Brown facial hair, Valley Viking baseball cap turned backwards, purple track and field jacket, casual khaki pants and Red Bull energy drink sparkling in his right hand, Coach Nathan Christianson watches his team. Runners fly past the man as he waves his baseball cap and sprints back and forth across the football field screaming, “Twenty four seconds, twenty five seconds.” He’s followed by an army of athletes in purple jackets, faces red from yelling at fellow teammates.
This is a Missouri Valley track meet and the man in the baseball cap is the new head coach. Once the head coach of Brescia University cross country and track and field teams, Christianson discovered the position of head track and field and cross country coach at Missouri Valley from a friend. He immediately emailed Tom Fifer.
“I’m excited to be here working with all of you and you all have a lot of potential,” said Christianson in a track and field team meeting.
In a car accident in college, Christianson decided to become a track and field coach.
“Track and field, cross country–I love the sports,” Christianson said. “I grew up in the sports ever since I started in fourth grade during the junior Olympics, I love track and field at the college level. I love motivating young people especially in the college area, ages 18-23.”
In January, Christianson was hired as the new MVC track and field coach. His athletes love him as much as United States citizens love Super bowl ads. Athletes on his team approved of the new coach and admire the way he has changed the team.
“I like him,” said Sarah Niemeier.
“He’s a G,” said Kyland Sims.
Matt Leonard said, “He makes you want to get better. He really works one-on-one, and he wants his athletes to succeed and wants us to be a team.”
On any given day watch the track and field team practice and you’ll see coach C sprinting with his sprinters, pushing them to overcome their limits. On any given Sunday, Coach C and his distance runners may fly past your apartment with Christianson right in the middle of the pack.
January 18, 2012 marked Christianson’s first day as MVC track coach. It was a memorable one for his athletes.
Christianson said he loved the campus on sight. The first week of practice was exciting because everyone seemed ready to work hard. “I loved the diversity,” Christianson said.
February 7 during track and field practice, a long distance runner approached Christianson.
“Coach C, do you believe that their needs to be trust in a track and field team?” The runner asked.
“Yes,” Christianson answered. “When you have a track program this big, you need to put trust in your team. Each group has leaders and in their group, they have to lead.”
In most track and field teams, there will be a jumping, throwing, distance, and sprint coach. Christianson and his two assistant coaches have to be in 15 places at once. Because this is impossible, Coach C trusts his upperclassmen to lead when he is unable to personally watch each event.
Going to a MVC track meet, people won’t hear coach C talking about himself or what he has done. People will see him in the center of the track team huddle just like Ray Lewis for the Ravens or Dwight Howard for the Magic.
On expectations for the team this year, he will look at you with his white baseball cap put on backwards, purple jacket, red bull, and grin and say, “Conference Champions.”