Taking our eyes off the national elections and turning them to some local news. Joe Newton has been suspended by the IHSA for violating the maximum amount of contact days, 25, with athletes during the off-season. The violation occurred during his off-season camp, which lasts 35 days. The suspension also includes assistant coach Charlie Kern. The York boys cross country team they coached won the IHSA class AA State Finals on Nov. 4th. It was their fifth straight year winning and the 26th in school history, but neither of them will be listed as coaches on the team this year.
Joe Newton is the John Wooden of Illinois high school cross country. 25 state titles in 50 years; he was also a coach at the Seoul Olympics. I never ran for Coach Newton, but both my brother's did.
Here is the transcript for an interview I conducted this morning via email with Tim Hendricks, my youngest brother and Godfather of Patrick. He's a former Elmhurst resident, and strangely, still registered to vote here.
Timmy, what years did you attend York HS? 1992-1996
What teams were you on that he coached? I was on the track team 1994, 1995, 1996, sophomore to senior years and Cross Country team in 1994 and 1995, junior and senior years.
What titles or accomplishments did you or the team have? The cross country team won the state meet in 1994 and placed second in 1995, breaking our streak of 6 straight state titles. In 1995, I ran on two all-state relays, placing 6th in the 800 meter relay and 5th in the mile relay. The track team placed 3rd in state in 1996
How would you describe him as a coach? He is a motivator that demands a lot from his runners. He expected a lot from his runners and he let you and every one on the team know when you weren't performing to his expectations. He knew everyone's name on the teams, and we always had more than 100 kids on both the Track and Cross Country teams, and everyone had the same rules.
Where you taught by him outside of being coached? Gym class? I never had him in gym class.
If so, how would you describe him as a teacher? From what I witnessed of him while teaching gym he was more relaxed and he didn't really care what you did as long as you treated him with respect.
Can you describe a difference between; Joe Newton the Coach and Joe Newton the Teacher? Joe Newton the coach yelled a lot more and expected greatness from his runners. It didn't appear he expected much from his students except again to treat him with respect and in turn he would treat the students with respect.
How would you describe him as a man? He is a willful person that is driven to be the best at whatever he puts his mind to.
Was he strong? In what way? Yes, he is a very strong person. He was in his late 60's when he coached me 10 years ago and he got up early every morning to run until he was physically unable to. So when running was to hard on his body he got up every morning to work out in the pool.
Could you take him in a fight? I doubt it, while I was running for him. Maybe now.
What nickname did Joe Newton give you? Mother Hen. The same as my older brother. (Our middle brother, Danny.) His nicknames were not always original but every one had one. (This blogger never received a nickname. I was merely, Hendricks.)
Has Joe Newton ever tried to kiss you? No.
Do you have any opinion about this suspension? I don't have any real strong opinions on the matter, I have thoughts. I think that there is to much scrutiny on amateur athletes, rules that apply to the very few and make it hard on the average athlete, who is competing because they enjoy the sport. High School Athletes can be suspended if they are found to be competing in other organizations outside the IHSA. However, rules are rules and Mr. Newton violated one. This rule I tend to agree with. I believe it is in place to protect the students from over ambitious coaches. High school athletes are not pros, they are not even college athletes, and sometimes coaches need to be reminded that their sport is not the only thing in a students life. This rule protects students from coaches demanding their players be in attendance more than they probably should be. After all, the great majority of High School athletes do not participate past the high school level and even though off- season work-outs can not be required by coaches, and are voluntary, we all know that is not the case for the best athletes.
Do I think 35 days instead of 25 days over the summer is a big deal, No. But that is the number of days the IHSA has decided on. I feel bad for Coach Kern who now has to miss the track season for the violation.
Timmy, have you ever tried to kiss Joe Newton? No.
And finally Tim, why does your fantasy football team suck so bad? Your team sucks.