STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
MARBLE FALLS — Marble Falls Independent School District officials didn’t have to look far to find its new track-and-field head coach at Marble Falls High School.
Officials announced the appointment of Rich Powers to the position beginning in the 2018-19 school year. Powers spent last season as the junior varsity boys basketball coach and was an assistant track coach during his first year on the MFHS staff.
“I have a lot of passion for track,” Powers said. “I love that you have to go out and get it as an individual. It teaches you perseverance because it’s you out there.”
He is replacing Anthony Torns, who left to pursue coaching opportunities in the private sector.
Powers was a head track coach for 12 years and has 16 years’ experience of coaching track in Minnesota. He has guided 19 different athletes to the state track meet.
Powers spent eight years in the Marine Corps as a training chief responsible for the physical training of more than 250 Marines each year.
He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in math from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington and is a certified personal trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine as well as a strength-and-conditioning coach through Bigger Faster Stronger, an internationally recognized physical fitness certification program.
Marble Falls athletic director Rick Hoover said that, aside from knowledge of the sport, he wanted a proven leader, and Powers fit the bill.
“With his background, he understands the importance of doing the little things right,” Hoover said. “He pays attention to detail, and that holds true across the board — in the program and with individuals.”
When fans think of the Lady Mustangs track team, they immediately think of sophomore Bailey Goggans, who clocked a top 10 time in the 800 meters in 2 minutes 11.62 seconds in the spring.
Goggans spent the weekend competing at the Brooks PR Invitational in Shoreline, Washington, where she posted a new personal best, finishing the race in 2:09.99 for seventh place.
“Bailey is an amazingly gifted athlete,” Powers said. “More than that, her personality is amazing.”
Still, he noted the team has many wonderful athletes, including junior distance runners Ambrie Lizcano and Jaden Johnson and junior hurdler Jessy Stephenson. All advanced to the Class 5A Region IV meet. The high school track program features some phenomenal male athletes, too.
“It’s nice to have both,” Powers said. “I want us to be competitive on both sides.”
While track and field might be an individual sport, Powers teaches team concepts so each athlete knows that finishing sixth is just as important as finishing first because both times add into the overall team score.
“I don’t know how many times I’ve asked an athlete to get out of their comfort zone to run in an event because we needed them to do it for the team,” the coach said. “Collectively, everybody is trying to get points for the team.”
His former athletes have said finishing a Powers workout means they’ve accomplished something because the coach is challenging the mental and emotional parts of the player as well as the physical.
“I want them all to improve across the board,” he said. “I’m looking for them to improve from the beginning to the end. It’s the tools to get them to the next level.”
He isn’t the only Marble Falls head coach in his home. His wife, Tanya, was named the Lady Mustangs volleyball head coach in December.
“Tanya and I are blessed to be in Marble Falls,” he said. “I’m excited about the foundation I’m taking. People have been great. Whatever we can bring to the table to contribute to the success, we’re going to bring it.”