Upon learning he had been named the 4A conference Grand Canyon Region track and field "Coach of the Year," Chuck Hardt was quick to praise his six assistants.
"When our program earns a COY award, you should know that each coach has earned a piece of the recognition," he said. "Our program is blessed to have great coaches who enjoy being around kids."
Also, he added, coaching a high school track and field squad must be a team effort among the coaches. "Anytime you have 60-plus kids involved with 17 different events, quality coaching is a huge concern."
Hardt also lauded his staff for their genuine concern for the student athletes' overall well-being and development. "Training kids for a championship performance is not all there is to coaching," he said.
The coaching staff includes assistants Norm Langeliers, Dan Reid and Carol Hayes, as well as volunteers Chuck Yale, Jon Gunzel and Bo Althoff.
Langeliers is a longtime PHS coach who handles the sprints and hurdles events. His son Brian, was a standout distance runner for the past three years.
Reid, a former president of the track coaches' association and a coach who has trained national caliber athletes, took over the throws this season.
Along with volunteer Jon Gunzel, the two helped mold senior Mike Barr into one of the state's best athletes in the shot put and discus. Barr did not turn out for track and field until last spring but managed a sixth place finish in the state meet with a throw that almost reached the magical 50-foot mark.
In the mid-90s, Gunzel was a record-setting shot putter and discus thrower for the Longhorns.
Chuck Yale, a retired teacher who coached track on the East Coast, handled the long jumpers and triple jumpers. Yale also helped stage some of the home meets and compiled stats and results.
PHS and Rim Country Middle School PE teacher Carol Hayes fit right into the program despite being in only her first year at the two schools. Hayes coached the high jumpers.
Arizona Public Service lineman Bo Althoff volunteer coached the pole vaulters. In the early 1990s while a student at PHS, Althoff was one of the most successful pole vaulters in the nation. He eventually earned a track scholarship to Arizona State University.
For Hardt, the coach of the year honor was the 16th such award he has received in track and field and cross country.