the campus. His positive impact on students resonates long after they leave high school. His teaching and coaching efforts make him the best choice for the Brooks 2016 Inspiring Coach of the year!

  • Chyann Sargent

    Coach Hopey Newkirk is more than our team could ever ask for. She not only teaches us how to give it our all in running, but in everyday life. Her positivity radiates throughout the whole team, there’s nothing we can’t do when she’s with us. I’m very grateful to have her in my life, as a coach, mentor, and family member. Not to mention, she ran Boston again this year! There’s no stopping coach Hopey!!!

  • Thomas Forrest

    Wow!!! Hopey Newkirk!!! There is nothing I can write in this blog to express what she means to our family. I have two kids that has had the privilege to run for Hopey and it has changed their lives. Even as a parent just seeing how she inspires people touches you. My daughter was lost when she met Hopey. She had no clue what she wanted to do. She had previously tried out for several sports and just couldn’t find what she was looking for. She was feeling depressed and lost. Then she met Coach Hopey Newkirk and her life changed forever. She showed up to her first Cross Country in blue jeans and flip flops and I didn’t think she was going to make it. But that’s what makes Hopey so great, she made her believe she could do it. Now after 6 years of running for Hopey, she has not only become a great runner but an even better person. She went from being this lost little girl to signing to continue her running career at the collegiate level next year.
    Now my son is a different story, he was just a all around athlete. He began by playing any and every sport he could. He started running Cross Country for Hopey in the 4th grade. Hopey doesn’t only coach the High School kids but also the Middle School and Elementary kids. We are all one big family. He could’ve been a starter in any sport but developed a love for running and Hopey. And by the 7th grade he had given everything up except Cross Country and Track. Now finishing his Freshman year his love for running is not measurable.
    But it’s not just the love for running that she puts into these kids, but the love for people and human kind. She has the kids volunteering help the community and always encouraging them to do things to not just better themselves but also others. As I watch her coach and mentor all these young men and women, to see the impact she has on them and our whole communi. I can’t help but wish I could have only half the impact on people that she has. This is only a few examples of countless people she has touched. And I know that her presence in my kids life will be with them forever. Thank You Hopey Newkirk…

    • We were already impressed with Hopey, and this reaffirms why we chose her as a finalist for the Inspiring Coach of the Year Award! Thanks, Thomas.

  • Jaclyn R.

    Coach Barlow has been my XC and track coach for 3 years now, he trains with us every morning Monday-Friday weather it’s a workout or a long run and pushes us past our limits knowing that it’ll help us in our future. He believes in us to succeed in everything we do, and offers us help to get us to that point. Coach Barlow has also offered us many opportunities to race at several meets such as “Carl Lewis indoor, Nike NXN, and Texas Relays” and as a team we are thankful for him for giving us his time to take us to these meets to help us improve. He has also taught us morals such as giving back to the community we live in by setting up several fundraisers such as our “Husky Run A Thon”, and our most popular “CIS run” to fundraise money for students in need at our school. But not only has he been an amazing coach, he’s also become a father figure to many kids in the team including myself. Barlow would provide shoes out of pocket for runners who were unable to buy running shoes out of the kindness of his heart, and has given us support and confidence when times were tough at home. Even during meets he cheers for us when parents are unable to come, and tells us how proud he is to watch us come along way from the beginning of the season to the end. I honestly can’t see myself becoming the runner and person I am today if it wasn’t for coach Barlow believing in me, pushing me past my limits, and having confidence for me to succeed.

  • Noah

    Coach Barlow is an amazing person. He has the perfect balance of anger, jokes and seriousness. Barlow has been one of the most influential figure in my life, seeing him more than 330 days(just estimating. Not including the double runs). This guy is crazy at times, maybe most of the time.. Barlow has no discrimination with runners, he sets the expectation on every single person: do your best at running and make good grades. To him it doesn’t matter about your speed and what you place; but you better be giving it your all because you will get put on the spot if you didn’t. He had made running more than a sport, it’s a life lesson. He has taught all the runners you need: goals, discipline, and determination to get where you want to be. This man is a great example and sacrifices so much for the team. Throughout all the meets and just extra team bonding things he sacrifices his own time and maybe even money. If someone doesn’t have the funds to get new shoes, he will take care of it. Barlow runs the same mileage we run and he almost a hundred years old! Over all I know I wouldn’t have the same motivation to wake up and accomplish goals I’ve set, I know I wouldn’t be the same person or have the same friends. Running has made me a different person. If you’re reading this Barlow thank you for everything you do. It means so much..

  • Damallie

    I am on a running scholarship at a D1 college all thanks to
    the best coach alive; Barlow. I didn’t know what cross country was going into
    high school and I still remember the day he walked into the gym recruiting my
    friend and I to join the team. Well I kind of didn’t have a choice, he just
    said, “Come tomorrow at 6:45 for practice.” I thought he was nuts but
    I still went to practice. And it was the best decision I ever made in my life.
    The first year was rocky but he can make a runner out of anyone. Being so young
    and naïve, I wasn’t as dedicated as I should have been and Barlow still saw so
    much potential in me telling me that this could be a great opportunity to run
    in college. My parents weren’t always available to take me to practice and he
    did not hesitate to bring me to practice either. No matter what he found a way
    to help me in being the best runner I can be. We didn’t always have the fastest
    runners but we sure did have a group of athletes at practice every early
    morning ready to get better. The individual improvement was what counted most
    to Barlow, so it drew more kids in. Coach Barlow includes everyone, making the
    slowest runner feel just as equally important as the fastest. We didn’t just
    run to compete, but we ran with a purpose. He is a genuine man changing lives for the
    better through coaching. Even if it’s just my life he changed in a positive manor,
    he truly inspired me to continue being a runner after high school. I run with
    so much purpose now. And it’s mostly to make him proud of the runner he created
    out of me.

  • Bo

    Webster defines coach as : a person who teaches and trains an athlete or performer.

    This definition does not give justice to what Coach Steve Barlow has done and continues to do for his athletes, or should I say family.

    As a freshman, new to the public school system, I was oblivious to the sports of cross country and track. My focus was to become the next Rebecca Lobo. Little did I know, my destiny would be changed from running one fence line and an Aussie accent. When coach first approached me and asked if I was interested in running, my first response was “Will it help me make the basketball team? And will it interfere with my basketball dreams?” Once he assured me it would not he immediately took me under his wing and the rest is history!

    Although I never became a basketball phenom, Coach Barlow guided me in uncovering a love and talent for a sport I knew nothing about. I accredit much of my successes to this GREAT MAN!

    To speak of all of the things that Coach Barlow did for me would be impossible, there is not enough allotted space for that much gratitude. So I will try and keep it simple and redefine the word Webster defines so lightly .

    Coach (Steve Barlow) Noun. : a person whom exemplifies and pushes all to greatness. One who believes , cares, and motivates unselfishly. A leader who puts all above himself for the pure greatness of each individual . A motivator who repeatedly gives of himself for the good of society. One whom makes dreams a reality.

    Thank you coach, you are truly my HERO!

  • Tori Soto

    Coach Barlow has been a well known coach on campus for longer than I’ve been here! I Absolutely loved when he ran for a cause. He ran lots of miles and donated money for every mile he ran. The kids love his humor and his awesome Australian accent is a bonus.

  • Christen F

    Next year, coach carter is going to be my coach. I have ran track with him once and he totally changed my mindset on running. From thinking of running as just a sport, he has made it seem so much more to me. Thank you for everything and I’m so excited to run with him next year.

  • Andrea Jaquez

    For Coach Barlow, there are endless reasons to why he’s such a great coach. One of the biggest reasons for me is because he’s never given up hope on me, I’ve had times where I just didn’t want to run anymore, I came to practice late and I would run on the grass and slack off but Barlow won’t put up with it. Instead, he suggested ways to help me keep getting better, and he runs with us helping me at pacing myself. He really wants the best for us and he has so much faith in us all. Not to mention the fact that he is a runner as well and he understands us but he knows that we can do it. He puts so much time and effort into us getting here early in the morning, waiting for the late kids, every once in a while he’ll make us pancakes as well, and the biggest of all, he takes us camping to Colorado for two weeks to go train for cross season. He really and truly cares about us, especially when we get hurt, he’s always checking up on us and I really don’t think you can get much better than that. Honestly, Barlow has made me realize that I don’t want to just blow off running in my highschool years and has made me realize how much I love running and that I want to run for hopefully the rest of my life. And last of all, hes a funny coach he has fun with all the kids and he can really have a good conversation with anyone, even though I’m not much of talkative person, it makes me happy seeing that he really interacts with us because I know a lot of coaches aren’t like that with all of their kids.

  • John Hannah

    Coach Belinkie was a powerful influence in our daughter’s life. Inspiring. Motivational. Competitive. Deeply caring, sensitive and decent. He manages to be an extraordinary human being and an incredibly successful coach all at once. He’s built a running powerhouse from scratch at a small Jewish day school that doesn’t even have a track. More importantly, the young people whose lives he’s touched invariably come away from their time with him as better human beings who are a great credit to their communities. This is the mentor and coach that every parent yearns for their child — boy or girl, it doesn’t matter — to have. It’s truly hard for me to imagine a coach who’s given more to the young lives that he’s served, or is more deserving of this kind of recognition and honor.

  • Sharai Barrera

    I can’t explain in words how much coach peebles has done for me and all of his other athletes. Even though it’s only my first year on his team I can’t imagine what more hell do in the future. He not only teaches us about running but also life lessons and morals which applies to our everyday lives and running.I remember when I first started track and I was not able to go over a hurdle because I was to scared and coach peebles went over and helped conquer my fear.He stood there for so long and just keep pushing me to do it without giving up until finally I got over it. From that moment on he inspires me to do better and be a better person and I honestly think he deserves this and much more!

  • Yvonne

    Coach Nat Carter is most certainly deserving of this award for his coaching and mentoring of athletes in the past, present, and in the future. It is a rare individual that is responsible for a love of running and track-regardless of their ability. Coach Carter takes anyone that can lace up their shoes and turns them into runners. And if you are already a runner-he can take you and make you stronger and faster. More importantly, he creates a life-long runner, an athlete, and memories that will carry them through life. Anyone who knows him will remember his infectious smile, encouraging words, and his trademark orange hat.

  • Daniel

    Coach Peebles has truly changed the way I go about my daily life. Always thinking of the simple things, to just do things right. “Always leave a place cleaner than when you got there” is what he says to us when we leave meets. He doesn’t care whether or not your the best runner, he cares whether or not if you’re a good person.

  • Jeron

    Coach Peebles is an amazing coach at John Burroughs. He is not only an inspiration to all track and cross country athletes to succeed, but he is also preparing us for our life outside of high school. He is constantly teaching us to be responsible and to believe in ourselves and is never failing to make sure we support and believe in each other. One of his main goals every season is for every athlete to meet each other. Not just to help us make friends and respect each other, but to also make sure that when we are competing we have our own team mates cheering us on and encouraging us with our actual names, not just the name of our school. Coach Peebles deserves this award because he always succeeds in helping every single athlete improve and reach their goals. Coach Peebles will believe in you, even if you don’t believe in yourself.

  • sap_phire

    I’m not going to make an elaborate over done essay about my coach because that is not what Coach Peebles is all about. He takes a group of kids, random, unorganized and rag tag pack of students who have nothing in common and basically transforms us from the day we come in to his care. Many of us, including myself, don’t have any intention of meeting the people on the team (especially on the first day of practice). Not because of irrational fears of meeting people…its just that I’m not great at meeting people. But too bad Coach Peebles didn’t take that into consideration-_- he went ahead and rounded us up and made it our job to know every person on our team, introduce ourselves over and over, and make our teammates feel invited to the team.I admit, I was and still am quite horrible at it, and with like seventy people on the team the names were endless. I was new to the school when i first met Coach Peebles and i was not enthusiastic about this at all but looking back, I dont regret it. Because of Coach Peebles, I didnt just make friends, i got a family. XC wouldnt have been the same way if i refused to accept everyone on the team. Whether they were sophfrosh guys or varsity girls they all became apart of this weird group of people that i could relate with and it was meaningful. And no one was left behind. It sounds cheesy and weird but XC was a family of people who supported me and I could laugh and make have fun because everyone was just friends with every one. I expected nothing from the first day I walked in to summer conditioning freshman year and I ended up receiving so much everything from this environment Coach Peebles made for us. He inspired me to run and work hard when am in fact the type of person who would sleep in half the day and play videogames the rest of it… so it; was a big change for me 😀 The point is, he gave me a family, opportunities and several of his famous life lessons which the entire team can account for. So im just saying thank you i guess. he deserves it. i dont know any of these other coaches here but i didnt need them to feel encouraged anyways, Peebles is the only one who got me to race faster and work harder and I’m happy. Thanks Peebs

  • Emily Virtue

    Coach Peebles truly deserves this title. The thing that separates him from other coaches is that he doesn’t just transform students into great runners. He makes sure that each and every one of us becomes a great person as well. He ensures that we all obtain values that will help us throughout our entire lives and that way, his legacy will live on in each of our lives. Personally, coach Peebles has helped me accomplish many things in sports such as qualifying for the CA state meet and participating in Footlocker Nationals. I know without his help I wouldn’t have been able to achieve my goals.

  • Peter Lainson

    Coach Peebles is the most inspiring coach you will ever meet. He has dedicated his life to his two passions, teaching and coaching, and I look forward to being his student some day as I just finished my freshman year. One day, The Peebs said to us, “Difficult things in life are just many little simple things put together. If you do the little simple things, things are no longer difficult.” That statement of his has helped me through many tough situations. His philosophies have guided many people to success in XC/Track and in the classroom. Not a day goes by that Coach Peebles does not blow my mind about how he looks at life. Another thing, Peebles cares about every single person on the XC/Track team like they are his own kids. He encourages us to do our best every day at practice, at meets, and at life. Thanks for everything Coach Peebles.

  • Lisa

    As a fellow coach in Coach Jason Belinkie’s community, I can say without reservation that he embodies all of the characteristics that the Inspiring Coach of the Year Award recognizes. I am continuously inspired by Coach B’s tireless and selfless dedication to his young athletes, not only as runners, but as teammates, friends, and productive, compassionate members of society. He has grown the JDS track and cross country teams to sizes never seen before, which is a testament to the draw of the community he has created even to students who never thought of themselves as runners. I have seen firsthand how he has literally changed lives, which is what we all strive to do as coaches. As a testament to the impact that Coach B has had in the Greater Washington, DC community, he will be a recipient of the JCC of Greater Washington’s Maccabi Legacy Award later this year, which recognizes his outstanding contribution of the advancement of youth sports. I can think of no better recipient of the Brooks Inspiring Coach of the Year Award than Jason Belinkie.

  • Will

    My name is Will Sexter and I’m a 6th grader at CESJDS. This was my first season running on the JDS cross country team and I had Coach Jason Belinkie as my coach. I had started running because may aunts were coached by him when they were younger. My parents wanted me to try running but I didn’t think I would like it. Coach B made running so much fun and I have gotten so much better at it. He taught me a lot of techniques to use during running and I am really grateful to him. Thank you Coach B!

  • Susy Altmann

    Don’t know about the other twelve finalists, but Coach B ( Jason Belinkie ), he is just UNREAL! It is like an angel with the wisdom of a Zen master descends from the skies into the track court or wood trails, right after school ends, in the form of an athletic young man who knows how to talk and relate to the Millennial teenagers. I am a mother of two adolescent girls and a boy, with different athletic abilities and super different personalities, they all ran either or both, cross country and track and field and were coached by Coach B and his team. I can attest all three of them experienced in the ‘field’ incredibly more than whats school academic curriculum can teach: resilience, personal and athletic growth, team work, encouragement to team mates, challenging oneself to the next level each minute, each day and of course, each run!:) His impact on our kids goes literally way beyond spent running shoes each season…he is modeling them to be incredible adult human beings… Way to go Coach B!

  • Kate Sugarman

    We always felt fortunate that Coach B coached all 3 of my sons.He has truly gone above and beyond when he extended his coaching, kindness and generosity to Genet who literally ran for her life from Ethiopia, fleeing torture and seeking asylum in the US.He has been instrumental in giving her a new lease on life.

  • Allen Diewald

    Coach Belinkie’s has been my son’s cross country and track coach during the past 3 years . His best attribute is his even treatment of all of the athletes. He as inspired so many young people of all different levels to consistently improve their times. He ran several track meets for the school League this year and showed extreme patience and professionalism. We feel so fortunate to have him as the JDS track coach.

  • Jacob

    Coach Peebles has made a huge impact on my life. When i came to Burroughs I only joined cross country to train for track. Instead I wound up be pretty good at it. Coach is the reason where I am today. I’m a sophomore on varsity who made it to cif for cross country and track. Without him I wouldn’t have made it there. He made these two sports more than just about running. Coach Peebles works relentless hours for the team and is the biggest supporter. He wants everyone to be the best person they can be and for us to be happy.

  • Maya Santos (OhMayaGod)

    Coach John Peebles has truly impacted my life in the short amount of time I have had the pleasure to be with him. it was my first year running and he welcomed me to his team with open arms. I was super nervous but he helped ease the nerves with coming aboard a new team. he has truly taught me life lessons as it’s all about the simple things and the powers of observation or POO. there is no other coach at our school like him. no one is as dedicated and caring and considerate as coach Peebles. he truly is the best coach out there and I’m a lucky runner of his to get the chance to run for him.

  • Angela Perez

    Coach John Peebles fosters a community of runners. Each year Coach Peebles and the Coach from Burbank High School work together to put on several All-Commers Meets at John Burroughs High School. The Burbank and neighboring communities are invited to come out to run and race. Runners as young as 4 years old to more experienced runners show up to run, race, and have fun.

    Burbank Relays and Burbank Backwards Meets are also held that invites many LA schools to come out and compete at John Burroughs High School.

    This gives everyone the wonderful opportunity to meet and run with new people from all different walks of life.

    When Coach Peebles started coaching cross country numbers were below 20. Now as Head Coach he has hundreds of runners in cross country and track & field. He has recruited and inspired 8 fabulous track & field and cross country assistant coaches.

    Coach John Peebles true dedication in inspiring his athletes to chase their running and life dreams with tenacity and passion makes him the best choice for the Brooks 2016 Inspiring Coach of the Year!!!!

    Thank you Brooks for giving us this wonderful opportunity to acknowledge all 13 of these amazing coaches. They are such an inspiration to all!

  • Angela Perez

    Coach John Peebles fosters a community of runners. Each year Coach Peebles and the Coach from Burbank High School work together to put on several All-Comers Meets at John Burroughs High School. The Burbank and neighboring communities are invited to come out to run and race. Runners as young as 4 years old to more experienced runners show up to run, race, and have fun.

    Burbank Relays and Burbank Backwards Meets are also held that invites many LA schools to come out run and compete at John Burroughs High School.

    This gives everyone the wonderful opportunity to meet new people from all different walks of life.

    When Coach Peebles started coaching cross country numbers were below 20. Now as Head Coach he has hundreds of runners in cross country and track & field. He has recruited and inspired 8 fabulous track & field and cross country assistant coaches.

    Coach John Peebles true dedication in inspiring his athletes to chase their running and life dreams with tenacity and passion makes him the best choice for the Brooks 2016 Inspiring Coach of the Year!!!!

    Thank you Brooks for giving us this wonderful opportunity to acknowledge all 13 of these amazing coaches. They are such an inspiration to all!

  • Angela

    Comments

  • David DeLong

    Coach Peebles was one of my former athletes and now my teams have had to compete against his. He has evolved into a fabulous coach that always has his team prepared when it counts. A truly great guy and teacher/Coach.
    Coach Dave DeLong

    • Hey coach! We think he’s great, too! Thanks for stopping by sharing your thoughts on Coach Peebles.

  • Lisah Bernstein

    Besides being an outstanding coach for my daughter, Coach Jason Belinkie – “Coach B” has been an amazing source of support and encouragement. This is my daughter’s first time running and we immediately felt welcome, part of the team and more importantly, as someone commented, part of the community. His never ending energy and commitment never ceased to amaze me. Coach B gave my daughter confidence, motivation and support when she was unsure, injured and everyday. We are so grateful to have joined our school’s track and field team and community. The experience has opened so many doors and spawned a new journey for my daughter.

  • Reuben

    Coach Jason Belinkie (Coach B) has made a huge impact on my life and many others. Ever since I began running five years ago, Coach B has taught and motivated me more than anyone else. He has inspired me to be just like him and to work as hard as I can in everything I do. He is always there for me, during workouts or any time I need help. He is a major inspiration not only as a coach but also as a community leader. His dedication to bettering the community, to those in need and everyone in it, is amazing. For example, he is constantly organizing charity races, offering free community training sessions, getting others involved in community services, and reaching out across the globe to help those in need. I am so thankful to have him as my coach; there is no one in the world who deserves this award more than Coach B!

    Attached is an amazing video that we did for this track and field season:

    It is incredible in our relatively small school without a track how Coach B consistently increases the size of our running team each season and has molded this awesome family! We are 80 runners strong (grades 6 – 11) and all the better for it! Thank you!

  • Diane

    I am writing to strongly endorse Coach Jason Belinkie for the Brooks inspiring coaches award. Jason Belinkie is an extraordinary coach. As a parent, I cannot think of a person I would rather have influencing my child. He is caring, inclusive, intelligent, humble, technically very knowledgeable about his coaching craft, and he is great at creating a team community of which it is fun, even for parents to be a part. He has been a great coach to our daughter both when she was on his team and even when she went away to another school’s team and had to deal with an injury and adjusting to a new team with totally different training, goals, and outcomes. Jason spent many hours on the phone with my family through the years encouraging our daughter and we are all very grateful for his friendship.

  • Stefanie Enokian

    Coach Peebles is a true inspiration to all students at JBHS and to all teachers in the district. His willingness to go above and beyond is incredible. In addition to coaching and teaching, every year he writes and performs a song with the choir at their Pop Show. Everyone is always looking forward to what is he going to perform next. He’s an encourager, supporter, and one who doesn’t give up on anyone but instead helps them see their true potential. We are so lucky to have Coach Peebles in our district to mold the mind of our future and to teach them about becoming incredible athletes.

  • Alexander Hirsch

    As the head coach for both the Burroughs track and cross country team, he has made team work a top priority for our team. For Coach Peebles, this starts with emphasis on the simple things, such as learning everyone’s names and cheering each other on during meets. Within the first few days of practices, everyone knows the names of their teammates, which he encourages by learning everyone’s names himself in a timely manner. He helps us get over the fear of introducing ourselves to new people by acknowledging that while doing something frightening for the first time, especially with people we do not yet know, he reminds us that everyone is scared to an extent, but at the same time we are a team so we should be comfortable introducing ourselves. In addition, he emphasizes cheering other teammates on during a race; another simple thing that goes a long way in creating a successful team. What makes his take on the goal unique is rather than getting team-members to encourage each other because they should, he encourages them to cheer on each other because they want to. In doing so, he spurs the team to desire achievement. After meets, he allocates time before practice so we can recognize the accomplishments of our teammates. While teammates recognize each other, he can provide an exact time, distance, or height about the recognized athlete, not solely because he has a good memory, which he does, but because he loves seeing his athletes succeed and pays attention to them during meets.

    Coach Peebles is also a mentor for building life skills such as being punctual and responsible. During our practices, there is a set start time for practice and everyone must arrive before that time. He is strict on this policy because he knows being punctual is one of the simple things to showing dedication to the sport. Once again, he inspires all of us to accomplish this by doing so himself. He lives up to his idea that, “It is better to be an hour early than a second late,” and on a given day, he will arrive forty-five minutes to an hour before the scheduled start time of practice. I have been on the team for two years and I have never seen Coach Peebles almost late to anywhere. Furthermore, he inspires all of us to be reliable with simple tasks, such as turning in papers on time. He requests that items that only take a day to finish, such as a set of guidelines, should be returned by the next day. By his mentorship, we do well in our classes because of the responsibility we learn from him.

    I know him as my coach and calculus teacher. I look up to him because of his organizational skills. Everything he does, both in the classroom and on the track has a purpose to his goals of leading students and athletes to success. He is a great person to be around and I feel I would not have developed as a responsible person and teammate had it not been for Coach Peebles. I am close to my teammates and admire the effort of others more because of Coach Peebles. He has inspired me to be consciences of arriving on time or early wherever I go. I could not imagine my accomplishments in running or learning without Coach Peebles’ help and I would like to thank him for all he has done for me.

  • Aubrie

    I’ve only had Coach Parks for one year, but she has been such a role model for me. Her inspirational speeches and encouragement has pushed me to work the hardest I can, not only for myself, but for my teammates and God. She has taught me the importance of using your strengths whenever possible, and of believing in myself. She teaches my team to use each other as encouragement, to push each other, and to run for each other. Her kindness and practices have brought me closer to my teammates, and given me such an amazing experience in cross country that I can’t wait for next season. She really capitalizes on the “fun” aspect of running, however hard that may be to remember at times. Her positive attitude and continual support of our team has impacted me in ways I never would have believed could happen in only one year.

  • LeVon

    Coach Peebles is one of the most low key coaches I have ever come across. Practices what he preaches. Do the simple things, workout, don’t worry about what other people think, and just be yourself.

    These are the things that you will hear from Coach Peebles several times a week. Also the things you will see from him, translated to his athletes every single day! Wanting all his athletes to inspire each other, teaching them that the community around you is what you need to be successful. Its not just about what your coaches say, its about what you say to each other. How you treat each other as human beings, and how that relates to you as an athlete. Life concepts taught through the vehicle of track and field.

    He is a math teacher, coaches with a mathematical brain. Understanding how much the kids have left in them throughout the season, in and during each workout. Being able to quantity the effort through numbers is a skill that I actually yet to see out of any other coach I’ve been around. Knowing everyones PR’s (jumps, throws, distance, sprints) on a team of 100+ kids. This type of brain is unique and has worked very well for the John Burroughs Track and Field community.

    He helps me think about how I coach, inspiring me to be more detailed a precise with my plans, while keeping in mind I am teaching youth about life.

  • Lili Hooshivar

    Coach Peebles is probably one of the single greatest influences I’ve had in my life. When I first joined cross country, I was just looking to join some sport and meet some new people. Needless to say, Coach Peebles truly made me love this sport, made me care about this sport, and made me feel important even though I was never even close to the fastest kid on the team. He always emphasizes doing the right thing – even though it’s a simple concept, it has become one of my biggest philosophies. He goes beyond just coaching a sport – he always puts in the effort to make sure his athletes give the best of themselves in whatever they pursue. I graduated high school a year ago, but I still talk about Coach Peebles to my friends – his simple humor, his unique personality, his kindness, and his great dedication to the team, which is unlike anything I’ve ever witnessed. Even when his athletes graduate, Coach Peebles tries to stay in contact – he has driven (and flown) all around the country to see his athletes compete at the college level, or even just to grab lunch with them. All in all, Coach Peebles is not just an amazing coach, but an amazing human being – and I think that’s really the point I’m trying to make. He gives so much of himself to not only make better athletes, but better people. He makes sure that when go out into the world, we are being the best versions of ourselves that we can be. I’m certainly a better person for knowing him. And because of that, I’m able to go out and inspire others, as he inspired me.

  • Terri Van Houten

    Coach Peebles is truly a gift to the kids at JBHS. He sets standards and expectations for the kids and holds each athlete to them. He teaches them life lessons that go far beyond running; aside from discipline and commitment to the sport of running, he expects respect and commitment to each other as a team. He provided an environment for my daughter that inspired her to branch out, make new friends and do her best at something she was afraid of, competing in front of a huge stand filled with people. I honestly believe she is a better person because of his influence. He takes awkward teens and guides them into caring and responsible young adults. Thank you coach!

  • Zev

    Coach Jason Belinkie is different than any coach I’ve ever had. There are so many traits in Coach B that I value: earnestness, selflessness, kindness. He is honestly the most genuine person I have ever met. He puts his heart and soul into the team and honestly I wonder why he invests so much in the team when he has his own life to worry about. He has made me love running. When I don’t believe in myself, he believes in me. Regardless of anyones time or past times, Coach Belinkie sees a runner in everyone. I have had coaches that have instilled discipline, cared for the team, and invested in the athletes, but coach B is different. He isn’t just a motivational coach that gets us to run. He sees running as a microcosm of life, building a fraternity amongst the runners on our team. He gives kids a chance to take leadership roles and grow as people, and he drills in the importance of hard work and work ethic into every runner. I cannot think of a person more deserving of a coaching award than coach Belinkie. A role model and example to every student at our school and to the community, Coach Belinkie has spent time investing in others and we as runners invest our time in him.

    • Zev Stravitz

      – Zev Stravitz

  • Helaine

    Coach Jason Belinkie is a truly remarkable runner, coach, and role model for young athletes. He has make a very deep impression on my son who runs three seasons with Coach B, and he has also impressed our entire family. Jason is able to bring out the best in all the kids on his teams without compromising standards or expectations. He forges a spirit of teamwork, collective identity as well as personal achievement for all the kids. He is a remarkable person, and very deserving of this honor.

  • Elizabeth Welch Forrest

    Coach Hopey Newkirk . I wish there was more coaches like her. Coach Newkirk has inspired so many kids, parents and everyone she meets. My daughter had an injury several years in a row. Most coaches would have given up on her, but not coach newkirk. And because she cared so much my daughter has signed to run in college. If any kid needs anything from shoes, ride to practice or even help with school she’s there, she means so much to my family and many more families. She has took cross country at our school from a few kids running to teams going to state, and we are in a tough region. So coach newkirk trains our kids to run with some of the best. Only in the sport of running do you see kids, parents and spectators cheer all the kids on. Coach Newkirk cheers for all the kids , regardless of how fast or slow they run. We are a family and have been so blessed to know coach Hopey Newkirk ! She has this way of seeing the best in everyone and showing she cares. Everyone has so much respect for coach newkirk , she inspires everyone she meets. My kids are always asking her for running advice and want to run the Boston marathon just like their coach newkirk. Hopey Newkirk is an inspiration to so many.

  • Trevor Roberts

    Coach Hopey Newkirk truly is a one of a kind coach. This is only my second year in track and I’ve never felt more close to a family than my cross country runners and coaches. I’ll never forget, this was a year before I started cross country. I was just a standard track sprinter, and they were picking out people for region. One of our best sprinters had injured themselves and coach hopey (who volunteered to help out as a track coach that year) pulled me up, and said “I’d like this boy to run.” I was kind of in shock cause no one ever paid that much attention to me. I was just average, nothing special. I gladly accepted it, but a few days before the race, the runner who was injured came back and said that his doctor told them that he could run. And coach said “I’m sorry, but trevor is taking your spot. He made a commitment.” Everyone was mad at her but my eyes watered. I almost cried, no one had ever stood up for me like that before and I can’t thank her enough for all she has done. I am currently running cross country with her, and this will he my second year. I have practiced a lot during the off season and I promised myself I won’t let her down. I’m gonna prove everyone I can be more than average and I won’t let hopey down. She has changed my life and I can’t thank her enough

  • Taryn campos

    Coach John Peebles! Truly a one of a kind person and a one of a kind coach! I have had the great honor of knowing and learning from Coach Peebles for the past 11 years now. From when I was a freshmen in high school joining the cross country team until now 3 years coaching along side him (although I coach the sprints) As my Coach in XC and Head coach for both Track and XC I have been able to see the dedication he put in every single day being at the school at 5 am until 5pm sometimes later!! When I first got to high school my original plan was to only to track because I just saw my self as a sprinter and that was all. My friend convinced me to join XC with her so I did. I wasnt the all star or even close but i was better than I had expected. And because of Peebles his coaching style, his fairness his belief in everyone on the team, it made me enjoy this long distance running thing. And of course my teammates are what made those runs enjoyable. My sophomore year here he even threw me on the varsity team to be the 7th girl, I was in shock! But he believed I could bring something meaningful to the team. And through me just not wanting to let him down or my teammates i pushed when i thought i couldnt. My friend who made me join ended up quitting and I stayed all 4 years. And when I thought I wanted to quit Peebs (as some call him) reeled me back in and I am so thankful that he did. It kept me in shape for track season which is where i excelled in the sprints, taught me how to be tough mentally and physically and really showed me what i could do when the going got tough! His sometimes 2 hour long speeches ( which at the time was exhausting) really made a difference in our mindsets. He can tell you about kids that inspired him 18 years ago, he can tell you their PRs their worst races, how they overcame it, its something amazing his memory, but its the fact that he truly cares more than any coach i have ever come across. When giving awards at the end of the season, you can hear it in his voice just how much he truly cares, truly believes, and truly is inspired by the kids he coaches. and i know for me all of that has made me keep going. I ran In college at Boise State. I graduated in 2013 and I still currently compete as well as coach at the high school. When i graduated from High school Coach Peebles told me he was going to make it to Boise and watch me run. 4 years later my senior year he came out and watched me run and it was amazing and opened my eyes more to how much he loves seeing his athletes compete and do what they love. He is a man of his word and he truly cares. Through my whole college career if we were in town he would come out at watch me run, during breaks he would call me and we would catch up. He still does that with athletes now. He truly enjoys supporting and watching these kids succeed.

    From my high school team I know at least 6 of us who still either run competitively or just for the fun of it because of the amazing memories we had in high school. And Peebles always taught us doesnt matter if your fast or slow, as long as your out there getting better! Kids that graduate and are off at college ALWAYS come back during breaks and run with their friends still in high school because he made that camaraderie! I see kids from every graduating class coming out to the track during summer or breaks to run because that is what they know and what is instilled in them is to just get out there and be the best you that you can be. Many post have told you about how he brings the team together and how he encourages and inspires and almost mandates great sportsmanship and teamwork so I do not have to go into that. But i believe that is one thing that keeps people running, the community that running is and when you have friends that feel the same way you do it keeps you going. The camaraderie he instilled truly has made lasting friendships, there are so many of us that are still good friends, we can get together and just have a great time, and support each other, if we didnt have someone instilling us the importance of the little things such as knowing your teammates I wouldnt have as many great friends as i do.

    He is the type of coach that makes you want to do well for yourself because he reminds us you are the most important person in your life, and to make him proud because he is just the most fair coach out there. And the way he teaches us all to just be leaders and examples in the community and where ever you go in life is big. He is mentoring these young adulys in being the best they can be, in life, in running and that goes leaps and bounds over just making someone a great runner. Lessons through sport especially running can be used throughout your life time. These kids are becoming great people if they really listen to the wisdom that is Peebles and take the time to “do the simple things”. I am beyond grateful i was able to have coach Peebles as my coach. I have thoroughly enjoyed my running career and everything and everybody it has brought to me. Im loving coaching and molding these kids and i truly believe my life would look a lot different if Peebles wasnt in it. He is one of a kind and truly deserves this!

    The Burbank community and especially the high school would NOT be the same with out him. He is VERY invovled in ALL the sports and attends as many games and matches and meets as he can! He announces for the football games and volleyball games. He is the most HELPFUL person out there. When we are at a different school and he sees something that needs to be done he jumps in there no questions asked and does it, no matter what it is. I have learned that from him just to be helpful whenever and where ever needed. He as won Best teacher of the year a few times i believe! He performs in the Choirs pop show, he holds his own math-tacular performance which are all very anticipated events! He has his own scholarship for seniors, where he has them write an essay on their life and why they should receive it. Its simply amazing the countless hours he puts in ofr the community of burbank, the Cross Country and Track and Field team, and the entire high school and I believe he truly inspires us all! Thank You Peebs simple for being you! You do nothing for awards or for praise, many things in the background go unnoticed but that more so just shows your character and theres none like it!

    • Taryn campos

      One more thing! There are so many teachers and parents that come back every season even after their kid has graduated to help out at track meets! Every year the programs are different seniors leave and new kids come the only constant in Peebles! That shows how much the community loves this guy! More people need to watch track and running and because people want to help Peebles they get exposed and become fans of the sport! And they in turn get inspired to get out there and be better people!

  • Lee

    When and how will the winner be announced?

    • @disqus_0YOgZrQmhp:disqus Hi Lee! As with years past, a committee of Brooks employees will decide who from our amazing finalists is named the 2016 Inspiring Coach of the Year. It’s a hard task, but we’re excited to recognize all of the coaches’ and their tireless work.

  • Jarrett Forrest

    Wow,to even think that coach Newkirk is a finalist is unbelievable.She has inspired so many and has brought back the sport of cross country to Montgomery county.Coach Newkirk has been my coach for about 7 years and I can honestly say I wouldn’t want anyone else training and inspiring me to become who I want to be,not only as a runner but also as a student.She pushes us to thrive in the classroom and to always go the extra mile in everything we set out to do.As a kid with big dreams I am grateful to have such an amazing person by my side to help guide me through my running career.
    Thanks for everything you do Coach Newkirk.

  • Larry

    I was a high school, college, and post college road runner in another state back in the day, and did not know Coach John Peebles until my daughter decided to give cross country a try as a freshman…she had never tried ANY sport before. I could soon tell that she was going to have a much different (positive) coaching experience in the sport than I did. He is as much a Life coach as he is a track and CC coach. One of the things that struck me immediately was he treated every runner the same; you’d never know if the athlete he was helping was the state champion or the slowest runner on the team. Everyone felt welcomed and included from the first day, when all the 100+ runners began introducing themselves to the others on the team. The kids learned to be good teammates, always cheering each other on in the meets, by name of course. When they leave a meet, the kids learned that the grounds need to look like they’d never been there, or better! When discussing the previous day’s meet with the team, he was just as concerned if he saw someone who wasn’t helping out, or not encouraging teammates, as he was pleased with any great performances or PR’s. Consistency, structure, discipline, hard work, and high expectations of behavior on and off the field were the cornerstones of his teaching and coaching. During my daughter’s graduation ceremony, numerous speakers mentioned him by name, and thanked him for being such a great inspiration in the class room and/or in athletics. My daughter has decided to give running in college a try, primarily because of the great coaching experience she had in high school. Thanks Coach Peebles!

  • Kathy

    On the first day of his first summer workout with Coach Peebles… prior to my son even joining the team… he came home with several papers to read and sign. The first couple were the usual health and parental release forms. In addition… one form required the athletes to set running and personal goals for the season in writing. Another was a list of reminders of the running etiquette expected whether they were running a team workout or they were running by themselves. Such things as crossing the street to avoid startling people, pets, and horses along the path… not running on people’s lawns… being respectful to opponents and their fans… and even just being safe by obeying traffic laws. During a workout Coach Peebles saw my son start across an intersection just after the light had turned yellow (trying to stay up with a faster group) and pulled him aside after practice to remind him that safety is a top priority and that “close enough” was not safe.

    There is no mistaking that the athletes running hard and being committed team members is important to Coach Peebles. He has also made it clear from the beginning of each athlete’s team experience, though, that there is much more to being a good athlete, team member, and person than just running hard. And his ability to model these attributes is what makes him deserving of recognition by Brooks.

  • Katie Johnson

    Coach Hopey Newkirk has been my role model since my first cross country year. She encourages me to try my best and to never give up. She has been a big inspiration to myself, friends, and family. Hopey encourages us to grow in our faith and in our running. She doesn’t know the word “stop” all we hear is “one more”. She has got most of my family involved in running and it’s the greatest thing I’ve ever experienced. My aunt even named her daughter after Hopey. Without her, our entire team would be lost. She impacts everyone she meets. She is kind, outgoing, and she’s straight up with you. If you do something wrong, she will fix it, trust me. I love Hopey and she is truly the greatest coach I have ever had. I wouldn’t know what to do without her. God has blessed our team with many things, but she’s the most important.

  • Moco XC

    Coach Hopey Newkirk is the best coach I have ever had. She is encouraging and enthusiastic. I have never had someone push me like she has to strive to be the best I could possibly be. She believes in all of her runners and believes that we can have the potential to get personal records every race. And with her amazing coaching, PR’s happen very often. A running coach is someone who is there for their runners, someone who pushes you so that you can improve, someone who gives advice in not just pacing, but also in technique, strengthening, and teaches good habits that every great runner should have. Coach Newkirk is the definition of a great coach. She cares for each and every one of us, she teaches us how important our health should be to us and how impactful it is to have the right Health. I trust my coach and her advice. I can honestly say that she deserves this more than anyone else.

  • Kristiana McElroy

    I had the privlege of Coaching along side Jason Belinke for two seasons of Track and Field and Cross Country. Coach B knew each of his runners so well despite the fact that he was coaching such a large team. He transferred his leadership skills to Captains elected by the team and empowered them to motivate and inspire their team mates! To feel a part of the team you didn’t have to be the best runner but you did have to give your best!! Each runner knew that reaching a PR was something to be proud of and that it would be praised by Coach B. He created an environment that felt like a community, or a family. Team dinners, 7-11 run at the end of the season and an annual JDS running banquet for current and former coaches and runners are all reasons that the team is more like a family! He goes above and beyond to make this an excellent program and gives his very best expecting the same from his runners.

  • Eva Kreisler

    Coach Belinkie has an amazing way of motivating everyone to do their best. When my son was in 4th grade and participated in an invitational run by Coach B for all grades, Coach B took the time to encourage my son – even though they had never met before – throughout his participation in several of the invitational events. Now a rising 6th grader, my son is looking forward to formally training with Cosch B next year, when he will be in Middle School.

  • Dawn Flood

    As I try to think of a comment for Coach Patton, I’m at a loss for words. If not for his interventions, my life may have went a completely different direction. To call him a mentor would not begin to describe his talents, his passion, or his heart for all of his kids and his community. When I say “his kids,” I mean all of them. Their are hundreds, probably thousands of us that he has affected over the years. Even if he does not receive this award, we want him to know how special he truly is to all of us.

  • Rick Craig

    I watched Anders Brooker working the crowd last weekend at the Montana High School Track and Field championships. As each kid returned to the stands after their race he pulled them aside for a long talk. If they had a tough race, he was full of empathy, support and positive thoughts for the future. If they had a great race, he was likewise full of empathy, support and positive thoughts for the future. It was all sincere and convincing, and there really wasn’t much difference in his enthusiasm for each kid’s effort. Whether they came to him ecstatic or in tears, they went away knowing they had done well and with a deeper sense of themselves. Then he moved to each kid’s parents and brought the same enthusiasm for each runner, as both an athlete and a person, to those discussions.
    It isn’t easy to achieve the balance of inclusivity and excellence that Anders manages in his Track and X-country programs. In a big public school where more than 10% of the student body comes out for X-country, it’s hard to believe that everyone can get the support and the enthusiasm Anders provides. Everyone gets pushed to become the best runner and person they can be, from the elite athletes headed to Division 1 running programs to kids who show up never having run a mile in their lives,

  • Sam Greenberg

    Jason Belinkie was my coach all throughout high school and has left a lasting impact on me. He helped me become a much better athlete, and I am still an avid runner today thanks to his dedication and encouragement. He took what was a very disorganized track team and inspired all of us to take the team seriously and grow.

  • Connor Jackson

    Hopey Newkirk. I’m blessed beyond belief to call her Coach. I essentially began my competitive running career under her four years ago, and never did I imagine there could be so much soul in running. Rather than just telling us to ‘run with heart’, she moves with a great love for running herself, still kicking through the streets of Boston in April. On the other hand, only an MCXC athlete can tell you about the feeling of hearing her from mile across the course. Man, it will get your butt moving that’s for sure! She cares for us. Under her, you’re not a stopwatch time, but person. A person with potential to do great things on and off the track.

    I’m a now a sophomore in college and she still is there for me when I need her. This past spring I completed my first marathon, Coach’s voice pushing me all the way on that rainy morning. I had kept it quiet because I felt undertrained and figured it would be a hobble to the finish, but I asked her for advice the day before and we had a good chat leading up to the 26.2 monster. I ran with heart. Took nutrients when she suggested, and kept up the spirit she instilled in me those last few years of high school. I amazed myself, going 20 min under what I even wanted to do, but it was all her training, her leadership, her true and down to earth coaching that kept me going strong.

    There are those who we hold to the highest pedestal in the running world: Bowerman, Salazar, Lydiard. If you ask anyone from our family of Montgomery County runners, they’ll all put Coach Newkirk among those without a moment’s hesitation.

  • Coach G

    Coach Jason Belinkie has been a great coach to work with since I began coaching at JDS 3 years ago. He is amazing to watch in action as he inspires runners of all ages and abilities and he has really created a wonderful community for the runners, the parents and the other coaches. I have always felt at home and a part of something greater working alongside Jason and this is a feeling everyone who knows Jason would attest to. Jason is extremely motivated and dedicated to the team and a lot of what we do as coaches is always behind the scene as we discuss daily the upcoming practices and meets. Jason is always finding new opportunities for our runners and athletes to allow everyone to see their definition of success. For example, Jason was instrumental in finding us the opportunity to practice a few times a week on a track and no longer having to practice around the cement path at our school. This has been an amazing change for us as a team especially in the sprints and this past season Jason organized numerous meets at these facilities for our school’s league meets. I look forward to many more opportunities to learn from and be inspired by Jason as we begin summer training for the following XC season.

  • Mike Rosenberg

    As a former member of Jason Belinkie’s track & XC teams, I believe he deserves this award due to his commitment to both his team and his community. Since Jason took over the helm of the running program at the Jewish Day School, all the teams have gone from an excuse for PE credit to annual contenders for league titles. On a personal note, I can say Jason impacted my high school career by treating my like an equal. He never speaks down to his team members and always encourages them to strive to greatness. Jason is one of the kindest, and most loyal people I know. He joy for running and depication to his teams make him someone I strive to emulate.

  • Wren Cilimburg

    Anders Brooker has only coached me for one year, but he has truly changed me as a person and as an athlete. When I showed up to my first cross country practice as a freshman, I had no idea how close I would become to my team and my coaches. Our team is a family, and Anders brings that family closer together every day. At the end of cross country, he said that his favorite thing about the season was seeing how close the team had become. Not how fast we had run, or what place we got, but the fun we had and the friendships we made. I have so many amazing memories from this year, and without Anders, they would not exist. Because of him, I am excited to come out every day and run with my team.

    My mental strength has also improved because of Ander’s coaching. Through races, workouts, and inspirational talks, Anders has taught me that I am capable of so much, as long as I believe in myself and continue to push. This has helped to become a faster runner as well as a stronger person. During a race, seeing Anders on the sidelines, giving me advice and motivation, is often what keeps me going to the finish. No matter what happens during the race, Anders is always there afterwards. After I have a great race, one of the things I look forward to the most is seeing Ander’s face light up with happiness, full of joy for someone else’s success. If I have a bad day, Anders helps me put it in perspective, reminding me that this is just one day. Anders has made running more than just getting a certain time or place, it’s a community.

  • Josh B

    Jason Belinkie, aka Coach B, help me transform from an unsure, lumbering 10th grader who had never run before to a self-assured, if still lumbering, senior team captain. He believed in me and challenged me to be better. I’ll always be grateful for all that he invested in us, how much of himself he put into the team when he had no need to be coaching at all. I graduated 5 years ago, but still think about and appreciate my time running high school cross country. JDS is lucky to have Coach B, and he’s so deserving of this award!

  • Elisa Massimino

    Coach Jason Belinkie is an inspiration, a true citizen-coach who excels at both the personal, one-on-one aspect of coaching as well as demonstrating the unifying humanitarian power of sport. His work with Athletes for Hope and with refugee runners who have been forced to flee their countries because of persecution speaks volumes about his commitment and character.
    Elisa Massimino
    President and CEO
    Human Rights First

  • Lori Montalbano Nozzi

    All of these coaches have touched people’s lives in positive ways. The difference is that RJ Stiltenpole has done it with adults. Yes, couch-loving, ice cream eating, “I’m too old” adults! I gave him the challenge when I was 42 and I’m not nearly the oldest. He has a way of making us believe that we CAN do it, then shows us exactly how. At times, he has 300 of us from age 16 to 65 following behind through the streets of Scranton, while he runs back and forth through us, checking, coaching, cracking jokes, and getting each of us through that day’s run. If we run 4 miles, he runs 8 with his buzzing around. Scranton Runs because of RJ. And, so do I.

  • Jane Clifford Guariglia

    RJ is more than a coach . He can make anyone a runner . RJ believed in us when we didn’t believe in ourselves . Our group consists of all kinds of people with all kinds of challenges , whether it’s sickness , weight or mental health. He believes in everyone of us . When we come and there is no judgement, we are all runners , not fast or slow we are just runners. He makes it so fun. We never know what is up his sleeve , it’s exciting and we all feel like little kids again . Sometimes it’s hill repeats or maybe a long run . Another day it can be run followed by a hike to an old amusement park or maybe it is a run through a cemetery ( lol) followed by a bleacher run . The point is he makes it exciting , fun & we never quit . I will be going on my third year here and I’m 50 . I am hoping I will be there a long , long time . He offers children’s programs, running programs & even walking . He is making our community a healthy & happy environment . Nobody deserves this award more than RJ because he gives more than time , he gives himself . Vote RJ

  • mary

    I have been inspired by Coach RJ Stiltenpole since day one. I’m 58, and never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d start running at this age! As intimidated as I was RJ immediately lets you know that you’re not there to run marathons, but are there to be the best YOU that you can be! Whenever you’re unsure of yourself RJ is there to lift you up, restore your confidence, and have your back, no judgement. Thanks for your selflessness RJ!

  • Bob Drazba

    RJ started what I call the 4th running boom here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. In my 55 years I have never seen or been part of an amazing running family like The Barrier Breakers program. I am blessed to be one of his coaches for the past 3 years now and have witnesssened how he has inspired many to take back their lives and embrace all the positive challenges running will do for you. Our running family has been through
    good times and not so good times but the strength our family gets us through all this together. He is one to quickly shy away from any credit and is quick to praise all us coaches for the success of the program. One final word he truly cares for each and every person and celebrates everyone’s victories and I am blessed to call him my friend.
    One,Two,Three “GO BREAKERS”!!!

  • Allen Brink

    As a father of a 15 year old daughter, it is difficult to see your child struggle to find a group or activity that they truly love and devote their energy into. I have watched my daughter join and participate in many activities. She has tried everything from dance, karate, singing, basketball and the school track team. Each time she succeeded, but just wouldn’t give the commitment to sticking with it.
    I convinced my daughter to give coach RJ Stiltenpole and the Barrier Breakers a shot. She recently completed her first 5K. With that comes the end of her Barrier Breakers session. Much to my surprise and delight, within a few minutes of crossing the finish line, she asked when the next session would be starting and if she could sign up again. My daughter has finally found a group that she can call “Home”!!! I credit coach RJ and the rest of his wonderful staff for welcoming my daughter into their running family and giving her the confidence to stick with it. Not only did I sign my daughter up, but I will t be joining the group.
    RJ and his Barrier Breakers group are doing wonders for the running community of the depressed city of Scranton a major boost!
    Keep up the good work coach!!!

  • Amy Swartz

    My vote is for RJ Stiltenpole! I joined Barrier Breakers last year and in that time with the help of RJ’s guidance I went from running/walking a couple miles on my own to running my first 10K and then my first half marathon! He truly cares about every individual in our running group which at times can amount to over 300 walkers/runners. He is not only a great coach but a great person as well, and because of this our running group is more like a family. I personally can say it has improved my life. I am more healthy, happy and motivated every day because of his running has impacted my life and I have RJ to thank for that!

  • Jennifer Gallagher

    RJ Stiltenpole isn’t just a running coach! He is a life changer and saver! I truly believe I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for his program, coaches, and private conversations. I love this man and all he does and has done for hundreds of Scranton’s finest! This picture is me from my first 5k, first 10k, and first half marathon.

  • Glenn Stewart

    It is truly an honor and a privilege to know Jason Belinkie (Coach B) and his team. I lived with Jason for a time, and not only did he reinvigorate my passion for running, he introduced me to the CESJDS cross country and track teams. He has dedicated untold hours to his team over the last decade, and was never hesitant to stay late after practice to ensure he spoke to everyone. He knows all of his kids’ stories, and is truly invested in their success in sport and life. Whether hosting 6am summer runs, drafting individualized workout plans, nurturing an injured athlete, or recognizing each individual and their respective accomplishments at the end of season banquet, Jason’s devotion and enthusiasm knows no bounds. It speaks volumes about the program to see how active and present JDS alumni and parents are with the team. It really is a family. I only wish I had had such a tremendous coach when I was in school!

  • Marissa Forrest

    Coach Hopey Newkirk IS the definition of inspiring, she is so talented and dedicated to her runners. After running D1 herself in college she encourages her runners to continue their running after high school and possibly go to the next level. She tells us running is a lifetime sport. Coach Newkirk is such an inspiration to everyone. I can go to other cities with a MoCo XC shirt in they will ask “you run for Hopey?” And that’s a great feeling. She is so well known and so influential on the entire community. I hope one day I will be as influential as her. She really is the best coach out there, hands down. She has turned our team from just a few kids to almost 70 runners. If it wasn’t for Coach Newkirk I wouldn’t be continuing my running career in college this fall. I’ve had many, many injuries in my career and she never stopped believing in me. No other coach I ever have will compare to her. She has ran the Boston Marathon 6 times including the 2016 marathon. She wakes up before daylight to run, goes to work then coaches us (her athletes) grades 2nd-12th. She is truly amazing and impacts everyone she meets. She’s so passionate and caring and selfless it’s amazing. She truly incredible and the best Coach. She always tells us, God first, family second, school third, then cross country. So much respect for Coach

  • Arthur Friedman

    I am providing my highest recommendation for Jason Belinkie as Brooks Inspiring
    Coach of the Year. I want to influence you to select him and want to share an understanding of the specific details of who Jason is and why he is the best choice to represent Brooks. It is important to understand Jason not just as a mentor, inspirational coach, or motivator, but as Jason Belinkie: The Man. Sixteen weeks ago, Jason embarked on a personal mission which he privately told me he was placing above all other priorities except for his very own family. An Ethiopian refugee had been tortured
    and was transplanted from her homeland of tyranny to America. And who was waiting for her at the door of the land of freedom and opportunity? Jason Belinkie.
    After forming a small committee, Jason began addressing all aspects of reconstituting a life for this 19 year old woman in meticulous detail and helping her gain a foothold in a new country to regain her dignity and self-respect. In a few weeks, the committee found her housing, food, clothing, and medical attention. He helped her get connected with Maryland’s Ethiopian community. As she has a qualifying time for the Olympics in track, he made her an honorary member of the JDS track team providing her with an opportunity to make new friends, run in meets, and participate in meets by recording split times and other tasks. Then, he got her associated with a specialized training team for elite runners so she can prepare for the Olympics. The next phase is gaining her employment to achieve a level of self-sufficiency, getting her U.S. citizenship and resolving legal issues, and enrolling her in higher education. The magnitude of this entire, complex effort on Jason’s part transcends coaching and instruction and
    demonstrates the highest level of determination, integrity, and selflessness in helping people and getting serious causes accomplished.

    The second area I want to share with you is more insight into Athletes for Hope. While he has helped his local community, more importantly, Jason has been the architect establishing a “National” network of charities which in turn have helped tens of thousands of people across the USA. He has crisscrossed the country from Nike in Oregon to MLB headquarters in New York meeting with professional athletes and helping each one set up a charity aiding youth, people suffering from disease, and many relevant causes. When this network of athletes and their charities are viewed together, Jason’s impact on a national level has been tremendous. Jason Belinkie truly represents the highest ideal and role model for Brooks Inspiring Coach of the Year!

  • Melissa Donahue

    Seven weeks ago I was over 300 pounds and couldnt run 3 minutes. May 30th I RAN my first 5k and I am 35 pounds (and counting) lighter. Coach RJ and the Barrier Breakers family never once said I couldn’t do it. He has encouraged me every step of the way, believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself and gave me the tools to start this amazing journey.
    Trust in the program. Keep showing up. One foot in front of the other.
    The kindness and compassion shown makes you want to show up week after week and do your best. Coach RJ listens to your goals and offers fantastic advice on the steps you need to take to safely and realistically meet those goals. He believes everyone can do it… And they can because of him and his program.
    I am so blessed to be a part of the Breakers family. I can honestly say I would not have gotten as far as I have in 7 weeks if it wasn’t for Coach RJ and the Breakers family.

  • Glenda Roberts

    I’ll always remember the day that Coach Alysun Deckert, the manager of the UWMC transplant nutritionist department, came to my hospital room, the morning after my kidney transplant. After we chatted about my new normal as it related to nutrition, she invited me to join Team Transplant and compete in half marathons. “Half marathon?!” I couldn’t even imagine getting out of the bed to go to the bathroom, let alone walk 13.1 miles. The following August, I began training with Team Transplant. Even though I was using the Beginning Walker’s training plan, during the training season I walked over 250 miles. I finished my first half marathon before the first anniversary of my kidney transplant. Since that day in Dec. 2010, I have garnered eight medals and I expect to have nine in nine days on June 18. Alysun and Team Transplant have helped me and many others, not just survive, but thrive post-transplant. I am forever grateful to Alysun and Team Transplant.

  • Shirley Schultz

    First off, I am impressed with any coach who encourages people to be active, set goals, and achieve their best. Alysun Deckert exemplifies that in the most inspiring way possible. Imagine an average Seattle November morning – rainy, cold, rainy, dark, and rainy. Imagine fully-fledged adults – people with busy schedules, responsibilities, warm beds, and car keys. (Maybe some of them are not feeling 100%.) If you added them together in your head you probably *wouldn’t* end up with a ten-mile training run for a half marathon. And yet that is what happens. On Thursday there’s this encouraging, insightful, and informative email about Saturday’s training. From Alysun. On Saturday there’s a pep talk and a warm up and talk about goals. From Alysun. And then there’s Alysun (usually having done her own run already) driving along the training course, shouting encouragement, waving, always with a smile.

    You might scoff at the stories of Alysun showing up in hospital rooms to recruit for Team Transplant (and she downplays them) – but for me it was true. Less than 24 hours out of ICU from a liver transplant and she asked me to join. And it wasn’t so much about a subtle reminder about healthy living after transplant, or staying active and recovering from surgery. It was about that confidence that I *could* be active and I *would* be able to participate in the Team… and in life. That confidence and that hope has been invaluable over the years.

    Alysun has shown that same confidence and hope to many, many other people over the years. At nearly 200 members now, Team Transplant is going strong. We are from all ages, all walks of life, and all abilities, and we still show up – thanks in large part to her leadership.

    • Carla Trulson-Essenberg

      Alysun Deckert is a VIP in my world! Alysun is coach of the UWMC Team Transplant which is a group of organ transplant recepients (heart, lungs, pancreas, liver and kidneys), organ donors, medical staff, family and friends.
      I have had lung problems since birth. Thirteen years ago I could NOT even walk to the mailbox WITH oxygen. Then, on Halloween of 2004, I had a double lung transplant. My world was filled with such joy and wonderment at my new ability to breathe. I did not know people breathed like this–I always thought one had to work at it.
      Eventually I found out about Team Transplant and joined in 2009. Suddenly I was walking and occasionally jogging a bit with a group of wonderful supporters. I completed my first 1/2 marathon in 2009 and after I crossed the finish line I was overwhelmed with the enormity of what I had just accomplished and the tears just flowed.
      Coach Deckert and Team Transplant has been such a light in my world. It has changed my life in so many positive ways. I exercise now not only for fitness, but also for community. The thrill of being able to walk/jog 13.1 miles is something that I could never have experienced or accomplished at any point in my life previously.
      As for the walk to the mailbox, it is now a piece of cake thanks to Coach Deckert and Team Transplant!

  • Glenda Roberts

    Just four hours after my kidney transplant operation, I met Coach Alysun Deckert, the University of Washington Medical Centers (UWMC) transplant nutritionist, for the first time. After she explained my “new dietary” normal, she invited me to join a team (Team Transplant), that she had founded to prepare transplant recipients, their family, friends and healthcare providers to train and complete half-marathons.

    I’d never completed a 5K. So at a time when I could not imagine how I would get out of bed and walk across the room to the bathroom, Alysun told me that very soon, with my new kidney and diet, I’d be able to join some 50 other transplant recipients who participated in at least two half marathons each year. Since then I have completed numerous 5K races and a 10K race, and I have more than eight half marathon metals, thanks to Alysun’s confidence and inspiring conversations with me during my recovery.

    What Alysun did not tell me was that the UWMC Team Transplant was and is an all-volunteer effort. She does not get paid for any of her extensive effort to ensure that the Team has continued to thrive for the last 15 years. Every Saturday morning, she gives up her free time and meets the team to ensure that we prepare properly, are familiar with each scenic route and know how to reach the “Homeland Security” team if there is an issue. Before the season starts, she selects new training routes and prepares training schedules for those of us at various fitness levels. During each training session, she rides around in her car and checks on each team member to ensure that we are OK and to offer advice and assistance as necessary. She continuously recruits new volunteers to man the water stations, where we get nutrition and water to help us continue on for the next 3, 6 or 9 miles. While she has the blessing of UWMC, Alysun receives no compensation, at all, period, for helping so many believe that a after transplant they will not only survive, but they will thrive.

    Not only has Alysun inspired me to believe that I could achieve what felt like the impossible after surgery; she has inspired me to form Team Hope, my personal team of supporters who have joined Team Transplant to spread the word about organ donation and transplantation. She has not just inspired me and others impacted by transplants, she’s had a larger impact in the community. For instance, because Team Transplant is an all-volunteer organization, following Alysun’s servant-leadership, I’ve been inspired to work with the Brooks Sports Outlet in Bothell to purchase running vest for Team Hope. Recently at the 520 Go Long 10K race, Team Hope promoted Team Transplant’s mission, as we were pummeled with questions about our Brooks vest (e.g. “why are you all wearing those vest?”, “what is Team Transplant and may I join or volunteer?”, “wow, you’re a transplant recipient and you’re doing the race?”, “how many half marathon’s have you completed?”, and “where did you get those vest and can I get one?”) I wish that I could afford to give everyone on Team Transplant, and not just Team Hope, the experience of Brooks top-quality training gear. If Alysun is selected as one of the winners, my wish will become a reality.

    As you can see, Alysun has inspired me and she continues to inspire those of us impacted by organ donation, as well as, the larger community. Organ donation saved my life. Through Alysun’s efforts we have engaged and educated more people about its importance and how they can help. If Alysun is recognized by Brooks for her contribution, she will be able to have an even larger impact in the community. Remember, she does all of this for free. For this reason and so many others, I am proudly nominating Alysun Deckert.

  • MikeB

    I greatly appreciate Brooks support of the broad running community through this award and everything else Brooks does. It is inspiring to see all the deserving coaches. I think it is fantastic that there are 13 winners. I am part of Team Transplant and if one coach is selected for additional recognition, I’d like to see it be Alysun Deckert for her 15+ years of volunteering. I think there is a possibility attention from this award will make Team Transplant a sustained part of the lifetime commitment of hospitals all around the country to the well-being of their transplant recipients. Congratulations to all the winning coaches and teams and thank you for the opportunity to learn your inspiring stories.

  • Bruce MacNeill

    A quick note for Alysun Deckert. My wife had a transplant two years ago, and one of the first things she did was sign up for Team Transplant. In support of her, I joined the team as well, and began walking and training on those early Saturday mornings. Some of those initial trainings were a bit embarrassing for me, as I was trying to get through 4, 5, 6 miles and my feet, legs, back were crying out, I was out of shape, but walking with my wife and others whose lives were completely changed due to their transplants,and they were out-walking and out-running me. While Team Transplant was inspired to bring the transplant community together and transform their lives, and it has, Alysun is also reaching beyond to the Transplant Support community as well, and changing their lives too. Both my wife and I were half marathon finishers 6 months after my wife’s liver transplant. Alysun was, and is there all along the way, for everyone. The definition of inspiring.

  • Skyler Peyton

    Our team is so lucky to have a coach like Hopey Newkirk in Montgomery County. She is the reason that we are excited to get up so early to come out and run even during the summer. She has accomplished so much during her own running career and inspires our team to do the same. She motivates us to push ourselves and continue running even after high school. Coach Newkirk holds our cross country team to higher standards and expects us to not only treat herself and teammates with respect, but also our competitors. Somehow, she manages to make practices fun and effective at the same time. Through her years as coach, she has built our team from the ground up into a group of very competitive runners. This past season, the girl’s team was able to win the title of region runner up in our very tough regional meet and make it to the state competition. Also, Coach Newkirk makes sure that we have the right priorities: God first, then family, then school, and then cross country. Because of these ideas, our team earns some of the highest GPA’s in our school. She is so passionate about what she does and she is such a great leader. Even though I didn’t start cross country until my junior year of high school, she believed in me and pushed me every step of the way. She is truly the best coach that a team could ask for. I have so much love and respect for Hopey Newkirk and I hope I can become a leader like her one day.

  • Logan McNabb

    Coach Hopey Newkirk was not my coach in high school but a so called rival school coach. Even though she coached at a different school she always encouraged me and my teammates. I have seen coach Newkriks teams grow over the past seven years as a high school runner; I’ve seen her teams go from “back in the pack” to now being “front runners.” This past year she allowed me to come and practice with her team so I could be pushed. She always talks about being a family with her teams and she extends that family atmosphere to runners not on her team. I am pleased to run her 5k every year in memory of her mother and support a local scholarship. The 5k is just one of the many ways she gives back to her community. She has inspired me in so many ways but most recently shes the reason I want to start running marathons. I wish I had the privilege of being on one of her teams, but am thankful for everything she has done for me!!

  • Leah Rogal

    Coach B is a fantastic coach. He is a role model in every respect, and his dedication is boundless. He has inspired my kids to try hard and encouraged them every step of the way. He celebrates every PR and makes everyone feel like a superstar. When he’s not coaching, he is giving back up the community. He is a true mentch! We are lucky to have him!

  • Jennifer Caudill

    Would love to see Hopey Newkirk win! I’m lucky enough to be related to her (she’s my aunt), but that’s now why she’s worthy of receiving this award. She’s one of the strongest, most relentless people I know. She’s spent a lifetime in the education system, so that even outside the realm of coaching, she encourages kids and teens to do something more with their lives. She knocks on doors, opens conversations, gives hugs and goes out of her way to make a difference. As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure she’s come out of retirement a couple of times now, just so she can keep helping kids, every day, on the ground level. Hopey [Elizabeth Hope] puts her family, friends, students and runners ahead of herself every day of her life and still finds time to run herself [like Boston, six times!]. She just has this “you can do it” attitude that’s contagious, and she’s living proof of her motto, and that’s why we love her!

  • Coach Lexy

    Wow, all these amazing comments for Coach Jason Belinkie leave very little to expound on without sounding redundant! It has definitely been a pleasure working next to this hard-working, passionate, and inspiring man. He sees the potential in all of the athletes on the team, and as well as his fellow colleagues and motivates them to do better. Very humble–he is someone that this award was created for! Even Stevie Wonder can see that!

  • Jonathan Baird

    Alysun Deckert’s unique combination of enthusiasm, inspiration, dedication, charisma, and empathy, has enabled her to motivate people who have previously suffered from end stage organ failure to become fit enough to participate in half marathons. Pre-liver transplant, I was barely able to drag myself up a flight of stairs. I’ve never in my life been athletically inclined! Under Alysun’s guidance and encouragement, I’ve now participated in 12 half marathons and any number of shorter events. It’s extremely difficult for me to imagine a coach more inspiring than Alysun!

  • Tami Sadusky

    What an amazing group of individuals! Congratulations to them all for being an inspiration to so many people. It is easy to see why Coach Alysun Deckert is in this group. She has touched so many lives all in a positive way. People who thought they could never walk even a ½ mile are now walking, or running, ½ or full marathons because of her leadership. She has invested her time in helping others develop and maintain a healthy lifestyle. She has built a team that believes in themselves and support each other. She is truly a role model to not only her team but the entire transplant community.

  • Tom

    Coach Alysun Deckert is a great runner, but she dedicates her Saturdays to coaching Team Transplant. As a consequence, she runs around the race course in her car to ensure that team members are safe and to provide transportation to those that need help. Her dedication to this volunteer job is an inspiration to all of us. She has had a direct positive effect on the health of the Team Transplant members.

  • SteveP

    To me, what Alysun does is beyond the coaching and encouragement. It’s the whole CONCEPT of TEAM TRANSPLANT. I was lucky in that I skated through the actual transplant. Many aren’t. For many recovery can be hard. Alysun’s magic is in reaching OUT to this group and pushing – or sucking! – them in to a group that encourages activity and a focus on regaining health. My transplant may have been “easy” but my lifelong history of depression isn’t. Being sucked into participating in a group (a first) based on a sort of isolationist thought of the goal of being able to run a half marathon is – slowly – morphing into actually feeling a part of the group. Scary! 🙂 But win or lose, “Thanks” Alysun – And all of the TT regulars.

  • Nancy

    As a transplant patient, your primary goal is to survive. Coach Alysun is the heart of team transplant which has moved me beyond surviving, to thriving! Before I became sick, I would have never had a thought about a half marathon, ever! It took me 23 minutes to climb 17 stairs when I came home from the hospital, and I remember thinking surviving a transplant was all I could do. Coach Alysun motivates you to keep moving and once you do you are hooked. The team transplant community encourages you to get out in the sun, in the rain, to wander through the various neighborhoods and parks in Seattle, to be encouraged and to encourage others along your training route, whether you are walking or running, it is all about the journey. Coach Alysun inspired me to do something I never thought I could do and created an athlete in the process. Along my journey, Each of my family members have come along to practice or a race, as have other friends thoughout the country, supporting “my” efforts. Many of them running for the first time in their lives for me. Friends contribute songs to a play list for my half marathons so they can virtually support your race as they walk/run the same day in their own city in solidarity. My friends are now hooked, and that bit of inspiration is being multiplied across the country and the world. It takes someone special to inspire such commitment, volunteerism in planning routes, setting out cones or providing water stations on your day off, and to encourage others to better health. It takes a village and out village is growing in new and unique ways! Survive.Thrive. Together!

  • Jeremy Ruta

    Coach Belinkie, or Coach B as we refer to him, is very deserving of this award. I have been on the XC, indoor track and outdoor track teams since 7th grade. I decide to come back each season because I know that Coach B will push me to improve. I have improved each season due to Coach B and how he sets me up for success. He devotes so much of his time to the team as a whole and to everyone as an individual. He does a great job of balancing hard work and fun when it comes to what we do as a team. Coach B is very adamant about putting in the hard work. He pushes us in practice because he knows that putting in the hard work will help us in reaching our goals as a team and as individual runners. But he also has added some elements of fun to the team. Each XC season, Coach B creates a competitive fantasy football league where anyone on the team can join. Also we have team dinners during each running season where we further strengthen our bond as a team. We also will have an occasional game day, where we play anything from ultimate football to capture the flag, and slurpee run, where we run to the nearest 7-Eleven and have slurpees. I have enjoyed being on the many teams I have been with a coach as motivating and inspirational as Coach B and I look forward to the upcoming XC season.

  • Carla Trulson-Essenberg

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  • Daniel Weiss

    Not only does Coach Jason Belinkie push you to your limits as a runner and an individual, he creates a sense of community and welcomeness within the CEJDS community and team. He is incredibly attentive to everyone’s specific strengths and weaknesses. Watching him bring in Eithiopian refugees to take part in JDS practices and be a part of the JDS families was incredibly meaningful. He is my hero!

  • Laura Blumenfeld

    The kids call him Coach B, but the parents know him as A+ Jason.

    Coach Jason Belinkie inspired our 16 year old son to run with Ethiopian political refugees, our 14 year old daughter to run her first half marathon and help organize a charity track meet which raised over $1,500, and our 11 year old son to launch into a summer of serious training even though he doesn’t start CESJDS until September.

    Most of what Jason does though, takes place below the radar. His generosity is matched by his modesty, and so much of what he does for others goes without public credit. That, in fact, is the highest form of charity.

    Thank you Coach B!

  • Rebecca Weiss

    When I joined the cross country team in the fall of 7th grade, I had never run a mile. In fact, I had never run at all. My mother was forcing me to do a sport. It was the first day of school and I couldn’t find my tennis racket. All I had were sneakers, so I followed my older brother and joined cross country.

    At first, it was a painful chore, but because of Coach Jason Belinkie, running is now the part of my day I look most forward to. Coach B taught me that running isn’t just about physical effort, it’s much bigger than that. Running is about fun, friendship, dedication. Coach taught me that running is a metaphor for life itself. He taught me about determination, endurance, and how far grit can take you.

    One of the many things I admire about Coach B is how he maintains a 70 person team, but we all feel like a family, and we all get personal attention from him. He cares about every one of us, and finds the magic motivation for each individual to get the times they want, and unlock their personal best.

    The other day my mom asked my older brother what he wants to be when he graduates. He said: I just want to be Coach B.

  • Zander Tassart

    Coach peebles really improved my view of life and what it means to work hard. I was at first a moderate runner, until I joined the JBS Cross Country team and became the best runner in the freshman division through hard work, and determination. I returned for track season to be greeted with even more coaches, but coach peebles was still there and still helping me become the runner I am meant to be. I hope he wins, because for everything he’s done for me, the Cross Country, and Track team he deserves this for all his hard work.

  • Adam

    I am 11 years old. I got to run in 3 All-Comers Meets held at John Burroughs High School. It was pretty cool! Thanks to Coach Peebles and the Burbank High School Coach that work together to put on the All-Comers meets that invites the community and runners from other schools to put on their sneakers and come out to race. Runners as young as 5 years old and families come out to run, race and have fun. It’s a blast!!!!

    Coach Peebles is the best choice for the Brooks 2016 Inspiring Coach of the Year!

  • Angela

    I have read about all 13 coaches and many of the comments. What an inspiration! Thank you Brooks for giving this wonderful opportunity to share with the world the amazing inspiration all 13 of these individuals are to runners and their communities. Congratulations to all of them for being an inspiration to so many people. Just two words best describe Coach John Peebles. “Selflessness and humble.”

  • Garrett Boulais

    I had the pleasure of being coached by John Peebles in Cross Country and Track, as well as having him as a calculus teacher. When I started as a freshmen I was one of the slowest kids on the team. I knew I liked running, but when I first started I wasn’t super passionate about it. However that did not matter much to Peebles, as he only asked that his athletes give their best effort in practice. He did not have favorite athletes on the team. In fact if his star athletes were goofing around he would immediately call them out in front of everyone. Every day it was clear that he only wanted his athletes to do the best that they could do, and he was content if we accomplished this while not being the fastest team in the league. For me, this had a huge impact on my running career. I was not the most talented runner on the team, but I dedicated myself to work hard and trusted that he would make me a better athlete. He not only did this, but also shaped me into a better person. Peebles does not immediately come off as an emotional person, but I eventually saw that he is the most kind and generous man I have ever met. It took a while to realize this because he does ask for attention or praise for doing good work, instead he just goes out and does it. Overall, I think John Peebles definitely deserves this award to get the recognition for all of his work, kindness and dedication. I would not be where I am today without him.

  • Kinsey Smith

    Coach Anders Brooker is one of the best people I have had the honor of knowing. As a runner on a team of over 100 kids and myself being one of the kids at the back of the pack, you might think it would be hard to connect with a coach who is trying to get a team to state. However, with Anders that is not the case. After every run and workout we did, he would always ask about something that I did that day. He might ask how my long run went or ask if I felt any improvement in my running after a few hard workouts. Not only is Anders concerned about running though. He is concerned with who you are as a person. He takes the time to get to know each and every one of the kids. Not just their names but a little bit about them. He hosts potlucks for the team and their families so that he can get to know the people who are supporting his athletes. He hosts a campout at a lake nearby our town for two days just so that kids can get to know each other. Sure, we do some running up there but the majority of the time is dedicated to everyone getting to know each other. He makes the new kids put on skits for the retuning runners and it is REQUIRED that they are hilarious. A coach who only cares about winning wouldn’t do that for his team. The reason our cross country team is so large is because of Anders. Without Anders, no one would be interested in a sport that consists of running and only running. He makes running fun and inspires a long chain of lifelong runners. He is dedicated to providing all athletes with the best experience possible on the team while having the most fun of their lives. Out of all the people I have ever met, Anders is one of the most genuinely good people I have ever met and for that alone, he deserves this award a million times over.

  • Izzy May

    Coach B has been one of the most influential coaches I’ve ever met. When I first joined the team, I could barely run at all. A year later, I was running sub seven minute miles and was going on over seven mile distance runs under my training with Coach B. This year, right before my middle school championships, I got an injury that I expected to keep me out for the rest of the season. Coach B helped me by carefully monitoring my training for the next couple weeks, and eventually I discovered that I was able to compete in not only High School championships, but in an invitational track meet as well. During that race, I broke my previous PR that I had gotten before my injury. Coach B has helped me improve my training with every practice spent. Thanks Coach B!

  • Mitch Malkus

    Jason Belinke, Coach B, as we call him at CESJDS is one of the most inspiring, dedicated, and committed athletic coaches I have seen in my fifteen years as a Head of School.
    Coach B is beloved by his team and their families. He takes a special interest in each of his runners and spends the time getting to know them as people. He sets individual goals for each runner and recognizes each runner’s unique talents and skills. One of the highest compliments I can give Coach B is that he has inspired both our strongest runners and those new to the sport. Coach B is an outstanding role model for his team and models the behaviors he expects from his runners.
    Coach B is also dedicated to his team and their families. Coach B looks beyond the work he does with his runners to cultivate relationships and fosters a growth mindset among the runners. He is often in touch with families outside of the running season and makes it a point to hold special events for his team.

    Coach B. is an inspiration

  • Skyler Stark-Ragsdale

    My name is Skyler Stark-Ragsdale and I have spent my last four years of High School running for Coach Anders Brooker, one of the most inspiring people I know. He always gets the best out of everyone, whether they are the slowest, or fastest on the team. He manages to make running fun, and make people believe that they can accomplish something they never thought possible. For instance, I remember the first time Anders enabled me to believe I could do something amazing. One day before practice Sophomore year, he pulled some of the underclassmen boys aside. It was the day before a big indoor meet in Pocatello, Idaho, that we were planning on going to. Anders stood in front of the ten of us and said, “you guys can be good, or you can be great.” At the time, I hadn’t taken running as seriously so I had never thought about ‘being great.’ He then continued to say that we were the next leaders on the team, and that, if we put in the work, we could truly accomplish something amazing. After this, he left the room, letting us ponder potential greatness. As expected, within months we were running 50 or even 60 miles a week, making the choice clear.
    Not only is Anders inspiring, but he continues to surprise me with his overwhelming warmth and optimism. He keeps everybody’s mood up, while maintaining direction of over 100 people. When weather is less than ideal, he makes a point in joking about the light mist (usually pouring rain) coming from the sky. When someone is nervous before a race, he seems to lighten their mood immediately, telling them to just “relax, have fun, and run hard.” Anders is both an amazing coach and an amazing person. He has made a profound impact on my (and hundreds of others’) life that I will never forget.

  • Rick

    when will you tell us the winner? and how will we know?

    • Hi Rick. We’ll announce the winner before Monday here on the blog and on our social media channels. Stay tuned!

  • Ashley Mykel Mix

    Ashley Mix
    I had the pleasure of being apart of Anders Brooker’s cross country and track teams throughout my high school career. Anders has an amazing way of making sure each runner on his team feels important, from his top varsity runner to the last one to cross the finish line of the JV race. I truly believe that my time with him helped shape me into the confidant person that I am today. During my time on his cross country team I was diagnosed with cancer and forced to miss part of a season, he was there for me on and off the track including my family throughout the whole process, he even sent my mom and I to a spa day to relax! Because of his support that he will always hold a special place in my heart. There is no one out there more deserving of this award in my eyes!

  • sap_phire

    Coach Peebles is the greatest coach I have come across. He makes you want to work and inspires you to improve yourself and look beyond the running. To utilize all your resources and build upon your successes in the sport and in life. He makes you see and set goals for you and day in a day out he teaches us how to attain them. He personally inspires me to prioritize and run hungry. Being apart of his team is a prize all in itself and it’s surprising to see how much a single man can care and work tirelessly for so many people. His success as a coach and teacher isnt something to be taken lightly and although he isn’t always a ray of sunshine, being his althete you can rely on coach Peebles to be as invested and caring as any parent. Peebles deserves this

  • Peter Kirgis

    My name is Peter Kirgis, and I moved to Montana from New York in my senior year, and became an athlete under Anders Brooker. Although I’ve only known Anders Brooker for a year, he’s been the most important force in my educational and athletic career. After only a couple months of knowing Anders, when I was asked to write about an inspiring person for a college essay, I didn’t hesitate with my decision. I knew this because of Anders’ unique ability to inspire and connect with young kids. Anders makes running more than just a sport; he inspires his athletes to challenge themselves in every aspect of their lives. Anders takes over 100 athletes each year, and connects with each and every one of them, regardless of skill level. In a world of under qualified athletic coaches, Anders stands alone in his ability to touch lives, and he has touched mine like no other.

    Thanks for naming him a finalist!