Libertyville cross country coach is finalist for top award
Libertyville High School head cross country coach Mark Buesing is shown with his runners during a workout on Friday, Aug. 10, 2012, at the school in Libertyville. Buesing has been named a finalist for Brooks Sports Nation's 25 Most Inspiring High School R
NAME: Mark Buesing
HOMETOWN: Bristol, Wis.
OCCUPATION: Cross country coach for Libertyville High School, also a physics teacher
AWARD: Named one of 25 finalists for Brooks Sports Nation’s Most Inspiring High School Running Coaches
WORDS TO LIVE BY: No limits to what the human body and human spirit can do
Updated: September 17, 2012 6:11AM
LIBERTYVILLE -- “No limits” is a phrase Libertyville High School Boys Cross Country Coach Mark Buesing likes to use when talking with students on his team.
Because of Buesing’s exceptional efforts to encourage kids on the team to reach their fullest potential, Buesing was recently named one of 25 finalists for Brooks Sports Nation’s 25 Most Inspiring High School Running Coaches.
Buesing was selected as a finalist out more than 1,300 coaches that were nominated across the country. He was one of only two Illinois coaches to be named a finalist for the award. The winner will be announced in September.
“There are a lot of deserving coaches,” he said. “To be one of 25 finalists is quite an honor.”
Buesing is humbled by the honor but does not think he is more deserving than all of the other high school coaches across the country who work hard to improve the lives of student athletes.
Buesing also credits his students, who get up early and run several miles for more than two hours every morning to be on the team.
“To me, inspiration is a two-way street,” he said. “I have a hundred guys that are willing to come out and choose to run for their sport. In virtually any other sport running is punishment. On an easy day, the kids may run seven miles a day. That’s inspirational.”
Buesing, who also a physics teacher at LHS, has been cross country coach for 12 seasons and was a track coach for three years before that.
As head cross country coach, Buesing tries to lead by example. He and the assistant coaches run alongside the students during track practices.
“I love running and I try to hire assistant coaches that love running,” he said.
While encouraging kids to push their limits, Buesing also tries to incorporate a little fun into the workouts. On Friday afternoons, for example, there will be short running games and drills and winners will be awarded with Toostie Rolls.
“You’d be amazed at how hard high school kids will run for a few Toostie Rolls,” he said with a laugh.
Students on the team believe Buesing has certainly inspired them as a coach.
LHS senior Thomas Grunert, 17, has been on the cross country team all four years. He said Buesing is “like a father figure for everyone on the team.”
“Coach, he really makes the team feel like a family,” added Max Roberts, 15, a sophomore on the team. “He’s always out here working every day. He makes you want push harder than you think you can. He makes you strive to be your best.”
James Broughton, 17, a senior who has been on the team all four years, said Buesing will sometimes make motivational speeches and include quotes from famous people. Broughton said the coach also hands out little prizes to runners who have performed exceptional well.
“It’s not just the fastest who get those awards,” he said. “It might be if you’ve run a good race. You can get an award for sportsmanship, too, and that’s really motivational.”
During the practices, Buesing said he tries to impart words of wisdom or encouragement that the students will hopefully remember as they become adults.
“We’re not trying to build runners, we’re trying to build men of character because very few will pursue a career in sports after high school,” he said. “If we can spend time not only teaching them a sport but we also can help them out along the way, that’s a bonus.”
Buesing and all of the other coach finalists will receive $5,000 in Brooks performance footwear, apparel and accessories for their team. Buesing plans to use the money for new team uniforms.