Track and field and cross country head coach Russ Jewett recently received the honored distinction of MIAA Coach of the Year.
Jewett has been a full time member of the coaching staff at Pitt State since 1985. In his career, he has received this honor 41 times since 1989, and holds the distinction of receiving the honor more than any other coach in the league. Jewett feels fortunate to have been awarded Coach of the Year again and puts the responsibility of the accolade on his team.
“It was rewarding and humbling at the same time,” Jewett said. “I am fortunate to have such great kids competing for us and outstanding assistant coaches – specifically Ben Barrows for cross country this year. They all really make me look like a better coach than I really am.”
The cross country season has now wound down and Jewett is proud of his team for how far they had come during the season.
“The victory at the MIAA Championships for our women’s team, when Jordan, Cassidy and Katren took the top three places,” Jewett said. “(I was proud of) the men’s regional meet performance. We were not ranked in the top 10, and our men had their best team race of the year, placing eighth out of 28 teams. (We were) very close to fifth in terms of team score… (I also loved) the women’s reaction when we learned that we finished third at the regional meet in a tie-breaker. The top three teams (automatically) qualify to the national championships.”
Jewett said that in his history as a coach, the conference championships have created some of his most precious memories.
“All the conference championship meets gave me fond memories,” he said. “Because the whole team comes together to compete for each other at that meet. It’s the culmination of the entire season’s work for all the team members. “
All of his teams are extremely important to him, and are his favorite part of being a coach. He is always proud to help be such a part of their lives both in college and beyond.
“(My favorite part of coaching) is seeing the student athletes grow in character and forge lifelong friendships with each other,” Jewett said. “Also seeing the student athletes graduate, move off, start their post-college life and then return to visit and reconnect.”
The cross country season may be over, but indoor track and field is just getting started. Jewett is on to the next season, holding the honor of the past season in his heart.
“Looking forward to hosting another National Indoor Championship on the Harvey Dean Track in the Plaster Center,” Jewett said. “Looking forward to continuing the work with these young men and women to overcome challenges and help them chase their athletic and academic goals and dreams.”