From The Editor
Nevada’s Coach K
Lately, college coaches have been in the headlines — for all of the wrong reasons.
We're lucky at Nevada. We have a number of coaches who make headlines — for all of the right reasons.
Curt Kraft, women's track and field coach, is one of our very best coaches, and for good reason. In an age where college coaches can turn profane quicker than you can say Bob Knight, and others stretch the word "ethics" like a quickly discarded rubber band, Nevada's Coach K, a North Dakota native, is heartland wholesome.
I've known Curt for all of his time at Nevada, more than 13 years now. Nevada's Coach K refers to his athletes as "ladies" and has a rare parental concern for their futures (Coach K is himself the father of two daughters).
Often during lunchtime, I will wander over to Mackay Stadium to stretch out my 40-year-old legs for a few miles. Inevitably I will see Coach K, working with his athletes. The talk is sometimes about technique, how to increase one's leg turnover, how to squeeze an extra inch out of a stride between hurdles. Yet just as often, though, as I jog by Coach K and his athletes, I hear a different kind of technique talk — life technique.
"It might sound trite to some people, but I truly believe that we not only should strive to win, we should strive to help make our athletes better people, to help them during their four years at Nevada to become complete, well-rounded people," Kraft says.
One of our writers, John Wheeler, was putting the finishing touches on an "Alumni Profile" for this issue about Kristy Williams, a former Nevada sprinter who is now making a difference in Las Vegas. Williams works as an adult group counselor at Mojave Mental Health. Mojave, one of the University of Nevada School of Medicine's outreach programs, is a treatment center for severely and persistently mentally ill adults.
John called Coach K for a few comments about Kristy. He came away impressed.
"You don't talk to many coaches," John said, "who seem as genuine as Curt. He really does seem to care."
Coach K is old-fashioned, I know, but his method of expecting premium performance on and off the track works.
Nevada's track team consistently ranks among the top five nationally for highest team grade point average, and this winter, Nevada won the Western Athletic Conference indoor track and field championship. It's the first WAC championship not only for Nevada track, but for the entire athletic program.
We take a closer look at Coach K and his program in this issue. We celebrate a big WAC win. And, we celebrate one of the most dependable and successful employees at our university.
Congratulations, Coach K.