Coach’s Corner Profiles: Portsmouth’s Stan Lyford & Hinsdale’s Glenn Hammett

Stan Lyford, Portsmouth

Years XC Coaching: This will be my 41st season

Other coaching gigs, sports, schools:   Winter Track and Spring Track . LyfordWorking on my 42nd year.   All my years have been at Portsmouth

Accrued accolades: Walter A. Smith Coaches Hall Of Fame 2012, NHTFCA Hall Of Fame 2015, NHTFCA Peter J. Lovejoy Memorial Coach of the year 2015.

What got you into coaching? I was due to get out of the Navy and I had to figure out what to do next. I had always loved track and field and knew that I could no longer compete, so the next thing to do to stay involved would be to coach. I used my GI bill to get my Masters in Education, so I could teach and coach.

Where did you get your coaching philosophy? I often wonder that very question. Must have been from my family background.

Favorite coaching achievement: I told my team a few years back that if they qualified for the MOC (which Portsmouth had not done in 30 years) then I would shave my beard. The beard had been with me for 32 years. The boys qualified and moved on to the MOC so off came the beard. It looked terrible when I stated growing it out again so it stayed off.

Greatest Coaching Moment: Watching Cory Thorne set the course record at Derryfield and then moving on to All American performances at Louisville. Eric Jenkins winning both the State Meet and the MOC is not far behind.

Strength of Your Program: The number of kids involved in our program and the number of kids who have stayed involved with running after graduation.

Favorite Workout: 5 repeat 1000’s at threshold pace with one minute rest.

Words of Wisdom: If you want to be a successful coach, have great athletes. I used to think I had something to do with how well kids performed. Now I know that I have little control over how well they do. If they are good, they are good.

How do you pump up the team before a big race? I use to try huge motivation write ups for the team but I have found that just telling them to perform as they have all season gets the best results.

Three Athletes you would love to have dinner with:   I had dinner with Eric Jenkins in September before he started his pro running career with Nike. Getting information from someone who has performed with the best is incredible. Of course Cory Thorne is always a favorite but I have had a ton of kids over the years who have not made a mark on the sport but are outstanding kids to talk to.

Glenn Hammett, Hinsdale High School

Years XC Coaching: 6

Other coaching gigs, sports, schools: I started my high school coaching career as the jv boys basketball coach. I always wanted to coach cross country, so I approached the administration in my second year teaching. I’ve had the pleasure and frustrations of starting XC and track from scratch.

Accrued accolades: Not many to list yet. Two individual qualifiers for the MOC. Sportsmanship Award Boys and Girls 2011. Multiple Granite State All Conference athletes, and an all state athlete in track.

What got you into coaching? I love the sport, and as a teacher I love seeing kids passionate about something in their lives.

Where did you get your coaching philosophy? From my former coaches, current coaches around the state, books (I love John Wooden’s book, They Call Me Coach), and time spent as an athlete.

Favorite Coaching Achievement: Seeing a young man I coached change his life through running. He put in a monster summer before his senior year. He won two races, but fell short of his goal of making Meet of Champions. During the season, he decided that he would be the first of his family to attend college. He told me that running had given him the confidence to believe he belonged there. He went on to a premier engineering school on a full Navy ROTC scholarship. I still tear up when I remember the whole school cheering as he was called up for his award at class day that was presented by a high-ranking officer from the US Navy. That was one sweet salute we all witnessed!

Greatest Coaching Moment – Seeing an out of shape junior run 42 minutes for his first 5k. I thought about pulling him off the course, but he was so determined. He walked home from every practice and had more than his share of knocks in life. Who was I to pull him from reaching that finish line? He was elected captain as a senior. He ended up running 26 minutes – not a noteworthy time, but boy that was one awesome moment at the finish line when I showed him that stopwatch. I tell his story every season.

Strength of Your Program: Strong family feel and an understanding of what our school record holders and past captains did to seal their place in Pacer XC history.

Favorite Workout – The long run in Pisgah State Park, which ascends what past athletes named Spirit Breaker Hill. I also love true tempos for experienced athletes and repeat Daniels’ cruise intervals (around 1k) for newer athletes.

Words of Wisdom: not sure I’m wise enough for this section, so I’ll paraphrase John Wooden, “There is nothing stronger than gentleness.” and a little Billy Mills, “Every Passion Has Its Destiny.”

How do you pump up the team before a big race? I try to calm the athletes before a big race as they are usually a ball of nerves – no pumping necessary. I find it harder to pump them up for year round training!

Three athletes you would love to have dinner with: Billy Mills, Haile Gebrselassie, and Shalane Flanagan (with wife’s permission of course!)

Coaches you look up to: Bill Haberak (my former track coach in RI and RI Hall of Fame coach), Scott Clark (formerly of Sant Bani), Mike Smith (of Mascenic), Erin Kelly (of Conant)

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