The University of La Verne gained a new addition to its men’s and women’s cross country teams this year when Bryan George was hired as head coach.
George, an experienced runner who was named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America track and field team in 2006, officially stepped in to take the job as head coach of both the men’s and woman’s programs in July.
Just as any new career path goes, there is much to become adjusted to. Thankfully for George, there has been some hometown feel for him here in La Verne.
The transition from a small town in Iowa to a large metropolitan area in California, George’s shift in scenery sure has changed, but the feel of a tight-nit community is still there.
“In many ways La Verne feels like a small town,” George said. “Overall it has been a smooth transition.”
George began his running career in the seventh grade when the option for athletics in school first became available to him.
“Strong encouragement from my family was the main reason I started running,” George said. “It became a passion after I made strong connections with my teammates and experienced the enjoyment you get from doing something very difficult together.”
The passion for running continued throughout high school and college.
The decision to stay close to home for school placed him at Central College.
As a student athlete there, George served as a three-time cross country co-captain all the while helping his team achieve all-American honors.
Once graduated from Central in 2006, George served as the graduate assistant coach for Illinois State while he worked on his master’s degree.
George came to La Verne following his work as the assistant coach to his alma mater, Central College of Pella, Iowa, where he began in 2009.
After four years as assistant coach for Central, La Verne’s head coach position opened and he began his move out west.
George officially began his role as head coach for the program here in July, giving him just about five weeks of practice with his teams thus far.
“Coach George has exceeded all expectations and has jumped right into things,” junior psychology major Cristobal Gutierrez said. “He has shown that he truly cares about the development of this program and has brought back a positive team culture.”
George hopes to help the program grow by bringing both the talent and the chemistry to winning levels.
“I have seen the women’s cross country team grow in size the past couple of years and I believe Coach George will continue to thrive in the recruitment process,” senior Ashley Holguin said. “It will only grow and get better from here.”
George has taken this 2013 season by storm early on, and cannot wait to begin working towards these teams’ goals.
“I want this program to have a sense of pride and tradition attached to it,” George said. “I want La Verne cross country to be synonymous with excellence.”
After the 2012 season ended on a victorious note, George expresses his gratitude for the opportunity to work with these teams and begins to look toward goals for the season.
“I’d like to continue building La Verne into a conference, regional, and nationally recognized program,” George said. “La Verne has everything needed to build great teams and my job is to make that vision a reality.”
Both the men and women’s teams will compete Oct. 5 in the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational on the campus of Pomona College in Claremont. The men’s race starts at 7:45 a.m. and the women’s race starts at 8:30 a.m.
Alana Glenn can be reached at email@example.com.