Meet our Cross Country Coaches

You may recognize these faces from your local Gazelle Sports, but beyond those walls - these five are coaches. They are teachers. They are educators. They are passionate. They are inspirational.

These five are cross-country coaches, and have been for many years - changing the lives of many students.

With cross country season quickly approaching, we want to honor these five and their continued dedication to Gazelle Sports and to their team of runners. Helping others achieve goals they never thought possible, encouraging them to put in the work even though it might be challenging, to continue to work hard when you want to quit.

Jeff Brown -
Gazelle Sports Grand Rapids

What is your coaching story?
Having run competitively in grade school and college, I love this sport and want to share the experience with others. My goal is always to create a life-long love of movement and wellness in each athlete; any personal records or wins is just icing.

How many years have you been a coach?
Five years!

What you enjoy most about being a coach?
I love seeing each runner do what they might have thought impossible, both individually and as a team.

If you could tell your younger self one piece of advice about running, what would it be?
Make space for the breath and just breathe.

 

Taylor Evans -
Gazelle Sports Holland

Share with us your coaching story:
I fell in love with the sports of cross-country and track while running for Traverse City Central High School and it was then I decided I wanted to be a coach. I had a great role model coach that inspired not only greatness in the team but a lifelong love of running in each individual. My first coaching job was at Holland Middle School during my time at Hope College. After that I moved on to Assistant High School Cross-Country/Track Coach at Holland High School and then to Head Cross-Country/Assistant Track Coach at Allendale High School, where I have coached for the past five years.
How long have you been coaching?
I have been coaching for seven years total.
 
What do you enjoy most about being a coach?
I enjoy getting to know each of my athletes, helping create a positive team culture, seeing athletes improve over the years, and inspiring a lifelong love of running!
 
If you could tell your younger self one piece of advice about running, what would it be?
There will be highs and lows- enjoy the process.

Chris Inch -
Gazelle Sports Northville

Share with us your coaching story:
Livonia Stevenson High School:
Boys Head Cross Country Coach, 2010-2019

Boys Assistant Track Coach/Distance
2010-2019, Girls Head Cross Country Coach, 2011-2012

Walled Lake Western:
Boys Head Cross Country Coach, 2008-2009

Boys Assistant Track Coach/Distance, 2008-2009

How long have you been coaching
I have been coaching for 12 years now!
 
What you enjoy most about being a coach
I enjoy the various aspects of developing young distance runners and seeing the results with competitive teams.
 
If you could tell your younger self one piece of advice about running, what would it be?
Be patient and enjoy all aspects of the the process!

Josh Vork -
Gazelle Sports Holland

What is your coaching story?
After many ups and downs my first couple years coaching cross country, we were able to break through and qualify for the state meet for the first time in 25 years last year.
 
How many years have you been a coach?
This is my fourth season coaching cross country, I've coached track for 12 years.

What you enjoy most about being a coach?
My favorite thing about coaching is getting to work with amazing kids. Regardless of skill level in running, we have amazing people growing up in this community and it is an absolute honor to have even a small part of their lives.

If you could tell your younger self one piece of advice about running, what would it be?
The reason you keep getting hurt in the season is because you're not doing any work out of the season. To get the most out of yourself as an athlete, you have to do more than just the minimum.

Joshua Reynolds -
Gazelle Sports Grand Rapids

Share with us your coaching story:
Like many coaches, I had the opportunity to have some great high school coaches when I first began competing. They were able to do what I think is essential in most coaches: set the bar high, teach student-athletes how to set realistic goals, teach the meaning of hard work, how to be a good teammate, and to have fun. I was later put in the positive position of being a team captain in both high school and college. I enjoyed the leadership opportunity and mild coaching in this position. Later, working at Gazelle Sports Grand Rapids, had the opportunity to coach a few seasons for Run Camp. In 2002, I was approached by a coaching friend wanting to know if I would be interested in helping launch and coach a middle school cross country program for Grand Rapids Catholic. This was a very rewarding experience teaching myself and our athletes what does hard work look like and feel like, how much more can we push ourselves, and how to keep the fun and teamwork levels high. In 2004, Thornapple Kellogg high school’s Hall of Fame coach Tammy Benjamin was looking to add a boys high school coach to the program. On the day I was supposed to interview for the position, I had to call and ask for our interview to be rescheduled because my wife went into labor with our son. Now, 16 years later, my son Camden is on our high school team and I have the pleasure to coach my own child.

How long have you been coaching

18 years coaching total
(2004 - present) Starting my 16th year coaching at Thornapple Kellogg High School
(2002-2003) Grand Rapids Catholic/West Catholic middle school

What you enjoy most about being a coach
I enjoy the positive relationships I have made with my athletes and their families. I had the pleasure of knowing and growing with one family, through the succession of four children, for 12 years. I can honestly say, it was very strange to not have them around once all the children have graduated. Three of those ‘kids’ are now married with children of their own.
 
If you could tell your younger self one piece of advice about running, what would it be?
To be a better runner, it is the culmination of many miles over many days, months, and years. Months and years worth of training cannot be made up in the last few weeks of summer. Set realistic long and short term goals and be focused on the plan to get yourself there.