Monz earns coaching award for seventh time

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Kristin Barbieri

Coach Monz at indoor track meet

Natalie Rassiger, Staff Writer

 After 44 years as the cross country and track and field coach at WHS, in early December, John Monz was named Division 4 Coach of the Year by the Boston Globe in recognition of his performance as the girls cross country coach, making it the seventh time he has received this recognition for coaching various track teams. 

   Although this award recognizes Monz’s individual achievements, in his mind it signifies more about what the girls were able to accomplish. Specifically, Monz is proud of how they were able to finish the season with a Dual County-Small title and as runner up at the Division 3 State meet. 

   “This team means the world to me, and the things that they were all able to accomplish are amazing,” said Monz. “They are such a wonderful group of people, and I’m so excited to see them get as much recognition as possible.”

   While the respect of everyone’s hard work is central to his coaching, Monz makes sure not to let that blind him from focusing on helping the team perform at its best. He focuses on maintaining a consistent approach of high expectations as well as compassion for each runner, keeping in mind that not every day will be the same.

   “He has total empathy for the kids on the team and he understands how hard it is to try and be your best every day,” said senior runner Julie Hohenberg.

   Monz believes it is crucial to take the responsibilities of coaching seriously and does his very best to meet every student athlete’s needs. He understands that patience is an important trait to have as a coach as he knows that it takes time to develop skills in anything, especially sports, and optimism is crucial even if things are going badly. 

   “Once you start to doubt yourself and to feel really negative about what’s going to happen, it’s really difficult to have a successful performance,” said Monz. “You have to believe in yourself and you have to believe in the possibility of success.”

   Monz takes the time to understand the motivational needs of all of his athletes while teaching them important life skills along the way. 

   “One main lesson that Monz has taught me is that I can do more than I think I can. Running fast is all about pushing yourself,” said Hohenberg. “Fast times won’t feel comfortable. Monz stresses how sometimes ‘your brain tells you to stop, but you’re able to keep going.’” 

   Monz’s whole life, especially his younger years, shows that he embodies the idea of never giving up. During graduate school, he had no money and worked late nights cleaning the floors at Legal Seafoods in Chestnut Hill. 

   He would go to work when the restaurant closed, get whatever food was left over from that night, and work from 9:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. During his time as an employee there, he ran into an old friend who showed him that he could put his time into something else rather than cleaning floors. 

   “During that job, I had a friend named Mark Young who I had met through track at Boston College,” said Monz. “He was the winter coach at Weston during that time. He asked me if I had any interest in coaching, and I was like ‘I don’t know, maybe? How much does it pay?’ When he told me, I figured out how many nights of cleaning the floor that would equal and was like, ‘I think coaching would be better.’”

   Despite falling into coaching unexpectedly, today Monz is recognized for being one of the best coaches in Massachusetts.

   “He was a fantastic distance runner at Boston College in the 70s, so it is no surprise that he is such a phenomenal coach,” said junior Neel Sharma. “He truly deserves this award and everything that comes with it and I am so happy that I decided to join the team.” 

   Monz could not be happier with the way the season turned out, and his runners give him much of the credit. 

   “‘In Monz We Trust,’ is a common saying on the Weston High School Cross Country Team,” said sophomore Chloe Schiller. “It is almost like a ritual at this point. We say it at every meet hoping that it would bring us luck, and evidently it did.”

   This saying means a lot to these athletes because they attribute a lot of their success to Monz.

   “To many of us athletes, Monz’s knowledge of cross country and track is beyond our imagination. He is so good at what he does and knows his athletes so well, that we can put our full trust in him without any doubts,” said Hoenberg.

   The cross country and track and field teams are considered to be a family, and the athletes would not want it any other way. The team agrees that Monz undoubtedly deserves this award for the time and effort that he puts into the team, all so that everyone will succeed in their own way.