Recently, HSC Blog sat down with John Goodridge, the men’s cross country head coach. Hot off a conference win, we had some simple questions for him. But first, a little background.
John Goodridge is a track and field and cross country coach originally from Long Island, New York. He received his undergraduate degree at Long Island University in 1972, and his graduate degree from the University of Michigan in 1975. His coaching career began as the Michigan State women’s cross country head coach, where he took them to their first Big Ten Conference championship. In 1984 he became Wake Forest’s Head Cross Country Coach. During his stint at Wake Forest, his teams had four Atlantic Coast Conference championships, as well as coaching 19 athletes to 35 All-ACC honors. In 2001, Goodridge took over as head coach at EMU.
How long have you been coach at EMU? What is your background?
I Started at EMU January 2001. Had previously been the Head Track and Field /Head Cross Country Coach at Wake Forest University for 15 years.
While at Wake Forest coached team to four ACC Cross Country Championships, 7 NCAA National Championship appearances including an ACC record third place finish.
Upon coaching EMU to a 3rd place National Championship finish (2002) I became one of just two active men’s coaches in the country to have coached two National Championship podium (top four) teams at two different institutions.
What is an average day like for you?
My days start early as my wife and I have a 120 pound Chesapeake Bay retriever morning alarm clock. We live over forty five minutes from campus in a lakeside cabin so I do have to manage some commute time. Besides time spent coaching the team most days consume a lot of time devoted to recruiting including evenings after returning home.
What are the most valuable lessons you’ve learned while coaching here at EMU?
There is never a shortage of problem solving opportunities. We have a great product to sell and the opportunity to make a very positive impact.
What is the single best piece of advice you can give for aspiring student athletes?
It is a very interesting intellectual challenge to motivate and teach athletes to challenge themselves to become competitive on the national Division I level.
For those that have no experience, what exactly is Xcountry, and how do the meets work? What unique challenges does it offer?
Collegiate cross country races are usually 8000 meters (5 miles) or 10,000 meter (6.2 miles) races on either golf courses, fields or forest trails often with hills and usually around several repeated loops. The running surfaces vary from either smooth or rough surfaces, trimmed or thick grasses and weather conditions often become factors.
Do many xcountry runners also do regular track?
Collegiate distance runners train year round running cross country, indoor and outdoor track.
So EMU recently won a major championship! (again, congrats! ) What exactly was this championship, and where do we go from here?
In winning the 2014 Mid American Conference (his 10th coached championship) the winningest Cross Country Coach in MAC history surpassing the previous 9 titles coached by EMU’s Bob Parks.
So again, hats off to Coach Goodridge. A job well done! Here’s to many more!