60 year old Jim Tracy coaches cross country at San Francisco’s University High School. We are going to make it a priority of ours to meet him personally before too long since we live so close.
SF Chronicle High School Sports writer Mitch Stephens introduced Tracy to those of us who never knew about him in his November 23rd column “Coach enjoying wins while he can”.
Jim Tracy has ALS, better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. There is no known cure at this time. That is not deterring him from his passion; “I’ll coach as long as they’ll have me – as long as I can keep making a difference.”
If you are/were lucky to have a coach (or teacher for that matter) in your life that cared enough to “keep making a difference” we think you are/were lucky enough. Period!
Tracy’s coaching philosophy is “brutally honest and direct”…we like it a whole lot: “1- Show up; 2- Keep improving; 3- Enjoy what you do”. Like many things that have a great impact in our lives it is quite simple…all the verbiage boiled down to the basics. We have reminded our swimmers often this week that since they are at the pool, they have shown up; next we challenge them to improve.
We especially liked his comment about winning; “One thing I’ll never apologize for is winning. The way I see it, if someone is going to win, it might as well be us.”
In case you were wondering, his University High teams – boys and girls – have won 32 North Coast Section titles since 1993, the most of any school in any sport. They are also tied for the most state crowns in any division in California.
For you coaches out there, listen to what one of his athletes has to say about Tracy; “He’s the best coach I’ve ever had in any sport because he knows so much, he gives great individual instruction and he’s incredibly fair.”
Enough said for this week.