Q&A: Mr. Fredrick


Renee DiNino (12), Mr. Ron Fredrick, English, Nicole Verdeyen (12) and Alexandria Tyler (12) cross their arms on the track. Mr. Fredrick was given the Coach of the Year award by the Post-Tribune.

Cami Wallace, Author

Q: How long have you been coaching?

A: At Lake Central, this will be my 15th year.

Q: What has been the biggest change in coaching over the last 15 years?

A: I think the biggest change is that we have managed to make the girls in track and field realize it is a sport, not a social activity.

Q: What is your coaching philosophy?

A: It’s simple. It’s my philosophy for my students, and my philosophy for my team. Do your best always. You’ll never lose. Whether the score says you’re ahead or behind, always do your best, and everything will take care of itself. Your best isn’t the same every day.

Q: What keeps you motivated to coach?

A: I don’t ask anything from anyone that I don’t expect from myself. On one level, the motivation comes from always making sure I’m doing everything I can to make them better, but I like them. They’re great people. I like being around them.

Q: What award were you given?

A: [I was given] the Post-Tribune’s Coach of the Year award. The newspaper selects an all-area team — the best athletes in their subscription area. That’s the west half of St. Joseph County, Porter County, Newton County, Lake County, Jasper County, Stark County [and] Pulaski County. The all-area team has an all-area coach, and that’s me.

Q: How did you feel?

A: [I felt] somewhat surprised. This is the fifth time I’ve won it. This is the third year in a row that I’ve won it. It reflects [the girls’] work. That’s why when you asked me for a picture, I [didn’t] want it of just myself. It reflects their work. It reflects their dedication. It reflects their effort. I know my girls for the past 10 years have given more than everybody else in the area. If the success of the team is going to be the measure of who the best coach is, on one level without sounding arrogant, because it’s them, it should be me because they work so hard. They tend to not give the same award twice in a row. I was very surprised last year when I got it for the second time in a row. Since I got it last year, it wasn’t quite a surprise that they gave it to me this year. Again, it’s not what I do. It reflects what the girls do. Being named coach of the year says that the girls have worked really hard and have been very successful. Particularly for the coaches, they try to spread it around [that] they like to recognize different people. That’s three in a row and four of the last [five].