Bailee Cofer and Ryan Simms have been able to be found on the Pacific University track all year round for the past five years coaching their athletes how to throw/jump farther and run faster. The only thing different about both coaches this year is a change in their titles.
Up until this year, both coaches were assistant coaches to the previous head coach, Mathew Lydum. Now Cofer is the head coach of cross country, while Simms is the head coach of track and field. Both coaches assist each other in both teams.
“The only thing that changes is the title, and certain administrative aspects, but not a lot has changed,” said Cofer. “We are both excited to work with our athletes and keep developing them in the best way possible.”
With the sudden change in positions, the dynamic duo has found a way to balance the workload between each other and the two seasons.
“It’s nice because I can focus fully on cross country in the fall while Ryan is setting up for track because there’s a lot that goes into preparing for an outdoor and indoor track season, especially with a large team,” said Cofer. “Then in the spring I still work with my distance crew but I can help Ryan out with more of the administrative aspects.”
Both coaches have division one backgrounds in track and field but found a love for coaching athletes at a division three-level. Cofer ran distance at Drake University and Simms threw at the University of Oregon.
“My view of coaching division three is that my athletes are here because they love it and they have the drive to get better,” said Cofer. “They are not upset about the balance of sports and school.”
After four years of coaching track and field at Pacific, Simms is excited about change and the new direction the team is heading in.
“I plan to be a little more cohesive as a team, a little more team bonding, a little bit more understanding of each other so then that way going into championship season we are a bit more team-focused,” said Simms. “I think growing together will all around help the team be better and see improvements on everyone’s events.”
Both coaches are fan favorites amongst the athletes, so the two teams are in good hands with exciting futures. — Emily Rutkowski