High School Head Coach: Jonathan Derry
Middle School Head Coach: Luke Montgomery
Meet the Coach: Jon Derry
• Family: Wife; Andrea; 2 Dogs, Buck and Tonks
• Church: Hikes Point Christian Church
• Occupation: CAL MS Bible Teacher
• School(s) Attended: HS-Christian Academy of Louisville (2008);
College-Ozark Christian College
• Sport(s) Played: Football, Track and Field
When did you start running and why? I started running track my sophomore year of high school at CAL just to “get in shape” for football. My brother Joe convinced me to try it out, but I was skeptical at first. “How can anyone like a sport that only involves running!?” I thought. But the coaches, team atmosphere, and high level of competition got me hooked. There are few things in life more enjoyable than running down someone in a 4×400 meter relay … just sayin’!
The great Olympian and later missionary to China, Eric Liddell, said, “God made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.” I’m certainly not as fast as Eric Liddell, but I do feel God’s pleasure when I run, which is the main reason I love to do it.
How long have you been coaching @ CAL? This will be my 4th year coaching at CAL, spring with Track/Field and fall with Cross Country.
In what ways do you use running to teach your athletes about Jesus? Running is a great analogy for life with Jesus. The discipline, dedication, and drive it takes to be a competitive track athlete easily translate to our walk with God. Even the apostle Paul found it a worthy metaphor. He says in 1 Corinthians 9:24, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” And again in Acts 20:24, he says, “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.”
Every serious runner has at some point faced the pain and agony that comes toward the end of a race and is forced to make a choice – fight through it or give in. Fighting through it is much harder and more unpleasant, but the reward is worth it – the glory of victory. Giving in is easier and less painful, but you go away feeling a little empty-handed.
Paul uses this idea and applies it to the Christian life – we should run our race like we are trying to win. It’s harder, tougher, and much more unpleasant, but the end result is worth it – eternal glory with Christ.
What are your goals for this year’s team? Our number one goal for all of our athletes is that they be conformed into the image of Christ as they live out their faith at school, in their sports, at home, and, hopefully, to the ends of the earth. When other teams see us compete, we want them to see Jesus’ light shining through us, both in victory and in defeat.
Our team theme is “90 Strong.” This represents the amount of points we need to score in order to be competitive at the State meet at the end of May. To accomplish this goal, we will have to work as a team and be well-rounded in all 18 events of Track and Field. Our school has had multiple individual State titles, but never a Team State title in Track and Field. Our goal is to be the first CAL team to do it. If we are 90 Strong at State, then Regional titles should follow also.
Last, but not least, we want to “Do it for the funzies!” This is a silly thing I tell my athletes to make sure they keep things in perspective and enjoy the moment.
What do you look forward to most this year? My favorite part about coaching is the look in the eyes of an athlete when it finally “clicks.” This could be when they understand how to correctly come out of the blocks, put together a great triple or long jump, kick their feet up at the end of a high jump, or 3 step between hurdles. More importantly and most rewarding, however, is seeing them understand the depth of God’s love for them, regardless of how they perform at a meet, the true joy that comes from worshiping God through their efforts, not out of obligation, but out of gratitude, and the satisfaction that comes from being a part of something bigger than all of us – God’s Kingdom.