David Wood: Cal Poly’s Best Kept Secret

Cal Poly Graduate David Wood serves as a coach for all 20 of Cal Poly’s Intercollegiate sports teams.

by Trent Merfeld 

You may not have heard of David Wood, but he is known across Cal Poly athletics for getting the most out of every student athlete. In a career that has involved volunteering for UCLA and working at University of Alabama, Birmingham, Wood is now in his third year at the Cal Poly and really enjoys his craft.

Wood says a typical day involves him waking up early, usually opening the facilities at 6am, and then having teams working out all the way until 5 pm at night.

“Every workday creates a different scenario, you have athletes coming in feeling different everyday. Everyday is a new day I feel, I don’t feel everyday is the same thing where it’s repetitive,” Wood said.

Wood said it is hard to describe in a nutshell what exactly he does, but he could break his craft down into two areas.

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Posted by on May 30, 2012 in Profiles


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Mark Conover: Runner, Warrior

by Trent Merfeld 

Here’s some quick facts on Mark Conover, the head coach of director of track and field/cross country.

– He has coached 27 men and women to Cal Poly top-ten all-time track and field marks

– Conover has led the Mustangs to 12 appearances at the NCAA Cross Country Championships.

– Conover has coached the men’s team to four top-20 finishes, including 13th in 2003, 10th in 2004, 13th in 2006 and 11th in 2007.

(Statistics provided by


Get to Know Mark Conovor

If you weren’t a track and field/cross country coach you would be a: Well I got my master’s [degree] in city planning so that’s maybe what I’d be. Or maybe I’d be a mister mom because I have five-year-old triplets.

Favorite Athlete: It’s very hard to pick one but maybe Lasse Virén, winner of the 5K and 10K in the 1976 Summer Olympics.

Favorite Quote: Anything regarding trying to remain positive in life and having a positive attitude.

Also: “Don’t just talk like you want something, act like like you want something.”

Favorite Food: Tacos.

Favorite Drink: Water.

Favorite Artist or Band: The Clash. “The greatest Rock n’ Roll band ever.”

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Posted by on May 22, 2012 in Profiles


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Summer 2012 and Beyond

As my assignments and requirements for my class Journalism 285 are ending in a couple weeks, I plan to keep this website alive. I feel like I have met some of my goals, but also left some on the table. My ultimate goal was to spread the word about division one coaches’ stories beyond the prototypical interview, and from the responses I have received to this point, I feel as though I have done exactly that.

As far as Coaches Corner’s popularity, I am satisfied with almost 1,100 hits in six weeks, but I would really like to reach the 1,500 view point before the end of June. With my upcoming video interview and final story I hope to reach that point. Moving forward I plan to use this blog indefinitely as an aggregate source of information, similar to The Huffington Post. Coaches Corner can become an agreegate source of top coach stories across the country.

Hopefully by aggregating interesting stories intro one viable place can keep Coaches Corner around for a long time to come.

Thank you readers for all of the support, and know that this is not the end for Coaches Corner, but genuinely a new beginning.

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Posted by on May 20, 2012 in Assignments


Steve Desimone: Pac-12 Coach of the Year

Desimone recently was named Pac-12 men’s golf coach of the year.

by Trent Merfeld

Below is my recent interview with Cal Berkeley mens’ golf coach Steve Desimone. Desimone received his undergraduate at Cal before attending the service for two years and then coming back to Cal for his master’s degree in physical education and ultimately finishing his student education in 1976. In his 33rd season at Cal, he had plenty to share.

The soundbite also includes my secondary interviews with sophomore star Brandon Hagy, who spoke on what it is like to play under Desimone. Also, I interviewed Bill Manning, the man who hired Desimone over three decades ago when the golf program at Cal was in a delicate period of being dropped as a Division 1 sport. While only a club, Desimone led Cal golf into the national spotlight where it is today. After a 2004 National Championship and many other accomplishments including recently being named the Pac-12 coach of the year, Desimone sat down to talk with me.

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Posted by on May 16, 2012 in Profiles


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Paid Per Click

It’s obvious journalism is heading in a new direction, but are some ideas for the better or for the worse?

USA Today came out over a year ago saying that they would consider paying their journalists based on the amount of hits their stories received.

This immediately brings up a couple questions:

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Posted by on May 14, 2012 in Assignments


Nick Carless: Homegrown Success

Big West 2012 Conference Champs, the Mustangs will soon have a ‘2012’ embroidered into the tarp.

by Trent Merfeld

Behind Mott Gym, upbeat classic rock blasts from the speakers above as the tennis coaches and players yell encouragements back and forth.

At the edge of the Cal Poly tennis courts you can probably hear Cal Poly tennis head coach Nick Carless playfully yelling ‘Rip It’ at his players, receiving some smiles in return.

As a former Cal Poly student, Carless has the youth and homegrown experience to relate to his players. The Cal Poly alum has already coached the Mustangs to a Big West Conference Championship in just his first season at the helm.

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Posted by on May 9, 2012 in Profiles


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Pat Summit Resigns

Pat Summitt will probably be remembered as one of the greatest college coaches in history, and sadly her career career ended last month with an emotional press conference.

At 59 years of age, Summitt’s coaching career at Tennessee spanned almost four decades where she won an astounding amount of awards and received many honors.The list includes: Coach of the Century to receiving the Medal of Freedom of President Barack Obama. (For the complete list look read the bottom of the article)

Now, after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease., Pat Summitt will be transitioning into a new part of her life.

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Posted by on May 6, 2012 in Assignments


Paul Holocher: ‘Labor of Love’

Soccer is everything to Holocher. When he is not coaching the Mustangs, he is talking about, reading or watching the sport.

by Trent Merfeld

In the seven-year period before he came to Cal Poly, Paul Holocher served as the head soccer coach at UC Santa Cruz, Director of Soccer for Santa Cruz and its 5,000 youth players, and founded the Catalyst Soccer Club. He did all of this while also teaching physical education at the private school Aptos Academy.

“It was a labor of love, because it was four part-time jobs that all were interconnected to each other around the game of soccer. That’s kind of how I piecemealed my livelihood together,” Holocher said.

Holocher grew up in the soccer-oriented environment of Seattle, Washington. His father was a former goalkeeper, and his mother grew up around soccer as well. He said soccer was a big part of his childhood and his father would take him and his brother to every Seattle Sounders game, the MLS club in Seattle. Holocher said he regularly attended Sounders’ games, and he didn’t think he missed one home game.

[Seattle] has an amazing soccer culture. Every kid up in Seattle plays soccer. You start when you’re seven years old, and there’s a lot of passion around it,” Holocher said. “I remember the very first game I ever played, I was playing on a little team called the King Fishers. I remember picking up the ball and being able to dribble and do good things. I scored a couple goals and after the game I got a lot of compliments from the team and the parents, and I realized that I loved the game,” Holocher said.

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Posted by on May 2, 2012 in Profiles


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Coaches Corner Checkup

Hey Readers,

I wanted to say how much I appreciate all of the support and consistent views for the past month. I put a lot of work into these stories, so it’s nice to see that people are as interested as I am.

The goal of this blog from the start was to put the focus on coaches and their stories. I hope I have done a good job at impartially writing about their lives, but if you feel I have not, do not hesitate to leave feedback.

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Posted by on April 29, 2012 in Assignments


Larry Lee: In His Family’s Footsteps

Lee said "I've known the path I've been on since junior high."

by Trent Merfeld

For over the past 25 years, Larry Lee has been following in the footsteps of his father and brothers.

“I usually drive past the [football memorial] every night going home and I give it a special moment each night. I think about those guys, and how my dad was supposed to be on that plane flight, but his schedule got changed. It holds a special place in my heart,” Lee said.

Born in 1917, Lee’s father, Tom Lee is both an accomplished athlete and coach. Tom Lee boxed golden gloves, played minor league baseball, traveled on an All-American basketball team, and was on a semi-pro team with a few negro league stars. Tom Lee also notably coached baseball, basketball, football, and boxing at Cal Poly.

Lee said, “He did it all, and everything my brothers and I did was based on what he was all about.”

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Posted by on April 25, 2012 in Profiles, Uncategorized


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