(Third in a series highlighting the five members of the Sacramento Running Associationís 2016 Hall of Fame class. Today: Bob King).
If you speak to former athletes at Mira Loma or Del Campo about Coach Bob King, the message is consistent and strong. A lot like the coach himself.
Work hard, trust the plan, donít think too much and the results will come. And remember, the team is always greater than the individual.
"I try to get as many students out as I can and then do the very best job I can to help them all become competent runners, succeed in racing to the best of their abilities, have fun and learn the values of competition and cooperation," said King, one of five inductees in the Sacramento Running Associationís 2016 Hall of Fame class. "Athletes are not just individuals on our team but each is an integral part of the team."
Bob King took over coaching duties at Mira Loma High School in 1967 as a 20-something year old with a military approach and a lot to prove.
Fifteen years later, he left Mira Loma with 11 league and five section cross country titles and a 62-league meet winning streak. He also tallied nine league and one section title in track and field with two separate streaks of 33 consecutive league meet wins. Combined, his cross country and track and field records at Mira Loma featured 306 wins, 28 losses and four ties.
King, 76, joins CIF champion Clifton West, national high school record-holder Alex Kosinski, talented ultramarathoner Jim Howard and long-time Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run race director Greg Soderlund in the 2016 Hall of Fame class, which will be honored at the SRAís Hall of Fame and Annual Achievement Awards dinner on Feb. 27 at the Holiday Inn Capitol Plaza in Sacramento.
Tickets for the 6 p.m. event are $50. For more information, visit RunSRA.org.
Among his pupils at Mira Loma was California International Marathon co-founder and SRA Hall of Famer John Mansoor.
"The key takeaway that I got was that Coach King was relentless in his approach towards athletics and winning, so with that in mind, you did what you had to do to beat the guy next to you," said Mansoor.
"Just go out and beat somebody. That relentless approach is what I applied to my life and my training.
"The team is greater than the individual and that message will always resonate."
After Mira Loma, Coach King took over at Del Campo High School in 1982.
In over 34 years, his Del Campo cross country teams have captured 500 wins, 17 league titles, 15 section titles and have competed at the California State Meet 24 times. Del Campo finished in the top-10 in the state meet 18 out of 31 years the team rattled off 153 straight league wins from 2001 to 2011.
In the 19 years he was at the helm of the Del Campo track and field program, the team captured 12 league titles and another 129 wins.
"Coach King provided all runners in the program the foundation for living a very productive life and a lot of us did very well running in the process," said Konrad Knutsen, a distance standout for King at Del Campo in the early nineties.
"Itís about hard work and I think that message is relevant.
"He gave me structure and purpose and something to shoot for. That transcended with schoolwork and relationships with my family.
"I wanted to put forth that same effort and energy in other parts of my life."
All told, Coach Kingís teams have won 20 Sac-Joaquin Section titles in track and cross country and he has mentored 45 California State Track Meet competitors. Bob King has coached a state champion discus thrower, a cross country state champion and 26 athletes who went under 4:25 in the mile.
"Even though there is much work involved, I am so fortunate to have spent 50 years - so far - involved in athletics and competition," said King.
"Twenty-five years ago a parent at Del Campo said to me, ĎI envy you. You have a fun job.í He was right, that is what it is.
"For me, it is absolutely true."
Forty-nine years into the gig and each year is a new challenge but the message he delivers and the energy he brings never wavers. Strive to excel, succeed in competition and in life and aim to do something as well as you can do it.
King lives in Davis with his wife, Claire. He has one daughter, Angela, and a grandson, Christopher (4 years old), who loves to challenge Pa to a race.
King and the other four inductees join the 22 members already in the SRA Hall of Fame. The inaugural class of 2013 featured Billy Mills, Rae Clark, Eileen Claugus, Chris Iwahashi, Helen Klein, Paul Reese, Dennis Rinde and Linda Somers Smith. The 2014 class included Michael Stember, Al Baeta, Patti Gray Bellan, Lindsay Hyatt Barr, Harold Kuphaldt, John Mansoor, Heike Skaden Mansoor and Tim Twietmeyer. The 2015 class featured Sally Edwards, Walt Lange, Eric and Mark Mastalir, Jim OíNeil and Bill Finkbeiner.
The Sacramento Running Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to finding new ways to encourage people of all ages and abilities to run. The SRA is committed to developing new, quality running events that appeal to a broad variety of runners.