Meet 32-time Coach of the Year, CCU’s Alan Connie

Alan-ConnieIn 35 years of coaching, Coastal Carolina University’s Alan Connie has racked up an impressive list of accomplishments and awards. The initial reaction upon hearing this list is disbelief. That is, until you visit his trophy room.

The small room located inside his home in North Myrtle Beach is lined wall to wall, floor to ceiling with awards and citations gained through 8 years of high school coaching and 28 years at Coastal.

While most coaches would be content with a single Coach of the Year honor, Connie has racked up 32 Big South coach of the year awards. Add to that 27 Big South Championships, “13 in cross country and seven each in outdoor track and field and indoor track,” said Connie.

Connie got his start coaching at North Myrtle Beach High School in 1979. “I took over the boys Cross Country Team. In 1980 & 1981 we won state Championships in boys Cross Country. In 1980 I started coaching the girls track team. In 1983 and ‘84 we were state runners up and in 1985 and 1986 we won the state championship. In 1987 I started coaching here at coastal, but I coached one more year at North Myrtle Beach. We had a whole new group of people and finished state runner-ups.” In addition to the 4 state titles at North Myrtle Beach, Connie was voted the South Carolina Track and Field/Cross Country Coach of the Year four times.

“While I was at North Myrtle Beach, we won the region titles each year that I was a coach. Our overall record of our girls track team was 169 wins, with 2 losses and 1 tie,” said Connie.

In 1986, Coastal Carolina transitioned to Division I and began a women’s Cross Country program. Successful at the high school level, Connie was tapped to lead the emerging sport. CCU added outdoor track and field in 1994, and indoor track was added in 1998. Connie would lead all three programs.

“I’ve always loved sports, but I was always mediocre at best as an athlete,” Connie-ringssaid Connie. “I find that I’ve been much more successful coaching wise. It’s a great medium to see young people flourish. Not just to achieve excellence in athletics, but academically, socially, and personally. When I saw how transformational athletics could be during my time at North Myrtle Beach, it just became very inspiring. Coaching is my creative outlet and I also find that I have the ability to motivate and inspire people, and that’s a big part of coaching. A lot of people know the X’s and O’s, but the ability to relate to people, and motivate and inspire, that makes a big difference.”

Connie’s CCU teams have been ranked in the Top 30 nationally 4 different years since the late 90’s. He’s coached 11 All-Americans including 5-time All-American and 2 time Olympian Amber Campbell. In addition, CCU athlete Jolene Williams was a 2-time All-American and finished 2nd at the NCAA national Championships in the 3000 meters indoors.

Walking into that trophy room, it’s evident that Connie is very passionate about coaching and working with young adults. Despite the multiple display cases and shelves lining the walls, there is still room for more.

“I’ve got a great passion for what I do,” said Connie. “I’m just taking it one day and one week and one year at a time. I get my inspiration from working with these young people every day and seeing their passion and their dedication and their resiliency, that’s inspiring to me. Gibran said ‘Work is love made visible’, and I think that says it all.”

In college athletics, winning says it all. And with 27 Big South Championships and 32 Coach of the Year awards, Alan Connie has certainly had his say.

Editors Note: The Lady Chanticleers clinched the 2014 Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships on Saturday giving Connie his 28th Championship. He’s also been awarded his 33rd Coach of the Year award. The win also gives Connie another Triple Crown, winning championships in women’s Cross Country, Indoor Track & Field, and Outdoor Track & Field in a single year.  Connie-Solo

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