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Alumnus Doug Daniel returns to coach, remembers past

Doug Daniels college photo
[/media-credit] First year cross country coach at FC, Doug Daniel has returned to his alma mater after graduating from Fresno Pacific University in 2013.
First year cross country coach at FC, Doug Daniel has returned to his alma mater after graduating from Fresno Pacific University in 2013.

Daniel developed a great passion for running at an early age. Holding not only one but several school records, Daniel did not only placed 6th in the Central Section Cross Country Championships (CIF) in his senior year, but also represented FC for many track and field championship meets.

“I remember as a preschooler I looked forward to running after school. I would have run forever if I could,” Daniel said. “My mom has a story of me while I was an infant. Before I could walk, I would be running in circles in my walker.”

Dedicated to his running career, Daniel first began track at FC in 2006.

“The first time I ran track, was my 8th grade year in junior high,” Daniel said. “In my final meet, there were four guys trying to block me out. I got to pass them and they got to pass me, it was a close race. They caught me by the end, but I ran a minute faster than my previous personal record and I felt okay with it.”

Back in 2006 the cross country team was first introduced to FC by, Mr. Ericlee Gilmore, who passed away in Sept. 2014. Although having a hard time adjusting to the new program, Daniel made it through his sophomore year.

“The first time I ever did cross country was when I was a sophomore in high school. Because it was the first year we had a team,” Daniel said. “It is a tough thing to say, but my first year I ran competitively in my sophomore year.”

After graduation from FPU in 2013, Daniel returned to FC to coach for the first time for the junior high and varsity cross country team. Daniels says that his dedication to FC stemmed from the memories he made there as a student.

“I love FC,” Daniel said. “Honestly, I would rather coach here than in a big school. Not that a big school wouldn’t hire me, but because I experienced a major portion of my life at Fresno Christian.”

Inspired by Ericlee Gilmore, Daniel dreamed to go back to FC.

“Cross country here was something that helped shape me and I always wanted to come back. It was kind of my dream,” Daniel said. “I always wanted to come back here and coach and work with Gilmore, but that didn’t get to happen.”

Although Daniel’s dream of coaching alongside Gilmore did not get to come true, Daniel found new motivation for him to stay in FC.

“I love the kids here and love the school,” Daniel said. “It just seemed like a good fit for me. I received so much help here and I just have to go back and give back.”

Ever since Gilmore introduced Daniel to running at 4th grade, Daniel has looked up to him.
“I did a track camp with Gilmore while I was in 4th grade and I had a lot of fun,” Daniel said. “Coach Gilmore put the team together. He rose funding and did a great job. The best coach in the world.”

As assistant coach, Daniel makes decisions and works back and forth between the junior and varsity teams.

“I felt that as far as running goes, I know exactly what to do. I have learned a lot mostly from my coaches who have been excellent,” Daniel said after the team?s third meet at Firebaugh High school. “What really has been a challenge has been just the logistics of the sport. I do not always know how I am goanna communicate with parents or how I handle discipline issues.”

At FPU Daniel joined the cross country and track team and met another inspiring coach, Eric Schwab.

“Eric Schwab is also a great coach,” Daniel said. “Eric Schwab wasn’t a strict discipline coach, but you always knew he care about the kids and that’s what kind of motivated us because you know that the coach cared about you and you didn’t want to let him down.”

With five cross country season meets left, Daniel is working towards not only bettering the team, but also learning from the team to become a better coach.

“Honestly I love coaching more than I have ever liked competing,” Daniel said. “I want to be a coach like that where the athletes would want to work for me. Because they know that I care about them and I want them to be the best they can be.”

With FC students and multi-scholars, the FC varsity team made up just enough runners to compete as a group. Coach Daniel shows his great passion in cross country running and practicing next to runners. Daniel sets his goal for this year to not only become a better coach, but also train him for longer distance races. Daniel will participate in Two Cities Marathon and Half as well as other meets in the next year.

This writer can be reached via Twitter: @fmichael_0501.

For more sports, read Oct. 17 article, Seasoned senior brings leadership, experience to team.

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