Stanley Redwine, head coach of Kansas University’s national-championship women’s track and field team and of the improving men’s squad, was a four-time All-American (1980-83) at Arkansas, setting records in the 400, 600 and 800 meters. Here’s how you can get Redwine to run faster today than he did back then: Tell him if he turns right he can promote himself with all the world listening, and then watch him run to the left faster than he did when he was in his 20s.
He won’t say it, so someone else must: Kansas has the best track and field coach in the nation.
Slowly, relentlessly, Redwine has built the women’s program, getting a little better all the time. Now it’s the best in the nation. He did it by identifying the right athletes to recruit, selling softly on KU being the right school and his program the right incubator to nurture their skills.
But Redwine did it with more than recruiting. He did by hiring the right coaches around him and knowing how to push the athletes to train harder, but not to the point they burn out.
When an athlete realizes a coach can make her better, that gives him the leeway to push her with more force.
When the athlete sees results, improves steadily, it’s that much easier to sell an athlete on the concept of training harder. Soon the athletes are coaching each other, pushing each other to believe they can still give maximum effort on those final three sprints on the track, those final few reps in the weight room.
All the while, Redwine, an upbeat guy who doesn’t waste words and sees everything, built the program in such a way as to turn what generally is regarded as an individual sport into a team sport.
Does Tulsa know how to hire coaches or what? Not only did Nolan Richardson and Tubby Smith coach basketball at Tulsa, the Golden Hurricanes’ coaching tenures of Bill Self and Redwine overlapped there.
Any time you see as many athletes running extra events for the sake of team points, as did KU’s women in winning the Big 12 title, you know the team mentality has taken over.
Eleven different Jayhawks contributed to the team’s 60 points: Andrea Geubelle (16 points) led the way with second-place finishes in the long jump and triple jump. Other scorers, listed in descending order of points, included Lindsay Vollmer, Natalia Bartnovskaya, Paris Daniels, Alena Krechyk, Jessica Maroszek, Heather Bergmann, Diamond Dixon, Denesha Morris, Tianna Valentine and Taylor Washington.
Redwine and his assistants had the athletes peaking for the Big 12 meet and built them back up to peak again five weeks later for the national title.
“They get better by practicing with one another,” Redwine said between the Big 12 and national championships. “They know how to respond when the pace is going faster.”
The KU women’s track and field team knew how to respond all year long. The Jayhawks responded like the national champions they are.