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Brooks Crowns Most-Inspiring High School Coach

  • By Duncan Larkin
  • Published Sep. 27, 2012
  • Updated Sep. 27, 2012 at 10:19 AM UTC

Wisconsin coach Paul Raley was chosen for his lifelong dedication to the sport.

From: Running USA

BOTHELL, Wash. — Inspiring his athletes, school administration and his community to Run Happy with his own selfless commitment and passion for track makes Coach Paul Raley stand out from the pack. A willingness to volunteer personal time and pay out of pocket to restart the track and field program at the high school where his coaching career began over 30 years ago earned him the title of 2012 Brooks Inspiring Coach of the Year.

Leading running company Brooks Sports, Inc. has announced Coach Paul Raley from Benton High School in Benton, Wis., its 2012 most inspiring coach. In nominations from his runners, fellow coaches and community members, Raley was described as someone who “loves the sport and passes that love along to his athletes” and whose “dedication and commitment to his athletes serve as inspiration to all who know him.”

“We created the Brooks Inspiring Coaches program to recognize the unsung heroes in our sport who hit the track and trails every day to make a lifelong impact in the lives of young runners,” said Jim Weber, president and CEO of Brooks Sports, Inc. “Inspirational coaches teach lessons on the run that go well beyond the next race or even the next year. We believe it’s important to reward these individuals for the impact their knowledge, time and guidance make in helping their teams achieve both athletic and personal greatness well beyond high school.”

Coach Raley has inspired more than just his athletes on the track – his drive has united schools and communities. He single-handedly funded the Benton High School track program for more than four years, and that commitment is motivating the school district to fully fund the program in 2013. He also created a co-op track program with the neighboring Scales Mound High School in Illinois, giving it the long-awaited opportunity to have a track team for the first time. His daily efforts include searching out available practice locations – neither high school has a track – recruiting other volunteer coaches and increasing team participation to a third of the school’s total enrollment.

“I am so touched and thankful to be named the 2012 Brooks Inspiring Coach of the Year,” said Coach Raley after receiving his award to a standing ovation during a community pep rally at Benton High School. “It’s rewarding to hear I’ve made such a positive impact on so many of my athletes. With all the amazing coaches across the U.S., I am humbled to receive this great honor.”

As the 2012 Brooks Inspiring Coach of the Year, Coach Raley receives $12,500 in Brooks performance running gear and cash for his school. He also gets an invitation for two to attend the 2013 Brooks PR Invitational, a national track meet where the fastest high school runners compete against one another and chase their personal records.

Coach Raley reigns among an impressive group of 25 finalists who were announced in July. Other honorees include:

  • * Pete Boudreaux, Catholic High School (Baton Rouge, LA)
  • * Jerry Loveall, Velma-Alma High School (Velma, OK)
  • * Mark Buesing, Libertyville High School (Libertyville, IL)
  • * Kay Nekota, Vacaville High School (Vacaville, CA)
  • * Mike Buslepp, Romeo High School (Romeo, MI)
  • * John O’Malley, Carl Sandburg High School (Orland Park, IL)
  • * Hernando Chavez, Taos High School (Taos, NM)
  • * Israel Pose, Torrance High School (Torrance, CA)
  • * Christian Cuthbert, Veritas School (Richmond, VA)
  • * Joseph Prince, Sahuarita High School (Sahuarita, AZ)
  • * Jeremy Darby, Landrum High School (Campobello, SC)
  • * Wayne Roberts, Sandusky High School (Sandusky, MI)
  • * David Davis, Mountain View High School (Stafford, VA)
  • * Dan Scroggins, Lake City Community School (Lake City, CO)
  • * Julie Fink, Runnels High School (Baton Rouge, LA)
  • * Mark Shafer, Chardon High School (Chardon, OH)\
  • * Scott Griggs, Franklin High School (Seattle, WA)
  • * Arthemon Sindayigaya, Abilene Christian High School (Abilene, TX)
  • * Eric Heintz, Marist School (Atlanta, GA)
  • * Ben Talsma, Crossroads Charter Academy (Big Rapids, MI)
  • * Marcus Jackson, Sheffield High School (Memphis, TN)
  • * Melissa Thomas, Manchester Valley High School (Manchester, MD)
  • * Victoria Jones, Mill Springs Academy (Alpharetta, GA)
  • * Connie Washnik, Park Ridge High School (Park Ridge, NJ)

Each of the Inspiring Coaches finalists will receive $5000 in Brooks performance running footwear, apparel, and accessories, $500 in cash for additional team expenses, and membership into the Brooks Inspire Daily (I.D.) program. For more information about 2012 Brooks Inspiring Coach of the Year Paul Raley and all of the top 25 Inspiring Coaches finalists, visit:www.brooksrunning.com/inspiringcoaches

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Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin is the news editor at Competitor.com and a freelance journalist who’s been covering the sport of running for over five years. He’s run 2:32 in the marathon and won the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race in 2007. His first running book, RUN SIMPLE, was released last July.

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