Juris Green of The Woodlands (Texas) has been named the 2017 American Family Insurance ALL-USA Boys Track and Field Coach of the Year.
The ALL-USA teams are coordinated by Fred Baer, founder, Track and Field Writers of America with boys selections by Jack Shepard, high school editor of Track and Field News.
Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year: Mondo Duplantis, Lafayette (La.)
COACH OF THE YEAR:
Name: Juris Green
School: The Woodlands (Texas)
The last time The Woodlands (Texas) won the state track championship in 1999, Juris Green’s father, Dan, was the team’s coach.
Now, Juris has a state championship trophy to put in the school trophy case next to the one his father’s team won.
Green led The Woodlands to the 6A state title behind a series of performances that were among the nation’s past and has been named the American Family Insurance ALL-USA Boys Track and Field Coach of the Year.
“I grew up on the track,” Green said. “My earliest memories are going to track meets, watching my dad’s teams. It’s definitely in my blood.”
Green succeeded his father as the head varsity coach eight year ago after spending eight years on the varsity staff and as the junior high coach.
The state track crown capped what Green called a “fairytale year” for him. He also coaches cross country and the team won the state 6A title last fall – the first time a school has won both sports in the same school year.
The Woodlands won a hypothetical national dual meet track competition conducted by the DyeStat website.
“Twelves months ago, I thought that we had a good team that could make a pretty deep run into the season and have a shot,” Green said. “But it’s really hard to go out and achieve the things on paper you thought you could do. I thought we had a good cross team. With track, we had the infrastructure for something special. If I said I knew we were going to do this, I wouldn’t be telling the truth, but we made the right decisions and kept guys healthy.”
The challenge for any track coach is balancing the individual needs of his athletes with the goal of winning a team title. That is particularly true in a state such as Texas that has a lengthy qualifying process.
“It’s really juggling act if you have athletes that can go deep into the season,” he said. “You have to do a lot of homework. From one event group to another is really different. For example, in some regions, the 100 is really strong and you have to go into the regional meet ready to rock and roll. In some, you need to be at your peak at districts, and some you need to hang back because you have easier qualifying rounds.
“We have such a great coaching staff. We always knew what the left hand and the right hand are doing. The coaches know their subgroups. I don’t have to micromanage. We have so much confidence in each other. … Those coaches know who the competition is and where the athlete fits in to be ready for the best competition at the big meets and to have the best shot at qualifying through those rounds.”
The top individuals on The Woodlands team were repeating ALL-USA shot putter Adrian “Tripp” Piperi and sprinter KeSean Carter. Cecil Gregg also won the long jump at the state meet.
Piperi became the No. 6 all-time high school performer at 74 feet, 11 1/2 inches and placed second in the junior shot put at the USATF Championships in Sacramento last month to win a berth on the U.S. team for the Pan Am Junior Championships. He also has a 204-3 discus throw best (from 2016).
Piperi strained ligament in an ankle during the week of the Texas state meet, but he threw the discus and shot put anyway to help get his team points toward a team title.
“He is one of those once-in-a-coaching-career-type athlete,” Green said. “He not only has the talent — a lot of schools have kids with talent — Adrian had the work ethic behind it. He was someone I would see in the summertime and then in September and October out there working after everyone went home. He made the most — and is making the most — of his talent and building on it.
“In the locker room, the kids could see what an athlete of that caliber does and how he conducted himself. He wasn’t just there when the lights were on. He was in the weight room. He was working with our sprinters and he’s pretty fast. He was great example to the group. It was just something to see week in and week out.”
Carter, the Texas Class 6A 100 meter champion, ranked No. 4 on the 2017 national list at 10.32.
Carter, Ethan Bonner, Jacob Barrett and Jake Lanier helped the Highlanders post a 4 x 200 meter relay time of 1:23.81, No. 2 time in the USA this season.
Carter only ran about half of the track season because he also plays basketball.
“Every week he got better and better,” Green said. “The stronger the competition was, the stronger he got. You saw in the 100 (at the state meet): After 20 meters, he shut the door on everybody and ran away. That didn’t just happen. It was a year of hard work. He is a student of sport and stayed late to get it all down.
“I think the sky is the limit. We’re not where sure where his ceiling is, but we’re excited to have one more year with him.”