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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 gopoly.com)

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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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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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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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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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Tim Walsh: Man First, Football Coach Second

Cal Poly News / Stacia Momburg

by Trent Merfeld

Life is bigger than football. To Cal Poly Head Football Coach Tim Walsh, there is much more to the game of football than what transpires on the field.

In 1972, as a senior quarterback at Serra High School in San Mateo, California, Walsh’s Padres had a game in San Jose. It was that day Walsh said he gained a new perspective on football.

“There was a mini riot at the game. One of our players had his helmet off, and somebody out of the stands took his helmet and wacked him across the head. Then, he was in critical condition and to be honest, he was never the same again. At that moment, I realized that there are a lot of things out there more important than football, and I realized that not everybody’s life skills are on the same level,” Walsh said.

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Posted by on April 11, 2012 in Profiles

 

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