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Charles Auto Family’s Getting to Know: Field XC and T&F coach Ed Conroy

Charles Auto Family’s Getting to Know: Field XC and T&F coach Ed Conroy


By Tom Nader

Publisher and Editor


The “Getting to Know” series was created to learn more about the coaches and administrators that are guiding today’s Portage County student-athletes to be tomorrow’s leaders.

Today, we get to know Field High School cross country and track and field coach Ed Conroy, who is in his 18th year as the school’s cross country coach and 13th year as the track and field coach.



Q: Hometown?

A: Brimfield.


Q: High School?

A: Field High School. Ran cross country and track, played basketball.


Q: College?

A: University of Akron (Class of 1990). Business Education degree; Elementary degree.


Q: Current occupation?

A: Sixth grade math teacher at Field Middle School.


Q: What inspired you to be a coach?

A: I actually started my college career in business, but when asked to be the varsity girls coach at Field at 20 years old, the experience directed me into a career change. Deciding to be a teacher and coach has been a very rewarding experience. I have worked with so many excellent administrators, teachers, coaches, students and athletes over my 33 years of being in the profession.


Q: What makes being a coach at Field special to you?

A: It has been a rewarding experience teaching and coaching the sons and daughters of people I grew up with and now even their grandchildren. This community means a great deal to me and my family. My parents raised four children, who all went through Field schools. They are thankful for the quality of the people and teachers in our district and are still living in their home of 51 years.


Q: Who has been your biggest influence as a coach?

A: Bill Huntington had a major impact in my life. As a cross country and track coach, he spent 31 years at Field, impacting the lives of many great runners and left an incredible legacy with his multiple state championships and runner-up performances. In his career, he had many state athletes in both cross country and track, not to mention actual state champions in both sports. He had a way of getting the most of his runners and is still coaching at Malone University today. I spent 10 years as his middle-school coach, and for the past 18 years as the varsity head coach for cross country.

Following Bill has not been an easy task, but I am thankful to have been part of both programs and the strong history that many of us are very proud of. For me, personally, I have enjoyed having a connection to almost every athlete that has run at Field throughout its amazing history. I either knew them from growing up watching them, running with them or coaching them throughout the years.


Q: Funny story nobody would believe from your playing days?

A: I remembrer running at the Mogadore Reservoir early in my cross-country career with a couple of my teammates. I thought we were being attacked by a swarm of bees on the trails. We were yelling and swatting our arms all over the place. I ran into the reservoir to escape the swarm with my shoes and everything on! Later, I realized that the “swarm of bees” was nothing more than the deer flies, or horse flies, that we learned to endure on a daily basis. I am glad we didn’t have cell phones and video coverage back then, because I am sure we would have looked a little ridiculous.


Q: Funny story nobody would believe from your coaching career?

A: In 2008, I had a team in cross country make it to the state meet. We were on 71 South, in the middle of Columbus, when the bus driver told me that the bus had no power and were going to need to get off at the next exit. We called a bus mechanic at Field, and he told me how to fix the problem. I took a paperclip from my briefcase and fixed the issue — it got us through the weekend and all the way back to the school.

Needless to say, as a coach, I was worried about the bus making it through downtown Columbus, and I was a little on edge when I got back on the bus. One of the athletes thought it would be a good idea to blow up a paper bag and make noise that sounded like a tire exploding. That was not a good day for him an the bus ride to the stadium was quiet after that. We had a great weekend, but that was an unusual way to start my first trip to Columbus as a head coach.


Q: Favorite TV show?

A: Growing up, it was The Andy Griffith Show. As an adult, the American Pickers. My wife and I enjoy antiques, and I think Mike and the cast are very knowledgeable and entertaining.


Q: Favorite movie?

A: The Shawshank Redemption.


Q: Favorite musical artist?

A: The Eagles.


Q: Favorite meal?

A: Lasagna.


Q: Best vacation?

A: Grand Tetons and Yellowstone.


Q: Shoutout to former teammates?

A: Paul Demboski, Nate Loman, Mark Jones, Mark and Steve Schiablie, Ron Zuchin, Brad Hecker, Dave Person, Dale Baird.


Q: Favorite quote?

A: Give me a fish, I will eat for a day. Teach me to fish, I will eat for a lifetime.


Q: Describe your coaching philosophy?

A: I give the quote above to my athletes, and I try to teach them how to run an educated race, how to train and the strategies to use while racing. After a few years, it is now time for me to let the athlete decide on what they think works best for them. For example, the mileage they think works best for them, their diet and their racing style. I have suggestions and workouts that they do follow, but as they grow older, I want them to feel like they are doing the training and philosophies that they enjoy and work best for them. This could include weight training, bike riding and stretches that they do to better themselves — both mentally and physically.


Q: Favorite restaurant?

A: La Terrazza.


Q: Favorite teacher from high school?

A: Mrs. Jamerson. She was my English teacher, and she challenged me to join our school newspaper. I liked writing articles about fellow athletes and students in our school.


Q: Advice you would give your younger self?

A: Focus on the important things in life: Family, friends and the church. Work hard, but don’t forget to stop and enjoy life along the way. I would spend more time on relationships and travel more when I was younger. Also, get my Master’s at an earlier age, instead of working summer jobs to help ends meet.


Q: Favorite coaching from your playing days?

A: Bill Huntington.


Q: Coaching resume?

A: I coached at Field, Streetsboro and in Charleston, S.C. My first teaching job was in Charleston, where I was a business teacher and the head varsity track and field and cross country coach.


Q: Favorite sports team?

A: I don’t have a favorite sports team, but if I had to choose, I always stay loyal to our Cleveland teams.


Q: Favorite athlete then?

A: Earl Campbell.


Q: Favorite athlete now?

A: Nick Chubb. He lets his running do the talking for him. He is humble and a fantastic player.


Q: First job?

A: I delivered newspapers for the Record-Courier. Three years in the summer, winter fall and spring.


Q: Family member that always gave you the best advice?

A: My father is a retired accountant. He has given me financial pointers all my life. He has also been very supportive of my family, coaching and teaching activities.


Q: Favorite hobby?

A: I enjoy working with projects, like restoring old campers, working in the yard and building things.


Q: Can you play any instruments?

A: None at this time, but I played the trombone in high school.


Q: Favorite candy?

A: Anything chocolate.


Q: First car?

A: A brown Dodge Omni. “Omni” was written across the side in one foot letters… not cool.


Q: Best friends?

A: Since Kindergarten: Brad Hecker and Chis Church. Since high school: Dave Person. In life, my best friend is my wife Karin. To be a teacher and coach for over 30 years, you must have the support of your family. Karin has been there for me through all the good times and rough times of my career. Without her support, I would have never coached for all of these years and enjoyed the career I have had at our alma mater. She was also a Field graduate and grew up in this area. We still live in Suffield and feel blessed to be a part of such a great community.

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