Seaholm girls cross country coach Jeff Devantier has been named the 2012 National High School Coach of the Year for Girls Cross Country.
He was informed on Thursday, December 6 in a letter from David Taylor the director of the National High School Coaches Association (NHSCA). He read it in complete shock.
“It was an unexpected but unbelievable honor,” Devantier said. “Like I said, it was a total surprise. It was a little bit humbling to tell you the truth. This team was so talented and so dedicated and I guess it’s kind of another award that this team has helped project us into because of what they did this year. It’s amazing, just amazing.”
It has been a season of firsts forDevantier. For the first time, his team won the state meet and went on to be ranked first in the nation. Now, Devantier can add this esteemed honor to his list of firsts. In fact, he is the first coach from Seaholm to ever receive this accolade.
“To this point in my coaching career after 25 years, I’ve never gotten any honor quite like this, never had a team finish quite like this, never had a team with this much talent, never had a team win a state meet before,” Devantier said. “So there has been a lot of firsts this year.”
Devantier’s team had to outrun three of top ten teams in the country to win the division one state championship. This achievement landed the Lady Maples at the No. 1 spot in the country and made Devantier a clear candidate for the award.
For the girls on the team, it is easy for them to tell why he was chosen.
“He’s extremely motivational,” senior Elaina Brown said. “He completely believes in all of his runners and makes us believe in ourselves.”
Still, Devantier gives credit to the girls on the team for winning the award.
“Well I think I’ve been saying it pretty much all year,” he said. “First of all, there’s just an awful lot of talent on this team. It’s a team that I don’t think the state of Michigan has ever seen before as far as talent goes; the depth of the talent, the amount of talent up front was amazing.”
Devantier credits the team’s leadership.
“Not only did we have fantastic captain, four seniors that just did an unbelievable job, but we also had another twelve girls on that team that were seniors who were on the team for three to four years and they held this team together.”
This spring, Devantier will be among the 22 high school coaches chosen from across the country to be presented his award at the High School Sports Hall of Fame Museum in Easton, Pennsylvania.
This award is a culmination of Devantiers excellent track record at Seaholm, and his school is proud of everything he has accomplished.
“While this year has been a great year and everybody here at the school is very happy for Coach Devantier and the young ladies on the team, I think this award is really more symbolic of his entire career and success over a long period of time,” athletic director Aaron Frank said.