Coach Tim O'Neill of Assumption High School in Davenport was named the USTFCCCA Coach of the Year for Girls Track in Iowa. This comes after an incredible year in which Joy Ripslinger and a squad of her teammates were named All-Americans at New Balance Nationals Indoor. Joy also went on to win the Drake Relays and set history at the Iowa State High School T&F Meet where she was the first ever to win the 400, 800, 1500, and 3000. The Assumption girls team also won the overall team award at the State meet with a score of 93, a full 16 points ahead of 2nd place Pella.
How did you feel when you find out you had been named Coach of the Year?
I felt excited. Anytime you get recognized for your work by any organization is great yet a National Organization is an amazing feeling that I get to share with all of our assistant coaches, athletes, parents and supporters of our program at Davenport Assumption.
What would you credit for your coaching success over the years?
There are a lot of people that I would certainly credit for the success that we have had at Davenport Assumption. First, to all of the assistant coaches that I have had the pleasure to work with throughout the years. All of them have brought so much to the table from their experiences as collegiate or even post collegiate athletes. It gives me a great opportunity to learn from all of them and sharpen the tools that I have in my coaching toolbox. It would be very easy to thank all of the coaches that we have at Assumption. We have some very successful programs in our athletic department. I think as an athletic staff, we bring the best out in each other. I was coached by incredible coaches when I was a prep back in the mid 1990's at Assumption. Some of those coaches are still there and some have moved on to other roles at various levels. That information is invaluable when coaches have that kind of access to each other and when coaching the same kids.
Second, the athletes that have bought in to our program. Track & Field is not an easy sell. We have kids that buy in and put an incredible amount of work in to the product you see on the track. It takes sacrifices and choices that may not always be the most popular for high school kids to make. That in itself separates some of these youngsters from others. Thirdly, our parents. Being a program that doesn't have our own facility, we have workouts all over the place. Most in which our parents are making sacrifices to get their kids to where they need to be. It can be strenuous on them too and I certainly appreciate all of them. Lastly, our support staff of alums, administration and all of our medical personnel that we lean on to help keep us healthy. There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes and these folks that have contributed in many different ways helps keep this machine oiled and working.
What advice do you have for other coaches?
I don't think there are any secrets or magic bullets out there. I would encourage other coaches to stay current with training philosophy and other ideas from great coaches. There are organizations like the USTFCCCA and USATF that offer coaching education. There are some great clinics out there to share ideas. There are also a lot of college coaches that are willing to spend time sharing their ideas on training with high school coaches and I urge coaches to constantly seek out to learn from others. The more knowledge we share, the better we are all going to be in the long run.
Check out the full list of coaches who won the award across the US here!