Indoor track coach John Monz reflects on career
It’s been nearly 21 years since math teacher and assistant winter track coach John Monz first stepped foot into WHS, but his routine has remained as busy as ever. After a day of teaching rigorous classes such as Honors Precalculus and AP Statistics, he spends at least two hours running the cross country or track practices.
Despite this busy and tiring schedule, Monz says he enjoys working with his students.
“Being able to develop a relationship with a lot of different people is one of the best parts of teaching students,” Monz said. “There are a lot of really interesting individuals who go to this school and I like being able to get to know them and work with them. I think it’s the human interaction that I like the best.”
Monz worked with various cross country and track teams for a number of years before joining the teaching staff at WHS. Although his first coaching experience came by chance, this position has become a huge part of Monz’s career.
“I competed in both cross country and track at Boston College,” Monz said. “I had a chance encounter at a meet with a friend, and he said that he was looking for an assistant coach…so I said ‘Yeah I’ll try it, sure,’ because I was in law school and I needed to get some income.”
As a coach, Monz has inspired and helped many athletes find success over the years. Sophomore Nate Lathrop spoke of how Monz has driven him in his athletic endeavors.
“Monz has really helped me with cross country and track just by encouraging me mentally. Sometimes I struggle with mental toughness during a race, and he’s really helped me to build that strength and keep pushing forward,” Lathrop said.
For Monz, his biggest challenge is balancing his teaching with coaching. He said that a lot of his decisions revolve around the students he works with.
“I think doing both jobs here helps me see some of the stresses that the students are under in both their athletic and academic existence,” Monz said. “Because I’m under the same stresses [as they are], I can kind of see how we might have to be more flexible than someone who doesn’t see both halves.”
This balance has also had a profound impact on the athletes around him. Senior Hannah Brown commented on Monz’s consideration for his students.
“He really cares about us both as students and athletes and wants us to do our best in both fields,” Brown said.
As the season picks up speed, Monz is hopeful for a successful winter track campaign. But even if the team comes up empty-handed in their pursuit of a championship, Monz has an important life lesson for them all.
“Inevitably, there will be times when you won’t be able to achieve your goals, and will sometimes fall short,” Monz said. “How you respond to that failure and move on from it is going to be one of the most important lessons you learn in a high school classroom.”