André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
New Excelsior High School head coach, David Riley, says he is quite pleased with the work carried out by the Mountain View Avenue-based school at their first ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Championships under his watch, as he lays the foundation for his new programme.
Riley, who led Wolmer's Boys to their last victory in 2010, before leaving that programme after a disagreement with the school, was brought in by Excelsior to add new life to a programme that has been in the doldrums over the past few years.
"There is a whole generation and a half of Excelsior past students who have not seen Excelsior athletes competing on the last day of Champs and we want to get some visibility and to get fans of the school cheering again and excited about going to Champs," Riley told The Sunday Gleaner.
adjustment on both sides
"It is starting over, adjusting is on both sides. The athletes and administration have to adjust to my approach to things and training, and I too have to adjust to the administration, the skills and abilities of the kids there and it has been an adjustment on both sides," Riley added. "It's been working well, the kids have been committed and have benefited from much of what I know and have brought to the programme."
Riley, who has served on the coaching delegation for several national junior teams, including the head coach role, is also expected to be officially announced shortly, as the head coach to this year's Carifta Games in The Bahamas.
"This particular Champs, we started what we called 'Operation Eagles', which is really to rebuild the legacy and tradition of Excelsior, known as the Eagles," Riley explained.
But why Excelsior?
A much-respected track and field coach, Riley was one of the most in-demand coaches after his ties were severed with Wolmer's, but as he explained, the facilities at Excelsior certainly made it an easy decision for him.
"Excelsior has a lot of facilities that are important to a sustained track and field programme," Riley said. "It's the first 400m eight lane grass track in Jamaica and it's there and really nice.
We have a very large weight room; much nicer than what I am accustomed to; there is an indoor full-sized basketball court that allows us to do indoor-type training - regardless of the weather we can train," he added.
"They have dormitories that allow us to have camp, and a swimming pool, and it's the kind of facility that coaches like myself would like to have to develop athletic talent. It was a no brainer for me," said Riley.