In his twenty-first year of teaching and coaching at Convent & Stuart Hall, Mike Buckley has been honored with two prestigious track & field coaching awards for his accomplishments as a leader and role model.
Mike Buckley has been selected to receive the 2019–20 California and West Section Boys Track & Field Coach of the Year awards by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), an accomplishment that recognizes him as one of the most elite coaches in his section, which includes California, Arizona, Hawaii, Nevada and Utah.
Awards handed out by NFHS annually honor the country's top high school coaches for their contributions both in and out of the athletic arena, with a particular emphasis on "lifetime community involvement, school involvement and philosophy of coaching," according to a letter from NFHS announcing the longtime Convent & Stuart Hall coach and faculty member as an award recipient. By virtue of winning the state honor, Mike was nominated by the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) to receive the sectional award.
Mike, who took the reins of the cross country program at Stuart Hall High School when its doors opened in 2000, has since led coed teams in cross country and track & field that attract a cross-section of student-athletes. On just the boys' side, Mike's long list of coaching accomplishments includes four NCS Class A titles from 2014–18. Under his guidance, two top-tier high jumpers (Drew Xandrine-Anderson '15'11 and Jack Honeyman '19) reached state championship meets and many others have gone on to compete at all levels of the NCAA.
Despite his own success, Mike is best known for placing teamwork, accountability, community and building resilience above winning and losing. "I love track & field and the excitement of winning, but high school sports is about supporting an educational mission," he says. "It's about making all of us, coaches and athletes, into the best versions of ourselves."
Before spring seasons were suspended last year, the Stuart Hall High School track & field team sat in first place in the BCL West, poised to claim a seventh straight league title. "When the pandemic hit," Mike says, "we created a whole virtual world of track & field that lasted to the natural end of our season." He continues, "It was really hard to see the season slip away, especially for our seniors. I'm hopeful that we can start to rebuild this spring for the current group of seniors."
Photo credit: Michael Hong