BYU track and field head coach Ed Eyestone will be inducted into the WCC Hall of Honor on March 8 — an honor many of his athletes believe is long overdue.
“Coach Eyestone cultivates success,” said Jared Ward, a senior track runner. “He deserves to be recognized as one of the greatest coaches of all time.”
Only two other individuals from BYU have been inducted into the WCC Hall of Honor: Elaine Michaelis, former BYU volleyball coach, in 2012, and LaVell Edwards in 2013. Eyestone is being recognized for accomplishments from both his running and coaching careers. Eyestone said the recognition was humbling.
“It’s been fun (being honored). It gives me the chance to reflect on what they’re honoring me for,” Eyestone said. “It also gives me a chance to thank the people who have made sacrifices on my behalf so I could pursue with passion the things I love.”
Eyestone was the individual NCAA cross-country champion in 1984, Western Athletic Conference champion in 1985, and 10-time All-American in indoor and outdoor track and cross-country. He holds the school records in the 10,000 meter, 5,000 meter, 3,000 meter and two miles and is a five-time U.S. Road Racer of the Year as a professional.
In his 14 years coaching at BYU he has coached 34 All-Americans, the distance medley relay champions at the 2011 NCAA Indoor Championships and three national-champion distance runners.
“We’re running for someone who’s already done it all,” Ward said. “We have the blessing of running for someone who knows how to do it, so if he has faith in us, we have to have faith in ourselves.”
His runners know him as “Ez-E,” a nickname given to him in the beginning years of his coaching career, said to stem from his laid-back nature, easygoing coaching style and also a rapper from the 80s. Eyestone is known best among his athletes for the environment of positivity and unity he creates among the team.
“The pursuit of distance running is hard enough on its own without me being a tyrant,” Eyestone said. “The athletes know how to work hard, and then they play hard too, in a good way.”
Many of his runners said they feel more like a family than just a group of athletes. Ryan Waite, volunteer assistant coach, ran under Eyestone for three years before becoming assistant coach, and he said he remembers well the great unity during his years as a part of BYU track and field.
“When he recruited me, something he said to my dad on the phone really stood out,” Waite said. “He told my dad that (Eyestone) has six daughters and no sons, and so the guys on the team he considers his boys, and he really treats us like we are.”
Since his time at BYU, Eyestone has become a figure of motivation and admiration to many athletes, and his approach to coaching at a one-on-one level has shown results in countless ways.
“We don’t typically get the nation’s top high school recruits, but coach still consistently produces national champions,” Ward said. “He takes what he has and makes it better — and that’s what defines a good coach.”
The induction ceremony will take place at the WCC Hall of Honor Brunch at the Mardi Gras Ballroom in the Orleans Hotel in Las Vegas. The honoraries will be recognized during halftime of the men’s semifinal games later that evening. Tickets are available to the public at WCCsports.com and must be purchased by Thursday, Feb. 28.