Coach’s Box: Spoor bringing experience, dedication to cross country team


Sally Parampottil

Coppell cross country assistant coach Jason Spoor instructs freshman Vedant Bhattacharya during practice on Sept. 17. Spoor came to Coppell one year ago after coaching at Byron Nelson and Prosper. Photo taken by Sally Parampottil.

Laasya Achanta, Staff Writer

At 6:30 a.m., rain or shine, assistant golf and cross country coach Jason Spoor makes his way to the track, fueled by his passion for helping students mature into adults both mentally and physically.

How is your background in track different from cross country?

Before I came to Coppell, for seven years, I was the head cross country coach at Byron Nelson High School. I ran distance in track but I didn’t run cross country. In cross country, you’re just focusing on race distances, which is 5K, but when you get to track, you have different events involved. But our distance runners also run 800 meters, which is a pretty fast demanding race because it’s short, and they also run 1,600 meters and 3,200 meters. In track, there are more events and other teammates involved – you have your sprinters, your jumpers and your throwers, whereas in cross country, we are all doing the same thing and training for the same thing and working towards the same goal. It’s a little bit of a tighter-knit group.

What brought you to Coppell High School?

I’ve lived in Coppell for 14 years and both of my kids, [CHS senior Shelby Spoor and CHS sophomore Landry Spoor], are here and that’s the main reason why I wanted to get over here. I wanted to be at their events and watch them compete and they both happen to be cross country runners as well as distance runners. I was missing out on a lot of their stuff due to my responsibilities of where I was, and I decided it was time I needed to make that change so I could not miss out on what they were doing in high school.

Why do you like coaching?

I love seeing kids develop and grow. I love seeing how they come in and I love helping them grow, not just as athletes, but seeing them grow up and mature from their freshman year to the time they are seniors where we are now talking about college. Even beyond that, I still keep up with some of my former athletes; some of them are married, they have kids, some of them are coaches themselves and some are even head coaches of different sports. I enjoy building that relationship with them and seeing them grow through the years.

How does coaching cross country differ from coaching golf?

In cross country, you really have to concentrate hard on your diet because of the demand of the sport. You have to make sure you are taking in enough calories, but the good calories. You can’t have the couple of donuts. Those are not good calories, and instead of donuts, you should probably have a banana or an apple. Golf, since we walk the course and they end up walking about eight miles, they still need to be eating right but they don’t have to pay particular attention. If they want to have that cheeseburger, it’s going to be OK. It’s not going to kill them, whereas for cross country athletes, it’s OK if you had a cheeseburger, but you better also have a salad and some fruits with that because of the amount of calories they burn due to the demands of the sport on their body.

What do you bring to the cross country team?

I definitely bring a lot of experience and success from my old school, we always had runners at the state meet and teams at the state meet. I understand what it takes to be successful, to build a successful team. I had that opportunity at Byron Nelson because I coached a lot of great kids over there that bought into what we were doing, so definitely taking that experience and bringing it over here just adds to [Coppell cross country coach Nick Benton’s] already great program. I just bring in a few different things and some ideas here and there from what I used to do at my other schools just to add on to our program. 

What is the cross country season shaping to be like this year?

Our girls have a good chance to repeat going to state. It’s not as obvious as it was last year where we could tell from the first meet on this team has a very good chance of winning state. We’re still waiting on a couple of girls to come together. I know that we have four, but we are looking for that fifth one and we have a good idea of who that fifth person is to help that team to repeat as state champions. Boys definitely have a great chance of getting to state and doing well at state this year more so than last year but still, it’s trying to find that fifth boy to solidify the team. Overall, the boys team is in a better place than they were last year. 

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