An interview with a busy coach

Coach feature – Cross-Country Coach Matthew Pence

Coach Pence has been running for years.

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Coach Pence has been running for years.

Q: How long have you been coaching at Armijo? Where and what have you coached before? What else have you done for work?

A: I have been coaching at Armijo since the year after I graduated. I graduated in June of 2009 and started coaching in December of 2009 for the upcoming track season. I started coaching cross country the following season (2010-2011 school year) and continued through my entire time in college. After college I became a science teacher here at Armijo to continue coaching.

Q: In the past, what have you done for work?

A: Teaching is my first job out of college.

Q: Why did you become a coach?

A: I wanted to try and help Armijo athletes have a better experience than I had. I wanted to try and go to bigger meets and give the athletes a chance to experience some things I never got to. I also had to end my own running career because of an ankle injury and still wanted to be involved with a sport that I enjoyed.

Q: How has COVID-19 impacted your season?

A: It has completely changed everything. Training was a mess because we weren’t allowed to do certain things we would in the past and we are running Cross Country in February and March, which is normally when we are in full Track and Field mode!

Q: What are your hobbies? What else do you do for fun?

A: Outside of coaching my biggest hobby is the trading card game Magic: The Gathering. I enjoy going to tournaments for that.

Q: Tell me about your family.

A: I have a brother who also coaches track with me and 2 sisters. We all graduated from Armijo. My parents are very helpful for me and help out as the Track and Field boosters since we are all on the same page about what needs to be done to keep the program running the way we want it to.

Q: What advice would you give to students considering going into coaching?

A: I think most coaches get into coaching because they have a genuine love for their sport and want to give back to it. I wasn’t considering being a coach until I was at the end of my running career and realized I would either be done with the sport or would be moving into coaching. Make sure it is something you love to be a part of and then find an experienced coach who can mentor you. I have had many different coaching mentors and I have learned valuable lessons from all of them that I have been able to apply to my programs.

Q: If you could change one thing about Armijo (students, facilities, staff, etc.), what would it be and why?

A: Facilities! There are always things that can be changed to make things run smoother or work better.

Q: Anything else you would like to say?

A: Everyone should consider doing a sport during their time in high school. It doesn’t have to be cross country or track but get out there and try something. You might find out you enjoy it more than you thought!

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