Run of awards continues for North Central track coach
Frank Gramarosso says it took a village for him to win his latest coaching award.
The North Central College's (NCC) head men's track and field coach said that a combination of the right atmosphere, administrative support, facilities, coaching staff and athletes who hit the right high notes at the right times earned him the NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field National Head Coach of the Year award.
The fact that he led the Cardinals to their fifth indoor national title in the Division III Championships also probably helped.
“Well, it takes everybody," Gramarosso told the Will County Gazette. "It's just not me."
Gramarosso is no stranger to coaching or team awards. His most recent honor, bestowed by the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association, was his fourth national coach of the year award and third for an indoor season. He previously won the indoor and outdoor awards in 2011 and another indoor award in 2012.
The most recent national crown for the Cardinals, earned alongside Wisconsin-La Crosse on March 11 in the Cardinals' backyard in Naperville, required defying expectations. The Cardinals entered the national meet picked to finish sixth, Gramarosso said, but earned higher placings in many events.
Wisconsin-Whitewater was in first place in team points going into the final event, the 4x400-meter relay, but did not have an entrant in that event, while NCC and La Crosse were close behind in points and had teams running in the relay.
“I actually told the runners when they were in the waiting area, I said, 'If La Crosse wins the 4x4, we have to get third and we tie for the team championship,' and that's exactly what happened,” Gramarosso said. “So I credit the 4x4. They did what they were supposed to do to help win that team championship.”
Gramarosso also thanked the athletic administration for putting on a smooth-running show, leaving him to concentrate on coaching.
“That's great to have that kind of support,” he said.
Gramarosso had to jump into the outdoor season almost immediately after the indoor season ended. The Cardinals have been ranked in the top three throughout the first few weeks of the season, and while the team is striving for another national title, Gramarosso said there something more immediate to worry about.
“Our first, number one goal for outdoors is to win the (CCIW) championship,” he said. “We lost that last year after, I believe, a five-year success string going on, and now it's our job to try to win it back and start a new string.”