LaGrange High has put together an exceptional distance running program, and coach Brad Wilson is a big reason why.
Wilson spent five years as LaGrange’s head cross-country coach, and he also coached the distance runners during track season.
Wilson developed a program for the distance runners that paid big dividends, leading up to a second-place finish at the state cross-country meet last fall.
The track team also earned a second-place finish at the 2013 state meet, and the distance runners were a key part of that.
Now, Wilson is leaving that part of his life behind.
Wilson has accepted a teaching position at Northgate High School, so for the first time in awhile, someone else will be coaching the distance runners at LaGrange.
“It was a tough decision,” Wilson said. “I live up here in Peachtree City, and I got a job offer from Northgate High School right near my house. I couldn’t do that (commute) forever, but it was tough leaving the program and everything.”
Wilson believes the distance program will do just fine without him.
“There are some great kids in the program, and I have no doubt they’ll be able to keep on moving forward, and hopefully reach even bigger heights,” Wilson said.
Under Wilson’s guidance, the LaGrange cross-country team finished second in the state last fall, with four of the runners earning top-10 finishes.
LaGrange also finished second in the state in track and field in 2013, and the distance runners contributed heavily to that.
LaGrange had an exceptional corps of distance runners last year that included two-time state-champion Andrew Coggins, as well as Sam Bowie, Jonathan Pelham and Garrett Cashwell.
Wilson also coached Sarah Bearden, who had back-to-back top-five finishes at the state track meet.
“They were a special group for sure. They don’t come around every often,” Wilson said. “The last 12 months really have been fantastic, from cross country through track season. That core group of guys and girls, they were fun to coach.”
Coggins said Wilson deserves a lot of credit for helping him achieve so much in high school.
“I personally couldn’t have done it without him, and I know the whole team couldn’t have either,” said Coggins, who won two state titles in track and field. “He was more than a huge help.”
Wilson won’t be coaching this school year, but he believes he’ll get back into it down the road.
“I’m just going to be teaching, and we’ll see where that leads,” Wilson said. “It’s definitely something I don’t want to walk away from.”