By Marty Gordon
Blacksburg High School Coach Brandon Bear has been named the 2018-19 Girls Track and Field Coach of the Year by the Virginia High School League. The announcement was made last Wednesday.
In his tenure between cross country, indoor track & field and outdoor track & field, Bear has won five girls state titles, nine girls regional titles, two boys state titles and 11 boys regional titles.
Bear said he was surprised to be recognized by the VHSL. “There are a lot of great programs with great coaches in our state who had a successful season this past year, so it was a pleasant surprise to be acknowledged,” he said. “I think it shows the cohesiveness of the whole coaching staff and our continued development of a culture that helps encourage and grow our students.”
Bear started as an assistant coach under James DeMarco in 2010 and took over as head coach of the indoor track & field squad in 2015-2016.
“A big part of our success at Blacksburg is the relationships we as coaches develop with the students,” Bear said. “We work hard to have a supportive and productive environment where the students feel they can be successful, and that if they work hard, they can achieve great things.
Bear went on to say, “We also aim to be a program for everybody, which helps give us big rosters each year (roughly 100 kids in cross country this season, nearly 150 for indoor track and field and nearly120 for outdoor track) and when you have those sorts of numbers it becomes easier for someone to break through and contribute.
“It has also been tremendously helpful for us to have cross country and track and field at the middle school level,” Bear said. “Those coaches provide the same sort of environment that gets kids excited about our sport and feeds them into our programs at the high school.”
The Virginia High School League award means Bear will now be considered for further honors at the sectional and national levels.