DAVE REMMERT is overseeing a cross-country powerhouse at Monticello, with his boys winning state titles in 2014 and 2019 in his first seven seasons and the girls snagging two pieces of state hardware. He spoke about the past, present and future:
What concerns, if any, does the suspension of summer contact days create for you?
A little bit selfishly, I guess, I’ve come to realize how much I need that. I feel like I’ve come to understand myself a little bit better through all these experiences, and I started to realize how much I need that interaction, too. They enjoy and they like the social interaction of getting together, and that means a lot to them as well.
Coming off the boys’ state title and the girls’ runner-up finish last season, is there any reason to change expectations because of the pandemic?
Being a runner myself, you kind of come to the conclusion that runners run. I feel that our runners are in sort of a place right now that they understand they need that activity level. I don’t worry too much about them not working out or not training. They’ve been with me a number of years now, and I kind of think they’re into a normal routine. They like the discipline of having that structure, so that helps. They put pressure on themselves pretty well. I am very much a process-oriented person, and I think they’re starting to kind of see that from me. I never focus on outcomes. I never focus on expectations or trophies or anything like that. I just focus on day-to-day work. That is something that they control and they can manage, and we kind of take things from there.
How do your assess your time leading these programs so far?
It’s really been an interesting journey. I never expected that I would be here, to be honest. I ended up getting a job at the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District, and I ended up staying there almost 15 years. My career took an entirely different direction. During that entire time, I was running almost every day. All the sudden, my oldest daughter, she said, “You know, I know our coach would like to have some help coaching the girls’ distance team for track.” That catapulted me into becoming the cross-country coach, eventually. Coach (Jeff) Butler was really successful as well. More than anything else, because he coached both of my daughters, and probably more than any other factor I wanted to keep his legacy going and then try to build on it as well. That’s sort of what ended up happening.