Coronado High School track and field is rooted in tradition.
Led by Coach George Green for over 25 years, the program has established a signature culture during Green’s historic tenure.
However, as Green looks to wind down his coaching career there is no indication that the standard of hard work this program holds itself to will waiver with the addition of a new coach.
Enter Cameron Gary, who is in his second season as head coach of the track and field team.
Gary is a former Division I athlete from San Diego State University and one of the few United States of America Track and Field (USATF) Level 3 coaches in San Diego County. That distinction is the highest level of the USATF Coaching Education Program and is currently offered in partnership with the World Athletics Academy.
Gary’s no stranger to coaching, and has spent time instructing state championship-level athletes, coaching at San Diego State, and holding other coaching positions at various high schools in the San Diego area.
“He came with impressive stats.”-George Green on the hiring of Cameron Gary
“He came with impressive stats, and had been the head coach at several other schools. It was a no-brainer for the district to hire him,” said Green, who still is part of the program, when discussing the process behind finding Gary.
Gary’s ties to the San Diego track community weren’t just newly formed, but took years of success in the sport to get him to this position.
San Diego State record holder
Born in Illinois, Gary grew up in San Diego, where he attended Helix High School.
His coach was legendary Coronado High School alumnus Mike Muirhead, and according to Gary was one of his biggest supporters when Gary got into coaching.
After Helix, Gary competed for SDSU and was the men’s school record holder in the triple jump.
He was also a conference champion, national champion qualifier, and Olympic Trials qualifier in 1984 for SDSU.
According to Gary, coaching after hanging up the track shoes was never something he envisioned himself doing.
But Gary, known for being a technical jumper, fell right into coaching as he was asked to train individual athletes.
From law enforcement to coaching
One-on-one coaching with championship level athletes gradually increased into coaching whole events for schools—Gary’s specialty being centered around sprint, jump, and hurdle events.
But maintaining a career while remaining involved in the sport wasn’t always easy for Gary.
“I worked in law enforcement for 30 years, and also operated a small martial arts school for many years. Sometimes my work assignments precluded my being able to coach track and field at all,” Gary said.
Retiring in 2015, freed Gary from numerous commitments, and finally allowed him to begin considering accepting head coaching positions.
Breath of fresh air
According to Gary, this freedom has been a breath of fresh air.
Now in the driver’s seat at Coronado, Gary will have all the time and the voice to implement his philosophy on track and field into the Islanders—something Green said he’s looking forward to.
“Track is a speed-based sport, and that’s how Gary trains his athletes, speed training from day one, and the endurance will come. I think that as more and more Coronado athletes and parents see the results he’ll get, we’ll have more kids coming out for track,” said Green.
“One person can’t do it all,” said Green, but he added Gary has done a remarkable job so far in recruiting assistant coaches.
Gary’s experience means he’s qualified enough to be an expert coach in several different events, but he can’t be everywhere on the track at once, according to Green.
Top-flight coaching staff
The coaching staff has come along quite nicely though, according to Gary.
Assisting Gary with sprints and jumps is Sydney Rush, who is currently in the U.S. Top 50 in the long jump.
Miguel Mathias and Scott Young, both former collegiate athletes, will assist in the distance running and throwing events.
Donna Yee will assist in throwing as well, and she was a former thrower at the nearby Bonita Vista High School.
Of course rounding out the bunch is Green, who remains an integral part of the program as a distance coach.
According to Gary, it’s been a pleasure working with Green as he looks to fill the giant hole Green is soon to leave behind.
“Coach Green has been gracious and supportive of me and my role while he transitions out of coaching over the next few years. He’s been very accommodating of me as I work to establish myself here,” said Gary.