High school: Arcadia High School in Arcadia, California
Accomplishments: 2011 Cross Country Men’s State Champions, NXN National Champions, USATF Jr. Olympics Cross Country Champions, and winners of the USATF Junior Nationals, Coached Ammar Moussa to the individual title at the 2011 USATF Junior Nationals where he qualified for the World Championships and eventually placed 32nd and second American, California XC Coach of the Year in 2008.
What makes Coach Jim O’Brien so inspiring?
Two common themes showed up in the nominations about Coach Jim O’Brien. First, many of his runners mention that he teaches all his athletes the joy of running and what it means to Run Happy. The second common thread was the fact that he works with each of his athletes individually. As one former athlete wrote, “he takes the time and effort to personally get to know every one of his athletes, and then uses this knowledge to create workouts that will maximize results and allow them to reach their full potential.” He spends countless hours and his own resources to make sure his athletes get every opportunity available. One current athlete recounted a time when he had a season ending injury, his grades were falling, and everything was going downhill. At this time when all felt lost, Jim O’Brien was the only person who gave him hope. In the athlete’s words, he was “the one person who looked me in the eye and told me to keep going and pushed me towards excellence.” To sum up everything we read about Coach Jim O’Brien, here is one of our favorite quotes. “There are no specific instances in which he inspires the people around him, because there are no instances during which he is not.”