BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Sports Writer
The Clarkston Girls Cross Country team wasn’t the only ones to receive accolades for the fall season.
Coach Kevin Breen was named Division 1 Girls Cross Country Coach of the Year and Larry Adams for the boys team was named Coach of the Year Finalist.
“To be voted on by probably about 200 of your peers feels pretty darn good,” Breen shared. “I didn’t really expect it. I knew I was in the running but after the win at the state finals, I knew I had a good shot. It was kind of cool.”
He added it means a lot to be recognized by coaches he has coached next to and has looked up to throughout the years.
“I am close friends with Matt Richardson from Troy. I have learned a lot from him and Larry Adams,” Breen said. “Both of those guys have earned coach of the year honors. Over the last 10 years I have looked up to them. If I had questions, I’ve asked. The guys who are constantly there at the finals to be recognized on the same platform or same level of them means a lot. Especially when you start out coaching and you are coaching against these guys and Larry – who is a legend and been coaching for over 30 years. Coaching with them and next to them, you look up to them. You want to get to the same level they are on.”
He added one of the biggest things he strives for as a coach is to learn how to do things properly and do things right.
“I know I have a lot of room for improvement, but to be recognized as coach of the year kind of makes me feel like I am on the right path,” Breen said.
The girls team finished as state champions this season and he said this group of girls has helped especially with coachability.
“It’s everything,” Breen explained. “Having runners who listen, that will take your word. I tell them they have to get in this many miles a week then I don’t have to second guess it. I don’t have to hound them. I don’t have to be there and hold weekend practices to make sure they are getting the mileage in. I think that’s why our team had so much success this year, because I could trust them to get the work in, to make sure they were doing the right things to be prepared, to be healthy, to be conditioned, and having that ability to trust your runners is huge.”
He added they also listen. They took what he told them and acted on it – implementing any advice into their racing and into their practices.
“We talk about mental toughness. We talk about being strong in the second half of the race,” Breen said. “Running for 3.1 miles as fast as you can is not easy, being in pain for nearly 20 minutes is not an easy task. Being able to coach that aspect of it and have your runners understand what you are talking about and trust you and what you are saying and believe in what you are saying is huge. It makes a difference in having a top tier team.”
Breen, a Clarkston High School graduate, began coaching the girls cross country team nine years ago and in the spring will celebrate 10 years coaching the track team.
BY WENDI REARDON PRICE