Coach’s Profile Middle School: Deerfield’s Jim Mackenzie

Jim MacKenzie (Jimmy Mack)

Deerfield Community School9392

Years coaching XC: 8

Other Coaching Gigs, Sports, Schools

Baseball, Soccer, Basketball, Wrestling, Track and Field, and Cross Country

Accrued Accolades

Personal: 1982 NH Class L Cross Country Runner-up, 1982 and 1983 NH Track and Field State Champion, 1985 Coached NH Track and Field State Champion, UNH Cross Country and Track and Field 1983-87, World Champion Biathlon (cross country running and pistol shooting) 2003, Barcelona, Spain. 2003 Manchester Union Leader Athlete of the Month.

Coaching: 4 NH Middle School Cross Country Championships 2011, 2013, 2014, NH State Runner-up 2012, 2014 Individual State Champion, 12 Southeast League Cross Country Championships, 2010 NH State Baseball Champions and 2014 NH State Wrestling Champions.

What got you into coaching?

I wanted to share my experiences in life as an athlete to help inspire others to have confidence to believe in themselves. Sports are a great way to help prepare them for life’s challenges. Cross country running is the purest sport of all, it changed my life forever in the most positive way…..I want to pass it on to the next generation.

Where did you get your coaching philosophy?

The great New Hampshire melting pot. I have been fortunate to train with many of the greatest NH runners, Dean Kimball, Guy Stearns, Scott Clark, Steve Lavorgna and Bruce Butterworth. I have run for some of the best coaches this state has ever produced: UNH’s Jim Boulanger, Portsmouth High School’s Mike Grogan and Bob Wilson as well as Dartmouth College Dave Faucher.  I have coached alongside Coe Brown’s Brent Tkaczyk and Tim Cox. They have all been instrumental in my coaching philosophy.  I love running to the core, it is my life, running it’s that simple.

Greatest Coaching Achievement

The performance of our #5 runner Brett Richards Black Bear MS-4last year is arguably one of NH’s greatest achievements by any middle schooler. Brett is a student with special needs who endured a tumultuous week leading up to the NH State Championship.  He ran the race of his life, placing 4th overall to help lead Deerfield boys to win its third state title despite losing its #2 runner Ryan Devine to a broken foot a week earlier.

Biggest Disappointment

Just before the start of the 2013 cross country, I watched as one of my runners (Rose Robert) on the girls team ran by my house on a beautiful summer day. Just moments after I took my eyes off her, she collapsed in a ditch and died of an epileptic seizure. The image of her running that day is a memory I never will forget. A life cut too short, but a short life that will never be forgotten.

Greatest Coaching Moment

The 2013 Cross Country Season. The team rallied around the loss of their teammate (Rose Robert).  They wore black socks with a red rose on it in every race and dedicated the entire season in her honor.  The boys were undefeated, winning the Manchester Invitational, Thetford Woods Trail, Black Bear Invitational, the Southeast League Championship and the NH State Cross Country Championship.

Favorite Coaching Achievement

Winning both the 2014 Girls and Boys NH State Cross Country Championship, along with the individual NH State Champion Forest MacKenzie (Jim’s son) were great.

Strength of Your Program

Deerfield is a very small town that still has that old New Hampshire rural feel to it. We have great support from the community, the school and parents that are still willing to be involved.  We wouldn’t be anywhere today if it weren’t for Coach Sue Laskowsky. She is truly the backbone to our program. Her attention to detail and relationship to our runners works perfectly. The true strength of our team is from our young athletes that show up each day striving to be the best person they can be.  Each kid counts, like every piece to a puzzle.

Favorite Workout

Bear Brook summer runs on the trails and a swim.Deerfield Team

Words of Wisdom

“Run like your life depends on it…….it just might someday”

How do you pump up the team before a big race?

I keep everything positive and simple, believe in yourself and believe in each other

Three athletes you would love to have dinner with:

All you can eat wings with Ryan Devine, Dave Cook, and Brandon Richards. My top three boys, they earned it.

Coach you look up to:

Londonderry’s Larry Martin: His tireless work and dedication to the sport of cross country in the state of New Hampshire is fine example of a true living legacy.

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