Gagnon gets the whistle

Posted: Friday, April 02, 2010

A familiar face will don the whistle and stopwatch this year as the new head coach of the Juneau-Douglas track and field team.

Janette Gagnon is taking over after serving six years as an assistant under former coach Scott May, who has since taken over the new program at Thunder Mountain.

"Last year, coach May and I knew that we wanted to (have me take over this year), so we considered ourselves co-head coaches and we tried to share the duties as much as possible," Gagnon said. "But, of course, I'm learning that there were some things that he did that I wasn't even aware of until I got into this.

"But I'm enjoying it," she continued. "I'm comfortable, and I have great assistant coaches and a few parent volunteers that are here almost daily. The parents have been great and really helpful. I'm feeling really confident, but we'll see what the season brings."

May said Gagnon is a perfect fit, ensuring continuity with the program.

Guy Thibodeau and Kevin Hamrick will stay on as assistants, while Tristan Knutson-Lombardo, who was captain of the 2005 Crimson Bears boys' state champion track team, is the newest addition.

"I'm the main coach for high jump and hurdles," Gagnon said, "and Guy focuses on sprints, Tristan is on distance and Kevin focuses on throws."

Gagnon moved to Juneau from New York after attending college at State University of New York Plattsburgh, where she was a hurdler and high jumper for the Cardinals' track and field program.

A summer internship with Hope Community Resources then led her to Juneau.

"I came out for the summer and loved it," she said, "so I decided to come back."

And she's been here ever since.

Gagnon said her attention to detail will be one of her biggest strengths as head coach.

"I've just done this for so many years that I feel like I know a lot of the ins and outs," she said. "I'm good at being tough on the kids when I need to, but I'm also good at having some fun with them, too.

"That's one of the big things with us; we have a lot of fun."

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