Ed Eyestone: From championship athlete to championship coach
Ed Eyestone has been a key component in the success of the BYU track and field and cross country teams, serving as the program’s head coach for a decade and bringing experience from his time as a professional runner.
After having ran well enough in high school, Eyestone earned a scholarship at BYU, where he qualified to compete in the World Cross Country Championship in his freshman year.
Eyestone returned to BYU following a mission to Spain and won the 10,000 meter in the NCAA track and field championship twice, while also collecting a third national title in the 5,000 meter race.
Having wrapped up his collegiate career, he signed a deal with Reebok and ran professionally until he was almost 40 years old. Eyestone had been coaching at Weber State when one of his former coaches, Sherald James, retired from BYU, allowing Eyestone to fill his spot on the country team as an assistant coach.
Assistant track and field coach Mark Robison, who hired Ed, sung his praises as an athlete and as a coach.
“He has been very successful in his career and in coaching, especially with the long distance people.” Robison even has good memories of Eyestone running back in Ed’s high school years.
Coach Eyestone, he joked about how most athletes get four years of competing four their university, whereas he’s gotten a bit longer than most.
“I feel like I’ve been able to extend that a little bit, you know? I had four years as a competitive athlete, and another 20 years as a coach,” he said.
Looking Ahead to the Big 12
Coach Eyestone knows that all the athletic programs here at BYU will have challenges to face entering the Big 12 conference. He said that BYU will need to prepare for facing off against the Oklahoma State teams, as well as Iowa State, both of which pose a challenge with their successful programs. He is optimistic about the track and field and cross country programs being able to be immediate competitors.
“If you look at our cross country results over the last 10 years… we have done well relative to the other Big 12 schools…we are gonna come in, in a position of strength. I think we are going to be very competitive from the get-go”, he said.
Coach Eyestone’s Motivation
Every athlete and coach needs a goal. Something to motivate them to strive for their individual and program success. For Coach Eyestone, it’s the student athletes that motivate him. He wants to help these athletes not just reach their goals, but surpass them.
“It’s that which helps me get up on cold mornings like this,” Eyestone joked; Provo’s winter months still persisting.
One athlete that has noticed Coach Eyestone’s particular style is long distance runner Justin Hartshorn. Hartshorn, a sophomore, originally ran for Utah State before transferring to BYU. Hartshorn said that Coach Eyestone indirectly played an influence on him transferring.
“I had an old high school teammate that was on the BYU team when I was up at Utah State, just hearing how chill Eyestone was and seeing how his workouts were a lot more intense really made me think again about where I wanted to go to school,” Hartshorn recalled.
Justin explained that Eyestone has a laid back coaching style, but doesn’t let that restrain him from becoming hands on with the team’s development. It’s something that he cares about. Eyestone cares about the team’s morale.
“He’s definitely a jokester and loves to get a good laugh out of everyone, loves attention and love to be in on the jokes and stuff,” Hartshorn said.
Coach Sherald James’s Influence
Coach Eyestone doesn’t hesitate to talk about those who have mentored him throughout his life. Coach Sherald James topped the list. Coach James was one of Eyestone’s coaches during his running years at BYU. Eyestone explained that James had a great heart and every player was fond of him.
“We knew that James loved us. He was really concerned about the overall development of the person, not just the athlete,” Eyestone said.
Coach Eyestone said that he likes to think that Sherald James has been an influence on him, as he now works to inspire and lead his student athletes.
For Coach Eyestone, he looks forward to another year of success with the track and field team, while preparing for BYU’s debut in the Big 12.