Eric Ezell is the son of Dale and Mildred Ezell. He is a 1987 graduate of Trigg County High School. Ezell excelled in the classroom as a student at TCHS. He was one of the top members of his graduating class.
Ezell was also a standout athlete. He made his mark in the sports of track and cross country.
In my 29 years of coaching, Eric Ezell just may be the most self-motivated, driven athlete I have ever come into contact with.
My first year of coaching cross country was his senior year in high school. Ezell literally pushed himself into becoming an elite athlete.
In track, he finished second in the 1600 and 3200-meter runs at the state meet. In cross country he finished third in the state his senior year and led our team to the state championship.
Ezell would get out of bed early in the mornings before school. He would do five miles while his competitors were still sleeping. Then after school, he would lead our cross country team in a strenuous workout.
In this day and age of athletes who have to be coaxed into just giving an effort, it is with great fondness that I think upon Ezell’s work ethic.
Time for a little story. In the fall of 1986, Trigg had a big home football game with Caldwell County. At the pep rally for the football team, our cross country team was introduced. Our plan was to then leave the rally and take turns running mile increments all the way to Princeton to pick up the game ball and run back to Cadiz (the visiting team supplied the game ball back then).
I would follow in a school van. We would time it so we ran the ball into a packed Perdue Field just before kickoff. Ezell had the first leg. He bounded up the steps of the gym and was off. By the time I got the other runners loaded in the van, got out of school traffic and caught up to Ezell, he was already past Muddy Fork Creek. He ended up running about 10 to 12 of the miles on that excursion.
Back to the present, Ezell accepted my invitation to speak to my cross-country runners at our banquet on the 28th. Ezell is now the Senior District Sales Manager for AMGEN. AMGEN is the world’s largest biotech pharmaceutical company. Ezell travels over a good portion of the United States representing AMGEN.
Ezell had three main points for my cross-country runners. They were as follows:
1. Success comes to people who make positive things happen in their life;
2. Never give up;
3 Honor authority, including your parents, teachers and coaches.
It was easy for the current runners to see how disciplined Ezell was as they noticed the physical condition he is in today. His body forms a V shape due to his current hobby of lifting weights. He also just ran a sub five-minute mile in responding to a challenge from his daughter.
If just one of the young men and women adopt and take the points he made to heart, it was well worth his coming home.
For a closing thought, perhaps one of the most rewarding aspects of coaching is to see a former athlete go on and do well in life. In this case, I have been well rewarded. Thanks, Eric.
OT: Thanks for all of the positive responses to my column wherever I go. They are truly heartwarming and motivating. I have the best subjects in the best small town in the world to write about.
Double OT: Next week’s column could be Millard, Jack Frost Billy, Buddy and the Crew. Last names would not be necessary.
Enthusiasm Makes the Difference Mike Wright is the head coach of boys basketball and cross country at Trigg County High School. Emails concerning Coach’s Corner can be sent to email@example.com.