South Stokes Kyle Woods is going out on top. The first year track and field coach was named Western Piedmont Athletic Conference track coach of the year and soon after announced he’s stepping down. He and his family are moving to Kernersville where he’s taken a position at Aycock Middle School.
“I’ll definitely miss all the kids and the coaches. It was a blast getting to work with them,” he said.
Woods led the boys’ team to a conference championship and then took eight of those athletes to regionals where they came in second place.
The coach replaced Keith Gore who’d spent 30 years growing the track and field program before he retired.
“It was difficult in some sense because you feel that comparison. But I’d known him for a long time and he taught me a lot of things. He really took the extra time last year to prepare me knowing it was a good possibility I’d be the head coach.”
Woods added his own coaching style and his athletes responded positively.
“We put our own tweaks on it and for the most part the kids trusted and knew we were doing what was for their own good,” he said.
Like Gore, Woods became a vocal advocate in encouraging kids to try out for track.
“I’d definitely say the biggest appeal is you may not have world class speed, but you can come out here, work hard and have a team that’s going to support and cheer you on. When you set a personal record your teammates are going to be just as pumped as you are if you’d have won. That’s one of the unique things about track,” he said.
Woods said this season, as in years past, kids bought into the program.
“It was great seeing them have some success. In track there’s a team aspect to it but a lot of it is individual. A kid may not win the race, but if they set a personal record it’s a win for themselves.”
To get his athletes motivated, Woods kept a personal best sheet updated and handed it out before meets.
“They may not be the best in the conference or state but when they’re making progress it keeps it interesting and they’re usually having fun.”
This track season nine of South Stokes athletes made all-conference and four of those qualified for the state championship.
“If I taught them anything, I hope it’s that hard work pays off.”
Amanda Dodson can be reached at 336-813-2426 or on Twitter at AmandaTDodson.