By Kaylene Chadwell, Chattanooga, Tenn., — Bill Gautier is the head coach of six teams at UTC. He coaches men and women’s cross country, indoor track and outdoor track teams for over 20 years at Chattanooga. Gautier has been named Southern Conference Coach of the Year seven times for the women’s cross country team and four times for the men’s. The cross country team kicks off the season Sept. 5 for the Powerade Invitational at Moccasin Bend.
Could you talk about the challenges and benefits of coaching the men and women’s teams?
“Well I get two different perspectives, you know. But at the end of the day, they are all athletes and they have the same goals and the same interests, that’s to get better. I feel like the guys and girls are both very quality athletes and that they all want to be as good as they can. So, it really, other than having different locker rooms, I can’t think of a whole lot of difference.”
What made you decide to become a coach?
“Well, I enjoy competition. I was an athlete in college and post-college, and I enjoy working with athletes. I enjoy the competition part of it. I still compete in races and I just feel like athletics has always been a part of my life. It meant so much to me, giving me an opportunity, and I wanted to pass that on to give other kids an opportunity too. Because not only do they get better as athletes, but they learn a lot of discipline and teamwork and all these clichés we hear from our life, but they are true.”
What is your favorite thing about coaching at UTC?
“Oh, the team. I mean, just, the team members. I love being surrounded by 40 or 50 people who have pretty much the same pounding interest and goals that you do and want to work hard. So definitely the opportunity to be around the team, that’s it.”
What do you think is most unique about your team?
“They are very highly motivated academically as well as athletically. I mean, the first priority here is to get a degree and nothing gets in the way. I think that’s pretty unique to most, especially when you first get to college you know athletics is top priority.”
How would you describe your coaching style?
“Well, I would like to think it’s intense, but I think it’s kind of a mixture of intensity and being laid back. There is a lot going on, you know, athletically, academically, socially, personally, and so I try to have a balance, so that we don’t go lopsided in either direction.We try to spread everything out so they have a true experience here, like all the college students do, but realizing you have to put a little bit more emphasis on certain areas. But my goal is that they leave here well-rounded and able to get a job.”