Idaho track and field director Tim Cawley received an email in January of 2015 that he had been selected as the head coach of theÂ 2016 U.S. Indoor Womenâ€™s Track and Field World Championship team.
â€œI 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,â€ Cawley said. â€œIt was exciting and it was pretty neat to know that I was going to have that honor.â€
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.
â€œItâ€™s different the way the team handles things and it works because youâ€™re more comfortable at home, so itâ€™s just a different dynamic all around,â€ Cawley said. â€œTo represent USA in that manner is a tremendous honor in any time you get that situation. But when itâ€™s at home then youâ€™re defending home soil â€” itâ€™s pretty special.â€
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.
â€œThe first few years Iâ€™ve put in, you typically donâ€™t hear anything,â€ Cawley said. â€œBut 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.â€
Cawley said the coaching position of the U.S. womenâ€™s world team encompasses many different duties, including strategic team organization.
â€œItâ€™s basically organizing information for the athletes so theyâ€™re in the best spot they can be,â€ 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.
â€œIt was an honor and a pleasure to work with them and they did a fantastic job,â€ Cawley said. â€œWe helped each other as much as we could.â€
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.
â€œIt was neat because of that dynamic of watching the young with the old, and some of the mentoring that went on,â€ Cawley said.
Despite the high caliber of the athletes, Cawley said humility was present in many of the team members.
â€œYou donâ€™t always see that at that level and the team was just really fun to be around,â€ Cawley said. â€œBeing around those athletes at that level, to see their excitement and to see their enjoyment, itâ€™s always neat.â€
Cawley said he learned some key aspects from his experience that he will transfer to his own team at the University of Idaho.
â€œIt was neat because not everyone had perfect success â€” even the ones that did have success, it wasnâ€™t perfect â€” but they always ended it with a positive note,â€ Cawley said. â€œTo 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.â€
Mihaela Karst can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
(Photo Courtesy by Spencer Farrin)