Mark Rowe is the Head Cross Country and Track Coach at GreenCountyHigh School.An accomplished runner at DaviessCountyHigh School, he was part of one cross country and two track state team titles.While at the University of Kentucky he competed in the 2003 NCAA Division 1 National Cross Country Championship.Rowe is entering his fifth year in coaching and second year at GreenCountyHigh School where he has already coached his team to five track state event titles.He previously coached on the college level at CampbellsvilleUniversity.
KY: All former runners learn from their coaches be it high school or college, but you happen to be the oldest son of one of the greatest in Kentucky history, Daviess County Cross Country Coach Tony Rowe. How has your Dad affected you as a Head Coach today? What is one coaching area where you believe you differ compared to your father?
MR: That's a tough question! I feel like during the five years I ran at DCHS, I didn't realize what a blessing it was to be coached by him. I always knew that it was going to happen growing up and when the time came, we just kind of rolled with it all and I was fortunate to be a part of several teams that had a lot of success. Those few years went by like a blur and were an absolute blast. I would not trade the memories and experiences running for the Raging Red Line for anything...there have been countless young men make their way through that program over his coaching career that feel the same way as I do. Now, looking back as I enter my fifth year of coaching, I am reminded more and more of the lessons he instilled in us not just about running, but more importantly, about life. The positive example that he set for us on a daily basis was, and still is, second to none. He is such a competitive coach that despises losing, but always taught us to be humble in wins and losses. I would check out "Trails, Trials and Triumphs" for more insight!!!
I don't really believe there are any striking differences, or huge ways that we differ, in our coaching philosophy. It's like the saying that conveys, "if it's not broke, don't fix it." I saw a coaching model displayed through him that was based on hard work, dedication and trust. If you get your athletes to buy into those three principles, success will come.
I was also very blessed to have other coaches that had a huge impact on my life and were great examples to me. Those would certainly include Artie Marx (DaviessCo.Middle School), Ray Stanfield (Samford) and Don Weber (UK).
More recently, I have been able to turn to people like Jeff Arbogast, Joe Newton and Pat Tyson for advice and encouragement and they are always quick to provide it. They are all great ambassadors for our sport
KY: What training philosophy do you like to follow as a coach? (type of running, more speed, tempo, long runs)
My training philosophy is constantly evolving and I think that is a trademark of all coaches that are passionate about the sport. The type of training that we do is largely determined by the specific kids that we have on the team. For example, if a team is largely newcomers, we may do a longer period of base work than I would do with a team that is more seasoned or made up of veterans. Late in the season, in the last couple of year’s at least, I don't like to taper my teams as much as maybe some other programs do. I have found that if you drastically change your mileage and the type of work that you are doing...especially cutting down total volume on recovery days...you are missing a key component of recovery. If all season long their mileage has been building and the workload has been manageable with good results at races, I don't really see the point in trying to re-invent the wheel over the last few weeks. The main thing is to get them to the line at the State Meet healthy and confident!
KY: As a former College Head Coach (CampbellsvilleUniversity) what advice can you offer to any athlete who is looking to run in college be it D1 or NAIA?
MR: The biggest advice that I would give to any runner looking at running at the next level is to find a college that fits you best...and don't worry about what division they compete in. It takes a very special runner to make a huge impact at the NCAA Divison I level. There are many programs out there, in Kentucky and out of state that are terrific programs but may not be NCAA Division I. For instance, in the NAIA, MaloneCollege would be very competitive with a lot of the better DI teams. In DII, AdamsState is an absolute beast year in and year out. There's a great JUCO at RendLakeCollege and CalvinCollege has a tremendous DIII program. In KY, Coach Weber (UK) and Coach Mann (UL) and their assistants are recruiting well and raising the level of talent each year ...thus, producing higher NCAA finishes. The small colleges in this state are doing great things. I know that first-hand by trying to compete against Coach Edwin Hagans at Lindsey Wilson and Coach Floyd Stroud at the University of the Cumberlands for a few years. Take a wide variety of visits...small and large schools. Be realistic about what you want to accomplish...at the end of the day, there are amazing runners and teams at all levels from NCAA Div. I on down to the NAIA.
KY: What can we expect from GreenCounty this year?
MR: On the guys' side, this may be somewhat of a rebuilding year. We will likely be lead by sophomore Micah Watkins. Outside of Micah, we will have some other guys who are younger and continue to build for the future. I believe once we get out the right personnel, although young, this could be a group that contributes greatly in the coming years.
We return a veteran team on the girls' side that right now has six of the seven back that finished 7th in the ridiculously competitive Class A meet last year. On paper, this team has the potential to be the best team that we have ever had. However, we are not ignorant to the fact there are several other teams (St. Henry, Fairview, Walton-Verona, etc) that could say the exact same thing. Our goal is to defend our Heartland Conference and Class A Region 2 titles from a year ago and continue to fight for a podium spot at the State Meet. The State Meet in Class A girls could be one of the most exciting ever this season. We will be lead by senior Raegan Deaton, juniors Brooke Estes and Shawna Parson, sophomore Baylee Shofner, freshmen Brittany Young and Molly Frank and 8th grader Baylee Shepherd. We have one newcomer in that group, but outside of that, five of the seven have multiple seasons of State Meet experience. They are a group that works hard and are very fun to be around....we are looking forward to what could be a very memorable season.