By River Mitchell
Athletics are back in full swing this year at Springfield College, and with that comes new additions on the coaching front. Newly-appointed men’s and women’s full-time assistant track coach for sprints and hurdles, Charles Shoffner, is getting ready to gear up for this upcoming year.
Once a graduate assistant coach, Shoffner helped out with the 400-meter dash and 400-meter hurdles, while he continued to work on getting his masters in Advanced Level Coaching. But when the assistant coach left last year, Shoffner jumped at the opportunity to take his spot.
He is especially excited to have the freedom to plan the year how he would like to.
“I truly get to put my own spin on the season that I would like to, and just truly, truly, living the dream,” said Shoffner. “I’d say for probably 10 years, I’ve been wanting to coach at the collegiate level. Like I said, it’s just the joy of living the dream that I’ve always wanted to do.”
Coaching has always been a joy for Shoffner, as he started off working as a coach at his own high school; then soon went to another high school across town while also being a volunteer coach for a club team. But Shoffner’s love for track and field dates all the way back to when he was in seventh grade.
“I tried to play so many other sports, and it wasn’t a fit…So last but not least was track…and it immediately became something that just naturally came to me.” Shoffner said. “Sophomore/junior year, I really started putting focus on track.”
Shoffner would proceed to run track and field for UNC Wilmington and North Carolina A&T while in college, which is also where his running career would end. But even though he’s not lining up at the starting line to outrun his opponents, he takes great joy in watching his athletes take on that challenge.
“I enjoy talking, meeting new people, helping people see their goals and see their vision,” Shoffner said. “And for me it’s just a personal thing where it’s like ‘I know I helped you develop. I saw you go from here, all the way up here.’ And that’s what really gets you excited about the whole situation.”
It is obvious that Shoffner loves his job and cares about his athletes. This is why he takes so much gratification in seeing his athletes succeed.
“It’s that smile that you see a kid when they cross the finish line or get out of the pit and they’re like ‘Oh, that was it.’ To see the pure excitement on them is one of the many joys that we get,” Shoffner said.
Photo: Springfield College Athletics