Cross Country Q&A: Jacob Aguillard, St. Edmund

By Hunter Bower, Owner //

With the 2020 Cross Country season right around the corner, we wanted to chat with a few coaches from around the state and get their perspective on the upcoming season, dealing with the challenges of CoVID-19, their passions and more! 

Today, we are joined by first-year St. Edmund head coach, Jacob Aguillard

How do you prepare yourself to enter a new season? Do you change any coaching tactics? 

This year is obviously a little different. I spent my last three years at Crowley High School, and I am starting a new position here at St. Edmund High School. I will be taking over cross country and track, so I am excited to get rolling with these kids. Being that I am new, I am still learning the kids that want run cross country and trying to get more kids to come out. As far as coaching tactics, we cannot begin our first official practice until August 10th, so I would like for those coming out to build a base for their training on their own during the summertime. 

One of the programs to get started would be interval training to get a baseline on where the kids are at. I would like for our practices to be 3-4 times a week running between 2-4 miles with a stopwatch in their hand. The days they are not running, we will work on general strength exercises to give those running muscles a break. Once I have that, I would get into running for time with periods of jogging in between. Building the stamina and the pace for the boys and girls is my goal for this upcoming season. This is an exciting year for St. Edmund in all sports, and I believe we have a family-like environment amongst the coaching staff where we can be successful across the board. 

What are some goals you have for yourself, as well as goals you have for each team? 

Personal goals for myself is to be the best role mode and coach l that I can be for these kids. I enjoy running, and I believe it is a healthy hobby that these student-athletes will be able to carry past high school. I am competitive, and I always want to win. My goal for each team is to compete at a high level and to go to each meet with a mindset to win the day. Each practice needs to be treated as if we are trying to better our time from the one before.  

What are your thoughts on COVID-19 and the pandemic we are facing? 

First off, my thoughts and prayers go out to all of those affected by the pandemic. Many families are struggling in different ways, and I hope that all can grow closer to one another and know that there are good people out there willing to help those in need. I feel for the spring sport athletes that were not able to finish their 2020 seasons. There are many seniors that worked hard and put the work in to showcase it in front of families and friends there were unable to do that. As coaches, we are facing different times with all the guidelines we are following to ensure the safety of all coaches and student-athletes. There is a lot more that can be said about what is going on, but I believe that we will come back stronger as a community, state, and nation once we get past this. 

What is your favorite thing about coaching?

My favorite thing about coaching is being able to make a different in a young person’s life each day. How awesome is it that we get to go to work with a chance to make someone better? I do not think that there is a job much more rewarding than coaching. In the past four years, I have gotten to know many student-athletes who have helped shape me into the man that I am today.  For that, I am thankful. Not only that, but we can make a lifelong connection with these kids that last well beyond high school. It is always nice to see a former player knowing that you were able to have a positive influence on them. 

Who has influenced you most when it comes to the way you approach coaching?

That is a tough question because I have had many people who have had a positive impact on how I approach the profession. The three that have been the biggest influences are Coach Robert Soileau, Coach Jeptha Wall, and Coach Kyron Benoit. 

Coach Robert coached me in high school and brought an attitude to work each day like no other. He helped me to see how much someone could love their job, and I wanted that for myself one day. Whether we were in season or out of season, he would always make sure we were doing well in and outside the classroom. Coach Robert is a guy I can always call and chat with and has become a great mentor to me. 

I was fortunate to spend my last three years coaching under Coach Jeptha Wall and Coach Kyron Benoit, and both helped shape me into the coach I am today. They are guys that always treated me right and forced me to think outside the box and always have multiple solutions to certain situations in whatever sport I coached. Being a young guy getting into the profession, I did not know everything. They really helped me to see the big picture to the coaching profession. Coach Wall always go out of his way to help his assistants, and that is something you do not see often. Coach Benoit would always challenge me to get better as a coach when it came to football. They are first-class men and showed me that you should treat others how you would want them to treat you.