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Will Wood Spotlight

Will Wood

Jeff Davis Girls Head XC Coach

16 Years of Experience

will.wood@jeff-davis.k12.ga.us

 

Please list some of the highlights of your team’s/individual’s accomplishments:

Track

Region Titles - 5 (2010, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017)

Region Runner-Up (2012, 2013)

State Title - 1 (2017)

Individual State Champions - 6 (4 in HJ, 1 in TJ, and 1 in Discus)

Cross Country

Started the XC program at Jeff Davis (MS & HS) in 2015.

Region Titles - 3 (2016, 2017, 2018)

Region Runner-Up (2015 - 1st year of the program)

State Runner-Up - 1 (2018 - 4th year of the program)

How long have you been coaching and at what schools? 

Currently in my 16th year, currently in 13th year at Jeff Davis County School,  previous served at Pelham City Schools (1 year), and Pierce County Schools (2 years).

How did you get into teaching/coaching? Did you have running in your background? 

Decided during my senior year of high school that I wanted to be a physical education teacher.  My mom played a huge role in that as she served 30+ years in education before retiring.  Originally coaching track and XC were not my primary goals as far as the coaching side of things.  Really thought that I wanted to be a head basketball coach going into my first year.  

As far as background goes I was a 3 sport athlete in high school (football, basketball, track/field).  Cross country was not offered at my school but I ran my share of road races during high school.  Going into college, I was recruited as a decathlete with a primary background in hurdling and jumps.  I continue to train and compete for FUN in road races (5K  to Half Marathon), as well as, Duathlons and Triathlons.  

What would you say is your overall coaching philosophy/motivation? 

I motivated by the relationships that I have built with past athletes,as well as, current athletes.  Being able to make a difference in a student’s life is what education and athletics is about. 

Do you have any mentors who have helped you throughout your career? 

I wouldn’t say that I had a specific person that has played a huge role in mentoring me.  I’ve take what I’ve learned from my high school coaches (all sports) and college coaches and adapted it to fit the situation I was in at the time.  Pairing those experiences with professional development along the way has allowed me to grow into the coach that I am today.  

I definitely have also watched successful programs and asked those coaches questions when I could to help fine tune the things I was already doing.  I think that is one thing that a lot of coaches have a hard time with is being willing to reach out to others for help or suggestions.  Being willing to do that can open many doors for you to grow and also helps you network for future opportunities to coach elsewhere.

How are you different now as a coach vs when you started? 

Definitely!  I was very eager as a young coach and lots of times I over coached.  I also had a hard time delegating responsibilities to other coaches or team leaders.  In both of those areas I think I’ve grown and learned to trust those in my program to handle responsibilities that they have been tasked with.  

I have also spent a lot of time doing professional development for both XC and track/field.  Which has allowed me to better understand the science behind why we train kids the way we train them, which allows me to easily adapt our training from year to year to be appropriate for they level of group that I have.    

Lastly, I learned to value the relationships that I’ve developed with athletes over the years.  And I truly believe that a lot of the success that I have had at Jeff Davis is the relationships and trust that I’ve established with the athletes along the way. 

What are the things about coaching that you really enjoy?

Professional development.  I had the opportunity to take USATF and USTFCCCA courses throughout my career.  Those courses have allowed me to grow as a coach and educator, while also helping me create a great network of coaches to reach out to when I have questions about something.  

Secondly, I think just seeing the impact that we can have on student athletes.  It’s always great to see former athletes stop by at practices to see the coaching staff and to interact with the current year’s team.  

What is your motivation for being a part of the GATFXCCA Mentor Program? 

Just wanted to be able to give back to the sport.  Track & Field and Cross Country has blessed me with so many opportunities to travel and impact student-athletes and I would like to be able to help other coaches to do the same thing.


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