By David Zheng
David Zheng: How many years have you coached at Carmel?
Chuck Koeppen: This year is starting my 37th year that I’ve been at Carmel. I have actually been coaching for 41 years because I was at a couple of other schools before I came here.
DZ: What do you plan to do after you retire?
CK: I’m still working on that. I will most likely stay with the sport somehow, but I’m not ready to get put out to the pasture yet. I’m not too old to still get things done. I’ll probably spend some time with my grandkids and family, travel and play some golf, but I will still be connected with the sport of cross-country somehow.
DZ: Are there any pre-meet rituals you have before cross-country meets?
CK: There’s a lot of things we do that are just second nature now, but I don’t know if they are any different than what other people do. Before meets we do stride-outs and then meet together as a team on the last stride-out. We always get together and everyone puts a hand in the middle, and usually I’ll say a few words. That’s a routine that we’ve always done. Everybody does it now, but 35 years ago nobody was doing that stuff. Everybody does stride outs now…it’s like part of the game. Previous to 35 years ago nobody did it.
DZ: What was your favorite moment as a coach?
CK: First time we ever won was a big moment in my life. The first time we won track was a big moment in 2001. 1976 was the first State title in XC, but we also won the State in track in 2001 so that was a big thrill. Four different times we won the State XC meet in boy’s and girl’s on the same day: 1982, 1987, 1988 and 1996.
DZ: Who is your favorite athlete?
CK: I don’t know. I’d probably have to say Mickey Mantle was my favorite athlete when I was a kid. I just kind of grew up around baseball and stuff. Mickey Mantle, he’s just a good person.
A Closer Look at Chuck Koeppen
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