by Samuel Abbas | staff writer
From a young age, Nancy Almaraz realized coaching was her passion. All throughout school, she had encouraging coaches who helped her succeed in sports as well as teach her important life lessons.
“I’ve always had the passion to coach since around junior high. I had amazing coaches in junior high, high school and college. I had no doubt after my athletic career that I wanted to become a coach,” Almaraz said.
After serving at 8 different coaching positions at seven different schools in four different cities, coach Nancy Almaraz is staying put for the moment at Johnson high school, where she coaches cross country and girls track, as well as teaching Healthy Lifestyles.
“I am on my 31st year coaching. I started off in 1985 at Roosevelt, then we got married and went to Big Spring, Texas, then we went to Mt. Pleasant, Texas, then I taught at Lafayette high school, then we came back to Texas, I went to Taft and then Roosevelt (again), Reagan and finally Johnson,” Almaraz said.
Traveling and coaching in different environments have helped coach Almaraz realize the dedication and passion needed to continue doing what she loves. Almaraz has realized every place is unique and without those experiences, she wouldn’t be where she is today
“They each have a special place in my heart. Each school has been different because they each had different programs with unique staffs and athletes. Every one holds a different stepping stone to where I am now. I’ve learned a lot along the way about athletes, programs and schools because they each direct their school differently. They are all unique in their own way”, Almaraz said.
Over the years Almaraz has realized the dedication and commitment it takes to continue in sports such as cross country and track. Her policies have also changed due to the realization of the amount of commitment needed in these sports.
“Well I feel like running is a lifetime sport so, if somebody wants to make a commitment to coming to practices at six in the morning everyday and continue their commitment to be a part of the cross country team, I’m all for it,” Almaraz said.
In her athletic career Almaraz played mainly basketball and volleyball, but she likes to coach the runner purely for a challenge. She likes the difficulty of helping someone develop not only as an athlete but, also as an individual.
“I did all sports when I was a kid, mainly focusing on tennis and basketball and I played both those sports in college. I was a volleyball and basketball coach for 15 years and I switched over to cross country. I enjoy coaching the runner because it is more difficult for me because I loved playing volleyball and basketball. Coaching the runner is purely my passion. I like seeing the challenge and knowing I have it ahead of me,” Almaraz said.