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Charles Auto Family’s Getting to Know: Southeast track and field’s Melinda Furr

Charles Auto Family’s Getting to Know: Southeast track and field’s Melinda Furr


By Tom Nader

Publisher and Editor


The “Getting to Know” series is designed to help the community 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 Southeast High School girls track and field her coach Melinda Furr, who is in her fourth year leading the Pirates’ program.


Q: Hometown?

A: Randolph.


Q: High school?

A: Waterloo High School. Class of 1999. Played volleyball, basketball, softball and track and field.



Q: Current occupation?

A: Physical education and health electives teacher at Southeast High School.


Q: What inspired you to be a coach?

A: My parents were both coaches. They were incredible leaders and positive role models to teach the games with respect and integrity. Plus, I have always loved sports and competition. I enjoy helping others and love seeing someone reach their full potential.


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

A: Our students are the best. They are so much fun to teach, coach and m mentor. They are respectful, incredibly hard working and appreciate the little things. Being a part of the Southeast family is special!


Q: Who has been your biggest influence?

A: My parents were definitely my biggest influences. They always taught hard work, perseverance and integrity. If you want to be successful in anything, you must work for it.

My track and basketball coach, Frank Rossi was also a huge influence. He coached me with tough love. He always pushed the boundaries encouraging toughness and raised expectations.


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

A: My senior year of basketball, we were playing at Field. I dove for a loose ball in the second quarter and was sandwiched between two Falcons players. I heard a crunch in my shoulder and came up in pain. (I was a bit stubborn and refused to sit out). In the second half, I knocked down five 3-pointers. By far my best shooting half ever. I went to the ER after the game, and I had broken my clavicle. It was a running joke that maybe I shoot best when injured.


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

A: About 15 years ago, I was coaching basketball at Waterloo and pregnant with my first son, Massimo. I was sick every day. We would be mid-practice, sometimes I would be mid-senteence, and I would walk off the court, into the locker room, handle my “morning sickness” and walk back into practice like nothing happened. The team and I had a mutual understanding.


Q: Favorite TV show?

A: The Netflix series Ozark, as well as YOU, Yellowstone, Naked and Afraid XL.


Q: Favorite movie?

A: Home Alone and any Will Ferrell movie (Elf, Step Brothers, Old School).


Q: Favorite musical artist?

A: Old Dominion.


Q: Favorite food?

A: Mexican.


Q: Best vacation?

A: Last summer we took our boys to Sanibel and Captiva Island. It is absolutely gorgeous down there.


Q: Shoutout to former teammates?

A: My sister Dawn (Hamilton) Kuzniak, Sarah (Schultz) McKendrick, Stacey (VanHorn) Hicks, Jessie (Eichler) Hagan, Robyn Huth, Christina Francis, Liz (Royer) Barton.


Q: Favorite motto?

A: Go big or go home.


Q: Describe your coaching philosophy?

A: Create a positive family-like culture, where everyone has the opportunity to succeed. Encourage self-growth, personal accountability and teach them how to work hard. My favorite aspect of coaching is to teach young ladies valuable life lessons that they hopefully will carry with them throughout their adult lives.


Q: Favorite restaurant?

A: Los Gallos.


Q: Favorite teacher from high school?

A: High school history teacher Mr. Kline.


Q: Advice you would give the younger version of yourself?

A: I would tell my younger coaching self: Not everyone enjoys intensity and has the same passion for sports. Some athletes participate to find a sense of belonging and team environment and that is OK.


Q: Favorite coach from your playing days?

A: Coach Rossi and Coach Garrison.


Q: Coaching resume?

A: Coached track and field, JV softball and JV basketball at Waterloo High School; coached basketball for seven years and track and field assistant at Southeast High School; girls track and field head coach at Southeast High School.


Q: Favorite sports team?

A: Ohio State Buckeyes.


Q: Favorite athlete then?

A: I loved Omar Vizquel and Bernie Kosar.


Q: Favorite athlete now?

A: My boys, Massimo and Matteo Furr. I love watching them compete.


Q: First job as a teenager?

A: Bob’s Pizza.


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

A: My dad. His calm presence and vast knowledge is always something I respect and admire.


Q: Halloween costume last year?

A: Cheeseburger in Paradise.


Q: Favorite video game?

A: I’ve mastered Guitar Hero. I try to play vs. my boys in Madden, but it never ends well for me.


Q: Can you play any musical instruments?

A: Not well, LOL.


Q: Favorite candy?

A: Anything chocolate with caramel.


Q: First car?

A: 1986 Chevy Celebrity.

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