The Ranger Review

After Years of “Playing Track,” Coach Folan to Retire

Morgan Selby, Ranger Review Staff Writer

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Folan looks for the most committed people. He is committed to winning and helping athletes achieve their best results.

46 years ago John Folan got a job as a teacher and found himself coaching. Now he is a seasoned track coach who has spent 26 years at Greely.

 

Coach Folan was a high school athlete and did one season of indoor track in college. Folan became a “track junkie” whose love for the sport is still strong after over 40 years. He has coached high school baseball, basketball, track and cross country.  Coach Folan’s years of experience crafted his coaching expertise.

 

Many of Folan’s athletes have gone on to compete in college athletics and have carried his coaching philosophy with them. “The purpose of sport is not universal success, but the persistent pursuit of excellence despite setbacks and less-than-perfect results,” said Kirstin Sandreuter, a Greely alumni athlete who ran track at Cornell. Her memories of “Papa Fo” come back to his tough love attitude. His tough love, which stuck with her, helped her through her college athletic career.

Vicki Curran

 

His pragmatic coaching philosophy is also something that Greely Athletic Director David Shapiro notices. Mr. Shapiro said, “Coach Folan can be very clear and direct about what our student athletes need to do.”

 

Though Coach Folan often says, “There is no such things as a perfect track meet,” his career certainly indicates he knows how to be successful. Accumulating 23 state championships between boys and girls indoor (15) and outdoor track (7), the real accomplishment is found in the years in between. When Greely did not win a state championship, the teams consistently were runner up or placed highly.

 

Folan prides himself in the success of the indoor and outdoor track teams but is quick to give credit to more than just his coaching. According to Coach Folan, successful coaching “is easy, but it’s not me.” He credits the community that he works in and said, “the people here, both adults and kids are pre-dispositioned for success.” He also credits his coaching staff to whom he gives “complete autonomy.” As the head and sprint coach, Folan works with four other assistant coaches to help create a well-rounded team.

Coach Folan values commitment from his athletes first and foremost. This has been one of his greatest struggles over the past few years. He said, “kids are being pulled apart all over the place” and he struggles to find the level of commitment he hopes for. Nevertheless, Folan has stuck with the sport and is only retiring to “force him out of coaching.”

He is moving to Florida to spend time with his family and travel–something he has not had the opportunity to do between athletic seasons. He has a love for gardening and was welcomed in his new neighborhood after volunteering to shovel all of the Floridian snow from his neighbors’ driveways. He plans to come back and visit either to “just wave and say hello” or help out at the meets either coaching or officiating. Though he will retire soon, he’s not done “playing track.”

 

 

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About the Writer
Morgan Selby, Ranger Review Staff Writer

I’m a senior at Greely and have been attending here since my sophomore year. I really want to focus my stories on school spirit. I also hope to write...

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After Years of “Playing Track,” Coach Folan to Retire