Jerome was my hurdle coach all four years of high school. I remember a hard fall (one of many) and being so frustrated that I was ready to give up and pursue something else. I can still hear his words of genuine encouragement and support pushing me through all four seasons. He was the reason I believed I could even compare to other runners. I set a goal to make it to state in the hurdles (despite my short legs) and accomplished that because of him. We had actual tears after that race, knowing it was the last race I’d run with him as my coach.
He didn’t just teach us to run. He taught us to always compete with only ourselves, no one else. He pushed us to be our best. He held us accountable when he knew we could do better. He supported us not only on the track, but in our lives outside of running. When I think of my foundation of personal strength and growth throughout high school, he is one of the people I think of.
I know he is now watching over us with a huge smile. He is still cheering us on, proud of what we have all become and accomplished long after our track and field days. There are so many of us that will forever carry all that he has coached us to be. Thank you for that, Coach McFarland.