Whitney High School Athletics

Jerry Dodge

I began running as a sprinter at Oakmont High School in 1980, but being on the cross country team prompted a switch to distance. My best event was the 800m where I was able to break 2 minutes my senior year.  I ran cross country and track for Sierra College, switching to the 5000m, and continued doing the 5K distance in road races in my 20's.  By my mid-30's I began to really hone in on more effective ways to train and made noticeable improvements, running my fastest post-college 5K after I was in my 40's.  I've coached youth runners of all ages, from 4th grade up through middle school and high school.  I'm blessed to have 3 kids who are distance runners, and who have each accomplished more than I ever did.  I'm enjoying taking what I've developed in a training program over the past 15 years, and applying that to coaching a very exciting squad of Whitney distance runners. I've coached since 1984, many sports including basketball, softball, volleyball, and baseball, various ages from 5-year-olds to adult.  I especially enjoyed coaching soccer for about 10 years, rec league and up through comp.  But my biggest passion is distance running, as I've been running and training personally for almost 40 years.  I've coached elementary, middle school, and high school track and cross country teams before coaching here at Whitney for the past 3 seasons. As a teacher and an athlete, I think coaching just naturally became part of what I've always done.  More recently though, I coached soccer because my sons joined club teams, and the clubs needed coaches.  As for Whitney cross country, my daughter Jenica ran 4 years at Whitney, and I loved helping out and just running with the team.  When my first son Logan was a junior, Whitney needed a distance coach.  At first I was trying to help find somebody, but before I knew it, I was meeting with Mr. Feuerbach about the position. You can have a good team if you have good runners, but cross country was the original year-round sport, and to be a highly successful cross country program, I've always felt that it needs to be a 12-month program, with the right levels of training and recovery within that cycle.  Just as important is to recruit character over talent.  Building the right culture, which fosters true commitment, will result in winning consistently.  AND, I will say, winning the "right way".  We had 70 athletes complete the 2017 cross country season.  Each of those 70 runners proved to be highly committed to training and to the team.  The result was 42 Whitney runners who qualified for section championships, something no other D2 team in the section could match, and our men's team made a second consecutive trip to the state meet. Beyond coaching distance runners, my interests include, well, distance running!  I still run, train, and compete, although I don't have time to compete as much anymore.  I have a couple collections that keep me busy, and I've always loved music.  I make noise with a few instruments, and I very much enjoy seeking out new bands to listen to and follow.