Coach Lee Webb of Mission Valley Track Club and James Logan High School
By Chioke Robinson (10/17/08)
Coach Lee Webb was born In Boise, Idaho. He lived and worked on a dairy farm most of his younger days where he learned how to work hard. A typical day would be waking up at 3-4 a.m. to move sprinkler pipes until 7 am, go to school, practice, then move more sprinkler pipes and go to sleep. He did 3 sports all through High School and college. His 9th grade year Coach Webb did Track and Field, Golf and Baseball all in the spring season. He was All State in 3 sports: Football, Basketball and a 3 time State Champion in the sport of Track and Field.
He attended Oregon State University, graduating in 1982 with a BS in Health and Physical Education. He received his Masters in 1992. Coached at 2 community Colleges before coming to James Logan High School in 1984. This will be Coach Webb's 25th year at James Logan High School. Other sports he has coached are: football, Cross Country. Beginning with the jumps for the first 15 years at Logan, he currently works with 400-3200 athletes. A passion of his is coaching The Special Olympics all year. More info on our James Logan Website www.logantrackandfield.com.
Coach Webb now let's us into his living room for a closer look at understanding his views on success.
- What was the reason you became a coach of track and field and stayed with Teaching, Coaching, and developing athletes as long as you have?
I love to compete in all sports. I was a good all-around athlete and started doing the decathlon in High school. I was State Champion in the decathlon while in Oregon. Learning all the events in the Decathlon really fascinated me and made me think coaching in the sport of Track and Field would be my best sport to convey my strength and wisdom as a coach. I have participated and coached every event in the sport of Track and Field from the hammer to the steeplechase. I feel my purpose on earth is to help others strive to be the best people to be. Your Life is measured by the influence you have on others. I have coached Football, Cross Country, Track and Field, and Basketball.
As a Teacher/ Mentor/ Coach, how has this changed your life and or affected your learning's and teachings in the sport of track and field in the development of future citizens?
Our motto is Developing Life skills through the sport of Track and Field. I feel honored to have worked and had experiences with all the coaches, athletes and parents and administrators in my 30 years of coaching. I have learned and grown and developed from all these great people I have met from the Olympians to the Special Olympic athletes I work with each day. I were to pinpoint the group of athletes who have affected or changed me the most it would be the Special Needs athletes. I have had to learn patience, hope, and realizing that all students at all levels of skill in our sport want to improve and go for the GOLD.
What is the most memorable experience that you have had in your career?
I can list 10, but there are so many...
- Watching my Special Needs athletes winning medals in the Northern California Championships. See Zac grow who has the use of one arm win 3 gold medals and bring the whole stadium to their feet as he wheeled his wheelchair 25 meters and stayed in his lane while waving and smiling all the way to the finish line.
- Girls Cross Country unranked win their 1st North Coast Title
- Watching Jernae Wright win the 100 and the Long Jump at Junior Nationals
- 2004 State Meet Girls and Boys Team- A Dream Team
- At the Olympian Clinic I was given an award by All the Olympians.
- Dunking a basketball over Richard Washington at an all star basketball camp.
- Watching Nate Robinson dunk every day at lunch
- Convincing Roy Williams he could sprint when he was a 10th grader
- When the 2006 Track and Field Team gave me and my daughters a trip for a week to Hawaii at the Track and Field Banquet.
- Aaron Richberg 800 win over Graville, Kelli White, Carla Estes, Kevin Craddock, Talia Stewart, Angelique Smith, Tim Prince, Sam Cavallaro, Nkosinza Balumbu , Kristina Davis and so many more students/athletes who reached a high level and worked very hard in their quest to be the best they good be. We have had many athletes represent the US in events and very proud to have worked with all the students my past 30 years. The list is so long, I cannot even believe I have had the honor to work with these students. Coaching with the NACAC team in 2004 was a great honor.
Kids today live by a different set of rules, How have you been able to keep your teams focused and centered enough to take what they learn on the track in the developmental process and apply this to everyday life, without being blinded by the winning by any means that tends to take over in today's athletics?
I try to take time to help as many as I can. Our philosophy for the staff is help students in any way they need help. The staff is very solid and we encourage life skill building. It is not easy when I come to class and there are 180-200 students in my class and many need extra support for optimal development as a student/athlete/person. My goal is to get the student to their next level of their life 4year College, 2-year college, trade school, job, or whatever it might be. I have never given up on people; I look at each year as a new beginning for them and me in our relationship as a coach/athlete. Winning is a process. Take care of all the little things and do the right things with the students and winning will take care of itself.
With Mission Valley and or James Logan, both have been well known for years for consistently having top athletes over the years, what are the things needed when attempting to put together another year of top scholar athletes? And what do you look for in specific athletes and coaching staff members?
I am looking for people who will work and understand that hard work will give you rewards. We have had great athletes, but we have many scholar athletes. Our team GPA was over a 3.00 last year and for the past 2 years the Cross Country Team has been a North Coast Scholar Team. We prepare as much as anyone. We plan, we talk, and we look at all the options for success. Great student athletes help others become great. I want people helping me who want to work to promote the sport and get involved with students on a daily basis. I preach not to miss days of practice. A minute lost in practice is never found. Do the best you can while you can and have no regrets. Do a variety of sports in high school and be involved in all you can and get as many experiences you can in high school.
In your best opinion, what is track and field in need of today, AND what Is YOUTH track and field in need of?
More exposure. Promoting the sport in all ways possible. Coaching and learning all the Track and Field events, especially the technical events, putting athletes in events where they have the most Potential in the long run. Coaches sometimes are not looking to what is best for the athlete when they get beyond college. My philosophy is that most students of our team should be able to jump and hurdle not matter what their specific area of expertise. Any athlete who has speed will long jump and try the hurdles. I am constantly encouraging athletes to do other events and at a young age this is so important. We need a simple and periodical progression of students so they can continue in the sport and reach their full potential. You do not need a lot of work when students are young. Teach students technique and the proper way to do tasks. Expose students to the whole sport and they will appreciate the sport more and will make a better impact on the sport when they get older. Lets get as many students in the Javelin, Pole Vault, Triple Jump as we do in the 100 and learn how to teach and progress the students in the events.
Can you explain the difference between a recreational program and a competitive program? And what interior and exterior things are needed to accomplish this?
The philosophy that I have not only encourages a competitive program but also a recreational program. This philosophy can take away from the more talented athletes but it also gets a large number of students that we can help make an influence on their lives. Students at the high school level who want to be the best they can be in Track and Field have ALL the resources needed in which they can take advantage of. We have great coaching, have access to clinics, and have access to the greatest coaching from Olympians to great coaches in the area. What is needed for a competitive program is a plan. The plan must start well in advance. Each day at our school there are announcements about the sport, training going on, people talking about the sport, have meetings, coaches planning out their season, and talking to students. The process starts early and is done daily for the students we know that can make a big impact on the upcoming season.
Your contributions to youth track are outstanding and commendable, and with so many economic and social challenges, personalities, gangs, drugs, and teen pregnancy, what is your motivation to keep on supplying the community with positive avenues to increase the possibilities for success? And do you have a solution or suggestion for those affected by the economic issues who want to compete in an expensive sport?
I am a teacher. I feel I was put on this earth to mentor, influence and help as many students, coaches, parents, and adults as possible. This is why our team is large, this is why we do many activities related to the sport, and this is way I am involved in numerous committees, organizations and causes at my school. I am involved in the community and outside the community with my dearest love-- Special Olympics. I take chances to help students, I give everyone a chance, treat everyone equal, and have some flexibility when dealing with the great diversity we have out on the field each day. When 2nd semester starts we will have about 200 students in our class.
To a lot of coaches out there, coaches tend to have a passion for helping people, but are passive in their approach, they hit road blocks with young people when trying to help lead them in a better direction, knowing that we will win some and lose some, and deal with disappointments, how did you survive and overcome those disappointing moments and what do you do when there is an athlete who does not "seem" to want to be helped? And what advice would you give to anyone who will deal with these types of issues? Is there a possible need for an ACTIVE Coaches Association?
I have done whatever it takes to help someone become successful and reach his or her goals. I do not think a student wants to come to school and fail. There always seems to be something that has deterred them from their path to success. Like I said before they may mess up one year, but to me each year is a new beginning. They must understand I can be hard but in the long run we are looking to get the most out of each ones God given ability. We want to develop the skills the student needs to reach their goals not only on the track but also outside the track. To make the right decisions means to make mistakes and learn.
With age group scholar athletes that are about to graduate on to high school and may have seen great success, I know you have turned to private or specialized coaching in some instances, how do you manage this scenario with youth athletes about to attend high school?
I have not relied/ turned to private coaching that much. On occasion this has taken place because of an athletes who has reached a high level of performance on the track and we look for resource's to help get them to their optimal potential. I feel the coaches we have on the staff have the skills needed to coach all the students we have.
Are there any accomplishments that have eluded you thus far and are there any regrets that you look back on?
I have been lucky to be placed in the position I have been in at James Logan High School. I could not have expected to be associated with so many great students, coaches, parents, and administrators. Even though it has been a battle to keep the program going, I am proud to say that a unique and great history for the sport of Track and Field at this school has been established. With the club team as well as the school team.
You seem to devote much of your time to everyone else, but what does Lee Webb do on his free time?
Most of my free time is sports related. I workout and still want to compete in the Masters (I am 51) the next few years. Going back to the farm and working is something I still love to do.
In the sport of track and field, we lose a lot of our best athletes to other sports and activities, how do you manage to successfully graduate these Youth athletes to a higher level of track and field?
It is constant battle with other sports. My goal each day is to at least talk to 2 new people about joining the sport of Track and Field. I am constantly talking about how this sport will help you in other sports. The main ingredient of all sport is moving from point A to point B as fast as you can. This is what our sport can teach better than no other sport. Our training is very scientific and if you have done your work a coach in the areas of biomechanics, movement, kept up with the scientific part of the sport we can improve performance in athletes faster than any other sport.
How do you feel about tutoring and mentoring the new younger upcoming Youth coaches? Is it a conflict of interest?
I think that we should, that we must mentor the younger coaches. Coaches with experience can help mentor younger coaches in many ways. It is in no way a conflict of interest. I believe that is one of my duties; as a Head Coach it is to get coaches on my staff prepared to run their own program, develop their philosophy of sport/of life. We all learn form each other. The clinics we put on are designed to give others a look on different ways to approach the events, coach events, and give resources to better themselves. It is really all about making everyone of all ages the best person we can be. We have all made mistakes along the way. When we think we know everything we are done as a coach, there is always more to learn and to give to our students.
How do you stay motivated?
I love seeing change in people. Each person is a new and different challenge. I love watching the great improvement in people. To me everything is a challenge and a learning experience. Each practice, each event, I love to do this because of the challenge. I want to do as much as I can to influence as many people as possible. I love to learn-psychology, physiology, and biomechanics. There is so much you can learn from this sport to make us better people.