Some high school coaches were standout athletes growing up. Some had a parent that was in the world of coaching and wanted to follow in their footsteps. Some of them even got into coaching before their playing careers ever stopped and knew that is how they wanted to coach for a career.
New Big Spring Head Girls’ Track & Field Coach Audrey Dunn is unlike any of those examples and she is perfectly alright with that.
“I was not a collegiate athlete, I was not a stud by any means and I never really even saw myself going into education,” Dunn said. “No star athlete here and no championships but just the passion and love for the opportunity and discipline that athletics provides for some of our students.”
Big Spring has been looking for a new coach to fill the track & field position over the past month or so after the departure of Coach David Jeffery. At first, Dunn did not think she was going to take the position and thought about the decision long and hard before she began to warm up to the idea after a few weeks.
Dunn had told all of her colleagues at Big Spring High School in the past that she had no desire to be a head coach and she liked her role as an assistant. The Ferris High School graduate has been an assistant coach for volleyball, basketball and track for years. After speaking the decision over with basketball coach Krystle Jim and volleyball coach Kaitlyn Braswell, her assistants with track & field, the Lady Steers finally had a new Track & Field Head Coach.
“I was ecstatic,” Dunn said. “In the past, I absolutely desired to become a head coach and I made that a point for everyone to know. I was complacent with my role as an assistant. When the opportunity came up I was hesitant and I was unsure. It was something within myself that I had to come to grips with because I knew the type of kids that we have and the caliber of athletes that we have. We tell our girls that we want them to push themselves day-in and day-out to get them out of their comfort zone and never settle. So, I had to take my own advice and here I am.”
In high school, Dunn was not the most skilled athlete and was not winning any awards, but her heart and love for the game is what really drew her to sports. Her favorite sport growing up was basketball and he ended up specializing in the sport in high school. She attended Texas Tech and majored in chemistry and planned to go into a career in the medical field. After awhile without getting much closer to a career in her desired field, a simple suggestion from her husband pushed Dunn into a career in teaching.
She did not coach her first year at Big Spring and instead was a consistent fan in the stands for some of her students that would invite her to their games. Being so close to the game and so close to the players sparked something within Dunn that first year at Big Spring and she became an assistant coach the following school year.
Before long, Dunn was the top assistant coach for the Lady Steers in multiple sports and was making a major impact on the student-athletes who came through her program. Dunn is not a very intense coach but she still wants the best out of her players. With a different coaching style than her track & field predecessor, Dunn is expecting some changes within her program but also feels that Jeffery laid a solid foundation and left her with a strong template to follow.
“Going forward I think I will have an opportunity to make my own mark along with the assistants that I have,” Dunn said. “I think they will do a good job helping mold me into the head coach that I will become.”
Sports teach us all things that we did not know about ourselves and are also a great way of finding out what your limits are and pushing yourself to those limits. Every athlete and coach has a story of why they got involved in athletics and what sports mean to them. The lessons that can be learned on the court or on the field can last with that athlete their entire lifetime and will help mold them into the adult they will become.
What was the biggest thing Dunn learned through sports?
“Perseverance,” Dunn said. “Thinking you’re not capable of accomplishing something but when someone is in your corner advocating for you and encouraging you and providing you with the tools that you need in order to be successful and you buy-in. That’s when your perspective changes and that when you’re really shown what you’re capable of.”
Athletic Director Mike Ritchey made a great decision to choose Dunn to take over the track & field team and there are high expectations for the squad next spring. With Dunn soon set to enter her first-ever school year as Head Coach of her own program, there will plenty of eyes on the team next year to see if they can pick up where they left off.
Every coach across the state would like to say their goal and expectation is to win the state championship in their respective sports. Dunn can be included in that group. Although she is confident and ready for her first year leading the team, Dunn also expects a learning curve and is just looking to start her head coaching career off on a high note.
“I’m hoping to build off of the momentum we had put together this past season,” Dunn said.
The future of Big Spring Girls’ Track & Field seems to be in good hands. With Dunn at the helm the work will not stop and the entire team will continue to persevere.
Shawn Moran is the sports writer at the Big Spring Herald. To contact him, e-mail email@example.com or call 432-263-7331.