Santa Clara, Calif. - After her first season in fall of 2010 as an assistant coach for the Bronco's cross country team, Priscilla Bayley (PB) has settled into Santa Clara's running routine. Bayley was a NCAA championships competitor and Big West All-Conference honoree with her UC Davis cross country and track team. She is also recognized as a USA Track & Field certified coach. SantaClaraBronco.com (SCB) got the chance to talk with the experienced runner, Bayley, from how she bridged the gap from running to coaching to how she has become involved here at school.
SCB: When did you first get into coaching?
PB: I fell into coaching by chance. After graduating from college, I came down with an extremely rare neuromuscular condition that left me temporarily disabled and unable to stand. I had to move back in with my parents and allow my body to re-learn basic motor skills. It took several months to get back to normal strength again. During that time, I was invited by one of my hometown running contacts to be the head coach of an elite junior women's program, the Buffalo Chips. Having the opportunity to work with such amazing young women brought me back to life. I learned through that experience that life is too short for an office job, and that I was meant to coach.
SCB: What has been the most difficult part about being a coach?
PB: Answering this question is more difficult than anything I can think of related to coaching. When running is your entire life, coaching comes naturally.
SCB: Have you always been a runner?
PB: I started running at age 10 and continued on to compete in college for UC Davis.
SCB: Did you have any pre-race superstitions then or now?
PB: Superstitions are not really my style. Running is very much a mental sport and the perfect opportunity will almost never present itself. Not allowing superstition provides for a 'no excuses' mentality where you have to take the bad with the good in every race.
SCB: Do you continue to race?
PB: No, but my husband does. He competes for PUMA and Great Britain and is looking to make the next Olympic team in 2012. In 2009, he broke the 4:00 mile barrier for the first time in 3:58.3.
SCB: Has there been a race or practice in particular that has inspired you?
PB: All too often, athletes do not reach their potential because they are afraid of failure. This past fall, I have found Hayley Ney's work ethic in practice to be very inspiring. She showed me that she is not afraid to go after what she wants and good things will come her way in due time.
SCB: What was your favorite race as an athlete?
PB: I enjoyed the 10,000 m event (25 laps on the track). The first eight laps are easy and then the pain just chips away at you one lap at a time. It's one of the purest forms of competition...just you, your mind and the finish line.
SCB: What is your position as an assistant coach? How do you help out on a
daily or weekly basis?
PB: I spend the majority of my time recruiting new prospects and helping team members with the technical aspects of their running form. I am also Meet Director for our annual Bronco Invitational in the fall during cross country season.
We look forward to watching the Broncos compete in track in March.