A coach’s job is to instruct athletes in their respective sports. However, an exceptional coach goes beyond what is expected and helps athletes outside of practices, games and meets. For Mesa Allison, Steve Guymon and Don Hood are both exceptional coaches.
Guymon, head track and field coach, helped Mesa Allison, a Harding alumnus find his dream job: the position of head cross country and assistant track coach for LeTourneau University, which will be competing in Searcy at tomorrow’s Harding invitational. In addition, LeTourneau’s head track and field coach is Don Hood, who previously ran against Guymon and has a daughter at Harding. It is also the first year LeTourneau has had a track and field program.
The Harding Invitational will take place on Saturday, March 24 with five other teams. Rhodes College, Hendrix College, Southern Arkansas University and Christian Brothers University will bring teams, and William’s Baptist University will bring a partial team.
“Having a home meet gives the athletes the chance to showcase their talents to their friends and families,” Guymon said. “I think this is something the athletes definitely look forward to each year, because we only have one home meet each year.”
Track and field meets are unique from other sporting events because they host several schools. Hood said having meets against other Christian schools provides good competition.
“To be good, we have to compete against good programs,” Hood said. “Harding is a great school to compete against. It is just refreshing to have clean competition.”
Hood said he is looking forward to growing the program at LeTourneau and through his connection with Guymon, has been able to find the perfect fit for Allison.
“Mesa has a really positive attitude,” Hood said. “He is strong in his faith, and he has fresh ideas to bring. Besides this, he is also a very successful athlete.”
Allison, just having graduated in December, is looking forward to the opportunity but also reflects back fondly on his time at Harding.
“For me, I am excited to be going to LeTourneau and the change,” Allison said. “I’m OK with leaving here, but I will definitely miss things about Harding.”
Allison said he will miss the Harding track team and the environment, but hopes to create the same atmosphere at LeTourneau. He said he hopes to make it a second home, like Harding’s track team was to him.
“Both coach Hood and coach Guymon are light hearted and always able to lighten the mood,” Allison said. “They lead with joy. Both also have the personality that everyone has a place on the team. I’m getting a well-rounded aspect of what coaching in college should be like.”
Allison said both programs are very Christ-centered. Even though he is moving on to the next chapter of his life, Harding will always remain a special place for him.