Whisler’s Well-Earned Curtain Call

img_6435What is legacy? Is it fighting to keep a program you love dearly? Is it winning three state championships, as well as seven league titles? Possibly coaching a paralympian and Division one athlete?

These all represent one man’s masterpiece.

“The quality or number of athletes didn’t affect the way he coached,” longtime Sterling cross country assistant coach Larry Brownlee said.

Dan Whisler, “The Running Bears” 26-year head coach has retired from cross country and will also step down from his assistant coaching position in track at the end of the school year.

“How much he cares about his athletes is very obvious,” Brownlee said.

One of Coach Whisler’s main emphases during his coaching career was for his runners to improve.

“No matter where you came in day one, the goal was to progress forward. His coaching style has never changed,” said Brownlee.

Having had the privilege to run for four years under Coach Whisler, or Coach Whis as most call him, I’ve learned a thing or two about improvement, goal-setting, and mental toughness.

His comforting, yet assertive and consistent approach to long distance running is inspiring.

I’ll always remember making state cross country as a sophomore, that experience was unforgettable.

I have to credit former runners Zach Brashear and Brian Walker for getting me to run freshman year after enjoying some success as a wide receiver in middle school football.

I was running for a proud program and equally caring coach.

The personal relationships he has developed with all his athletes is something they’ve cherished.

Kaleb Humphreys, 2007 graduate of SHS and a state champion under Whisler said, “I was glad to represent Sterling and bring home a state title. The fact that it’s Coach Whisler’s first cross country state title makes it even better.”

What stands out to me is the fact that he never lost confidence in me. He was with me through the highs and the lowest of lows, even when I didn’t think I could get back to a competitive level.

His friendly support truly goes beyond the classroom and at practice, it’s the type of man he is.

The “Coach Whis” label will soon be gone, but the day-to-day relationships built, championship banners, and all-around quality man will never cease to be remembered when the time comes for him to walk into his new role — loving supporter and number one fan of Grace and Layne.