Paso Robles High School (PRHS) cross country and track and field coach Ivan Huff will be inducted into the Race SLO's Hall of Fame on Sunday, April 28, 2019 during the SLO Half Marathon and Relay Races awards ceremony. Hall of Fame nominees are chosen for their initiative and inspiration, high level of accomplishment in running and/or coaching, and generous contribution to the running community in San Luis Obispo and the growth and future of this sport.
Robyn Schmidt, Atascadero High School cross country coach and 2018 Hall of Fame inductee, calls coach Huff a gift to distance running. “He truly loves track and field, and the kids he coaches,” she says.
Coach Huff attended PRHS from 1973 to 1977, when he was named Athlete of the Year. After a successful career in running, in which he qualified for the Olympic Trials in 1984, 1988, and 1993 for the 3,000 meter steeplechase and the marathon, Ivan Huff started coaching Bearcats athletes in 1986. He is the longest tenured coach at the school, inspiring his athletes to achieve their goals, with many continuing to compete and succeed on the college level.
Pepe Gonzales, former student athlete at PRHS and Race SLO Ambassador says, “Coach Huff had a great impact on my running life. He's inspired me to keep running and reaching my goals of achieving the impossible. He gave me tools to break through mental restraints. He not only taught me how to be a great athlete on the track, but how to be a good person off the track.”
For Huff, coaching is about connection, not just miles, paces and drills. He respects that every athlete is different. He says, “Running teaches good habits. It's a lifestyle that informs how we eat, sleep and structure our lives. Running teaches kids to commit and work hard, and that even things that seem impossible can be accomplished by showing up every day.”
Coach Huff values the opportunity to have a good influence on children. He remembers coaching a student who'd fallen in with the wrong crowd, and even stole a car in middle school. Running in high school taught him a good work ethic. Eventually, the boy set a record for 2-mile run. He went to college and now serves as a San Jose police officer.
“Every year brings new people and events to be proud of,” says Huff. These moments are what keeps him coaching – he doesn't want to let the kids down.
***Race SLO Fitness Festival is coming up on April 26-28! To register for the SLO Half Marathon, Half Marathon Relay, Corporate Challenge Relay, 5K and Kids Races, and for the inaugural YogaMusic Fest, visit https://www.slomarathon.com/
About Race SLO
Established in 2008 to bring world class events to the beautiful California Central Coast, the Race SLO family of events includes the SLO Half Marathon, Half Relay and Family 5K & Kids Races plus NEW SLO YogaMusic Fest (Spring) as well as the NEW SLO County Ultra Games & the SLO Ultra Trail Races (Fall). Race SLO sponsors community run & fitness training programs, supports sporting event projects nationwide, produces a health & fitness blog, plus hosts the popular Endurance Town USA Podcast, all while raising funds for local nonprofits: Jack’s Helping Hand, The Land Conservancy of SLO, SLO County Parks, and Grizzly Youth Academy. Over the last 10 years, Race SLO has helped raise and donated over $250,000 to nonprofits in our community. We invite anyone sharing our values to join us today by volunteering, participating or sponsoring our powerful efforts.