Wallin recognized for success
Edward Rudman – Sports Writer
John Wallin, men’s track and field and cross country head coach, has been named part of the Northeast 10’s 40 Most Outstanding Individuals list in celebration of the conference’s 40th anniversary.The conference also recognized the 40 iconic moments from conference history.
“I am truly honored and humbled to be recognized by the NE10 and SCSU as one of the top coaches in the NE10,” said Wallin.
Underneath the tutelage of Wallin, the track and field program has been one of the most successful programs Southern Athletics has.
During Wallin’s first 10 years as coach of the Owls, the program has claimed seven NE10 Men’s Indoor Championships, consecutively winning the last four. They’ve also won eight NE10 Men’s Outdoor Championships, victorious in the last three.
Wallin has been named the NE10 Indoor Track and Field Coach of the Year eight times during his tenure and Outdoor Coach of the Year eight times.
He has coached 77 All-Americans, an individual national champion, and four Field Athletes of the year, according to Southern’s Athletic Website.
“I want to emphasize the kids on the team really deserve all the accolades,” said Wallin. “And before the head coach does, it’s always going to be the assistant coaches, the behind the scenes people that make the whole thing work. There’s no two ways about it.”
Wallin has built his staff of assistant coaches with Southern alumni who competed for the Owls during their own collegiate track and field careers. It’s something Wallin said is paramount to the success the program has been able to achieve and sustain over the years.
Assistant Coach Brian Nill once competed as an Owl and had Wallin as his coach himself. He said that Wallin has been instrumental in his career as an athlete and during his career as a coach, and that their relationship together has evolved over the years.
“We’ve definitely grown a lot closer and we have a lot of the same decision making, we have the same brain and we’re on the same page for a lot of stuff,” said Nill. “When you’re an athlete, it’s not that you’re taking orders from your coach but your coach is kind of guiding everything and see where you’re going. It’s cool now to be able to work with someone to get to that point.”
Wallin has coaching track in his blood, as his father was also a track coach. Wallin grew up around that atmosphere, learning whatever he could from his dad.
“My father was the head coach at Dartmouth College, and so I went to all his track meets when I was a kid and would go to his championship meets and I would go to some of his NCAA championships. I just fell in love with what he did on a daily basis, because he really loved his job and was all about it, and I just wanted to be all about something.”
When Wallin graduated from Southern, he did not know what he wanted to do. His father suggested that he take on a graduate assistant position at Dartmouth for strength and conditioning. After a four- or five-month stint, he moved into his father’s world as a track coach and the rest was history.
“Obviously we can talk about the weight room and stuff, but I feel like mindset, Coach Wallin, always ends his emails with ‘welcome to the fire’ and it really is all about welcome to the fire,” said field athlete Mekhi Barnett, a senior. “It’s not about how you start, it’s about how you finish. Going into the weight room, I just feel confident. Believe it or not, this is Wallin’s body.”