Q&A: Bill Corcoran and Rick Scott, Wolves Cross Country Coaches
Bill Corcoran and Rick Scott have coached the Wolves Cross Country team for the last 29 years. Together they have nurtured and produced some of the most successful athletes in both the ACAC and CCAA, some of whom have gone on to compete at an international level.
We caught up with Corcoran, and Scott, to learn more about this longstanding partnership, and how it has shaped the running program at GPRC.
What made you decide to be a coach?
Corcoran: I really fell into coaching when I got to GPRC 29 years ago, when the XC coach at the time, Glen Chilton, asked me to help out. I was competing at a semi-competitive level, so I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to train with some of the better varsity runners. When Glen left GPRC the next year, I was asked to take over as the head coach. I asked Rick Scott to help me when I took over.
So, short story long … I started so I’d have other runners to train with. Things kind of snowballed from there.
Scott: Bill was looking for a van driver to help with getting the team to races, and I also enjoyed running, so I started training with the team which eventually led to helping with the coaching duties for 28 seasons.
What are the highlights of your career path that brought you to GPRC?
Corcoran: My academic degrees and work experience got me a job teaching business. That’s how I ended up here in the first place,
Athletically, I had the good fortune of training with and being coached by some of the top athletes/coaches in the country during my late teens and early 20s. When you grow up in an environment where you hang out with people who compete at a national championship, make the national team, and even go to world championships or the Olympics, you get to observe first-hand what it takes to be a top athlete. That experience really helps me to guide up-and-coming athletes who want to strive to be the best on their team, in the Conference, or even in the country.
Scott: I came to GPRC in January 1990 to work as the biology Lab Technologist after earning my B.Sc. and M.Sc. from the Department of Botany at the University of Alberta. I began helping with the running team in the Fall of 1991.
What do you want GPRC athletes to know about you?
Corcoran: Uh, tough one. I guess the most important thing for athletes to know is that Rick is the responsible one if a situation requires an adult. On the other hand, if you want to get things done, I know a guy, who knows a guy….
Scott: I have always enjoyed being active. The sports I played in high school were rugby and football, but I began running road races and competing in triathlons while in graduate school. All three of my kids competed for the Wolves.
What’s one thing you think every coach should know?
Corcoran: “Champions are born in every neighbourhood.” This is my favourite quote from Arthur Lydiard – the best endurance coach ever to grace the earth with his presence. Even if you are from Grande Prairie or Westlock or Beaverlodge or Toms Lake, you can still make the national team and go to the Olympics.
Scott: Coaching should be fun.
How would your athletes describe your coaching style?
Corcoran: Fun. We expect hard work and commitment, but if running XC at GPRC isn’t the highlight of your student experience, Rick and I aren’t doing our jobs to the best of our abilities.
Scott: They would say Rick provides lots of encouragement and takes lots of pictures.
What do you do when you aren’t working?
Corcoran: Origami, flower arranging, and interpretative dance, mostly … ok … none of that. I work out a lot – running, swimming, xc skiing, and getting totally swole in the weight room. I also like to obsess over my ever-shrinking portfolio of stocks. Maybe my children will make Marlene and I grandparents in the next few years, so I can start doing something useful in my spare time.
Scott: I retired from my Tech job at the end of June 2018 which gives me time for photography, reading, hiking, canoeing, swimming, bicycling and I still jog a bit. I also give school presentations on bugs and spiders and give other nature talks.
Final thoughts on the opportunity of a fresh season ahead?
Corcoran: Rick and I are really looking forward to hosting Nationals in November. We’d like the home team to put in a good performance against the best college runners in the land. After that, it’s time for Rick and I to ride off into the sunset. Twenty-nine years is long enough – it’s time for some new folks to experience the great pleasure of coaching XC and indoor track at GPRC.
Scott: I am looking forward to meeting the new runners and welcoming back the returning athletes. Hosting the 2019-20 CCAA XC Nationals Championship will be a highlight this season.