| March 24, 2018

Track & Field: Coaching For His Country

Idaho track and field director Tim Cawley received an email in January of 2015 that he had been selected as the head coach of the  2016 U.S. Indoor Women’s Track and Field World Championship team.

“I pulled it up and saw that it was the head coach position for the world championship and it was a bit of a double check to see if it was right,” Cawley said. “It was exciting and it was pretty neat to know that I was going to have that honor.”

The 2016 Indoor World Championship took place in Portland from Mar. 17-20. The meet marked the first world championship held on U.S. soil since 1987.

Cawley said the competition in his home country made the experience even more special.

“It’s different the way the team handles things and it works because you’re more comfortable at home, so it’s just a different dynamic all around,” Cawley said. “To represent USA in that manner is a tremendous honor in any time you get that situation. But when it’s at home then you’re defending home soil — it’s pretty special.”

Cawley said becoming a member of the U.S. team coaching staff is a lengthy process and he waited a long time for the opportunity.

“The first few years I’ve put in, you typically don’t hear anything,” Cawley said. “But then the more you are involved and the more your resume gets better, the more people you know and then more opportunities that come your way.”

Cawley said the coaching position of the U.S. women’s world team encompasses many different duties, including strategic team organization.

“It’s basically organizing information for the athletes so they’re in the best spot they can be,” Cawley said.

The head coach had the opportunity to work with a variety of prominent coaches on the staff, including sprinting and hurdling coach Damu Cherry, distance coach Mary Shea and jumping coach Lynn Smith.

“It was an honor and a pleasure to work with them and they did a fantastic job,” Cawley said. “We helped each other as much as we could.”

Cawley was also able to work alongside several world-class athletes. He said the team was interesting in that some of the athletes were young and experiencing only their first or second world championship.

“It was neat because of that dynamic of watching the young with the old, and some of the mentoring that went on,” Cawley said.

Despite the high caliber of the athletes, Cawley said humility was present in many of the team members.

“You don’t always see that at that level and the team was just really fun to be around,” Cawley said. “Being around those athletes at that level, to see their excitement and to see their enjoyment, it’s always neat.”

Cawley said he learned some key aspects from his experience that he will transfer to his own team at the University of Idaho.

“It was neat because not everyone had perfect success — even the ones that did have success, it wasn’t perfect — but they always ended it with a positive note,” Cawley said. “To see them always have some positive outlook, I think, is a tribute to why they made it to this level. They always find that positive thing.”

Mihaela Karst can be reached at arg-sports@uidaho.edu

(Photo Courtesy by Spencer Farrin)

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