Hirschi to speak on secular and spiritual aspects of athletics at Devotional

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    By Sarah Nelson

    “What Manner of Men Ought Ye to Be: Gold Fever, Athletic Fervor”, will be the topic of the Tuesday, May 16 Devotional.

    Willard Hirschi, BYU men’s head track coach, will be the featured speaker in the JSB Auditorium at 11 a.m.

    “I will address the need for the behavior of our athletes and fans to reflect and maintain the honor, integrity and standards of the university,” Hirschi said.

    Hirschi said he will also emphasize how coaches foster spirituality in athletes.

    “I will speak about how we combine the sacred and the secular in the athletic programs, where a big emphasis is placed on winning,” Hirschi said.

    Hirschi has played a large role in the BYU athletic department for the past 36 years.

    He joined the BYU College of Physical Education as a sprint and hurdles coach and was appointed head track coach in 1988.

    Hirschi was a conference hurdles champion in college and graduated from BYU with three letters in basketball and four in track. He obtained a master’s degree from Arizona State University and began work on a Ph.D. at Stanford before returning to BYU in 1964.

    He has coached many award-winning athletes and has been the recipient of the indoor and outdoor WAC Coach of the Year award 16 times.

    He is an eight-time District VII Coach of the Year and has led the Cougars to nine outdoor WAC titles.

    Hirschi stresses the importance of spirituality to the members of the track team, said Jim Roberts, 23, a junior from Cleveland, Texas, majoring in recreation management and a member of BYU men’s track team.

    “Before he starts a meeting and before we compete we always have a team prayer. It’s tradition,” Roberts said.

    “He always promotes gentlemen like behavior,” he said.

    When the team is on road trips, people ask Coach Hirschi if he is in charge of the team, Roberts said. When he says yes, they comment on what good men they are and how well they behave.

    “He tells us this so we will see the impression our behavior leaves on people and continue to behave like gentlemen,” Roberts said.

    The Devotional will be broadcast live at 11 a.m. in the Varsity Theater, 2084 JKHB, W-111 Benson Building and on KBYU-TV (Channel 11).

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