By Rikki George, Web Editor
Two new cross country coaches began teaching this semester and have more in common than just their sport: Coach Conor Holt and Assistant Coach Camille Herron will coach the cross country team as a married couple.
Though they coach together now, Holt and Herron came from different backgrounds.
Holt grew up in Ireland but has lived in Oklahoma for the last 20 years. As a young child, Holt spent his time playing soccer and gaelic football.
Following his high school running career, Holt attended the University of Oklahoma where he added All-American honors and a Big Eight Championship to his achievements.
Off of the race course, Holt enjoyed music which led him to get a music education degree. He sees a connection between music and running.
“The joys that come from playing the piano to the individual attention it takes to practice can be applied to training,” he said. “The dedication of applying yourself.”
Holt said this dedication helped him win his most prized accomplishment: the Oklahoma City Marathon.
He now stands on the other side of the tape, coaching athletes and pushing them with constant positive reinforcement.
“I’ve had great mentors in my coaching career so I like to take the approach of middle of the road,” Holt said. “I stress communication.”
Holt said the ability for athletes to ask questions and address issues with him helps to create a positive working relationship, one that he has with his most accomplished athlete to date: his wife.
Herron grew up playing tennis, volleyball, golf, and softball in Oklahoma.
She began running in middle school as a way to keep in shape during the basketball off-season and by the end of her freshman year, she had won the 4x800m state title.
Herron’s current focus is on the New York Marathon and trials for the 2012 Olympic Games.
Holt values self-motivation in athletes, but that’s not what he enjoys most about coaching.
“Seeing the big smile on an athlete’s face when they have a great workout, great race,” Holt said. “That’s what it’s all about.”
Coach Holt last coached a Purdue where he trained athletes who garnered best finishes for the program in a variety of disciplines.
“Success breeds success,” Herron said.
Herron said, although she has never coached before, she believes that her success and genuine love of running will make her a valuable asset OCU’s team.
“I understand the science (of training) and have great intuition while Conor understands people and the art of training,” Herron said.
With Holt and Herron as the new coaches, the cross country team has welcomed nine new recruits to the Stars family.