A running magazine shipping mistake led head cross country and track coach Jeff Jenkins to find his lifelong passion and future career in running.
“I got a free running magazine subscription through my school when I was training for the Auburn Special Olympics torch with my Dad, and the magazine was given to me by my high school’s head track coach and he asked me me if I wanted to run,” said Coach Jenkins. “And I said no I play other sports, but the seed was planted that got me interested in running track.”
Jeff Jenkins would try out for baseball that year only to get cut, so Jenkins decided to take the track coach up on his offer. Jenkins did not take seriously at first, but his competitiveness would lead him to strive to become team captain. Jenkins found his passion in wanting to become coach while assisting his coach, leading him to go to Huntington College for a coaching education degree and to continue his running career. After a quick semiprofessional running career, Jenkins became the head cross country coach at Piedmont College, where he is passing on his passion to more runners today.
“Coach Jenkins is a great coach, not only because he’s knowledgeable about the science behind running, but also because he is very caring person,” says senior cross country and track athlete Mackenzie Devine.
Being a senior, Mackenzie is one of the few people on the team that have known Coach Jenkins all four years he has worked at Piedmont. She has had the ability to watch him grow in his coaching abilities as the cross country team grew and as he started the track team at Piedmont three years ago.
“I think this workouts are effective in making you the best athlete you can be,” said senior Nate Crews. ” But more importantly, he works to be a mentor so I can be successful in life.”
Crews sees Jenkins strive to make his athletes the best they can be on and off the track.
Jenkins recalled what was his drive and motive that kept him going in his passion for running.
“I continued to run even as the really competitive races started to be further in the rear view mirror, I realized what drove me from the beginning – that very first track race – it was all about the competitiveness.”