Doug McDonald wrote a wonderful article in appreciation of the late Jackson Horner, a coaching icon of the State College Area High School (CDT, March 18).
It appropriately recalled many of the great successes tied to names that Horner frequently recalled during practices and collectively referred to as “boys in the past” as he sought to motivate those of us toiling under his watchful eye and ever-present stopwatch.
I offer further appreciation for the tremendous influence his coaching and leadership had on the rest of us not setting any records.
I was an average runner in Horner’s cross country and track programs from 1988 to 1991. The thought of his workouts placed a certain amount of trepidation in me each day as I anticipated being pushed beyond my limits. His approach to training during the two-a-day cross-country workouts of the late summer was also a formative experience for a young man finding his way in a challenging sport.
Although the physical toll at the time seemed considerable, what I gained in mental toughness was immeasurable. His leadership, no-nonsense emphasis on hard work and high expectations for even the middle of the pack types like me have served me in all phases of life, including the most important — as a parent.
I am grateful for my time with Horner and for the enduring life lessons his leadership bestowed on all of us. May he rest in peace and may his family find solace in his truly impactful life.