LARP cross country coach named Section 1A Coach of the Year

LARP cross country coach Matt Kingsbury
Scott Bestul

Matt Kingsbury, long-time coach of the Lewiston-Altura/Rushford-Peterson (LARP) cross country teams, was honored as the Boy’s Coach of the Year at the Section 1A cross country meet on Oct. 24. The award is determined by a vote from the coaches of the 23 teams that comprise Section 1A and is held prior to the running of the meet.

Kingsbury was pleased by the award but deflected praise. “It’s simply a reflection of the hard work by the kids, the dedication of my assistant coaches Seb (Kingsbury) and Rene (Vander Plas), and the enthusiasm of the parents and families who come to the meets and support the runners. It’s definitely a team award.”

R-P Activities Director John Loney wasn’t surprised by Kingsbury’s modesty. “Matt is a very humble and kind man,” Loney said.  “He told me, ‘we have great kids, and great coaches.... it's everyone's award!’ Coach Kingsbury is highly respected by area AD's and fellow coaches as well as his athletes on the LARP Cross Country team! The award is well deserved!” 

Assistant coach Seb Kingsbury is Matt’s son, as well as a member of the LARP cross country team that qualified for the state meet in 2005. “He definitely deserves the award,” Seb said. “He’s not only an excellent coach, but someone who really cares about the kids. He’s a motivator and encourages them to be their best.”

Brenda O’Hare echoes Kingsbury’s sentiments. Three of O’Hare’s children, including current all-state junior Luke O’Hare, have run on Kingsbury teams. “Coach Kingsbury is what every coach should strive to be,” O’Hare said. “He is knowledgeable about his sport, but more importantly he cares deeply about his athletes. He is not only concerned about their running abilities and achievements, but also about who they are as a person. He appreciates every athlete for what they are able to bring to the team.”

Kingsbury joined the LARP cross country coaching staff in 1985, when he served as an assistant for veteran coach Gary Mills. “Gary was an awesome role model for any coach,” Kingsbury said. “Not only did he know his sport, but he was an incredible ambassador who got kids interested in running. I’ve always said Gary could sell refrigerators to Eskimos; he really grew the sport.” Kingsbury, who works as an RN in the inpatient physical rehabilitation unit at Mayo Clinic, took over as head coach when Mills retired in 2001.