Jay Condon has been Castleton’s Track & Field coach for two seasons. Before Castleton Condon coached high school at Granville and Hudson Falls in New York and was a collegiate coach at RPI in New York. Condon currently teaches middle school English in New York. I had the pleasure of sitting down with him to talk coaching and life.
Q. How long have you been involved in track and field?
A. I’ve been a coach for 15 years and an athlete for only a couple years in high school because I moved schools and the school I moved to didn’t have a program.
Q. What would you say is the biggest difference transitioning from athlete to coach?
A. I always saw myself as a coach so I don’t think there was a big difference. Probably learning was the biggest thing because as an athlete you go out and execute a workout but understanding how to train people and put workouts together that fit the bigger picture is probably the hardest thing to accomplish. I think there is a 5 year grace period where you need to learn how to build a workout that’s going to lead to results later on.
Q. What is the hardest part about recruiting at the D3 level?
A. As far as CU goes it’s the fact we don’t have a track. I have to sell my coaching and who we are as a program. Without a track it makes things difficult but we are doing pretty good with it, we want them to see what they will be able to as athletes with our coaching.
Q. How was the indoor season and what’re you looking forward to the outdoor season?
A. It was an awesome indoor season, I don’t even know how many school records we broke. It just seemed like every weekend we were breaking something. We qualified more people this year than last year to the regionals. We had a top 20 high jumper in country. As for outdoor we are very excited we picked up a few more athletes.
Q. What is it like never having a break and just going from season to season aside from other sports who have offseason?
A. The hardest part is I don’t get to see my family much, that does suck however it is unique because track and field is the only NCAA sport where you’re working with your athletes for a good majority of the year which is awesome.
Q. Each year the program continues to build on the previous season, what do you think it’s going to take to get the program to the next level nationally?
A. I think having a better facility is going to help. There are a lot of workouts I can’t do without a track, we will have more variety which will lead to a happier athlete. Just having something to show incoming athletes will bring in next level athletes.
Q. Favorite coaching memory?
A. Wow, there are too many to count. I could go on and on but a few that come to mind are bringing a hurdler to the state championships being the first from Granville to qualify in many years was great. Another one was this past season having Nate get to the 2 meter level in high jump. There are always so many that build up.
Q. How much work goes outside of being present at CU on your own time to keep this program rolling?
A. A lot. Countless hours go into recruiting and building workouts. Our team is getting bigger and more diverse which means our training needs to be more diverse. It’s not one size fits all anymore when we had a smaller team. I tell people that don’t know much about track that it’s like football there are so many moving pieces and you plan your week up until Saturday like a football team.
Q. What your favorite hobby outside of work and coaching?
A. I like to travel with my wife whether it be a vacation or just a weekend trip. I also love Nascar, I have even been to few races. It must be something with the track and things going fast.
Q. What’s the biggest thing you learned as an athlete that translates into your coaching?
A. Respect is probably the biggest thing but also giving back to your community with what you’ve learned.
Q. Favorite go-to meal?
A. I’ll eat anything but tomorrow night my wife and daughter are going to Kane Brown and I plan on ordering a pizza for myself. It’s been my day long dilemma deciding what kind of pizza I am going to get.
Q. How hard is it balancing a regular work life and being a part-tome coach at CU?
A. It’s stressful. I teach English in New York and currently your students are reviewed through their state test scores so the state is always driving it down your throat that your test scores need to go up. At times balancing is a struggle but you just need to learn how to manage your time efficiently.