Brooks Running crowned Manuel Castellanos of Lakeview Charter High School in San Fernando, CA as its Coach of the Year.
After returning to his hometown of San Fernando, CA to begin his teaching and coaching career, Castellanos constructed a support system for Lakeview Charter High School students, making it his mission to create a meaningful place that fostered goal-setting and teamwork through running. By giving students a positive after-school outlet, Castellanos hoped he could help keep kids away from the gang activity he witnessed growing up in the area. His efforts made him a standout for the Brooks’ annual Inspiring Coach of the Year award, which recognizes a coach who goes above and beyond the call of duty to inspire young runners to push themselves to new heights and who creates a lasting difference in their community.
“Running is transformative; it’s something we hear every day when we talk to runners,” said Brooks Running CEO Jim Weber. “Manuel recognizes the power running can have on an individual and leverages that source of positivity to change lives on a daily basis. A true embodiment of what it means to inspire through the sport, Manuel contributes to the legacy of Brooks’ Inspiring Coach of the Year Award.”
In honor of winning the 2015 Inspiring Coach of the Year Award, Castellanos and his Lakeview team will receive $10,000 in Brooks performance running gear for his team and $2,500 cash to use for team expenses. Castellanos will also become a member of the Brooks Inspire Daily program comprised of coaches and elite runners, and he’ll take home the coveted golden spike trophy.
“I never imagined winning this award, it’s an incredible honor,” said Castellanos. “I try my best to build a world for my athletes that’s safe, where they can challenge themselves athletically and mentally and learn to better themselves. Getting recognized for that feels amazing.”
Expanding the program in 2015 to include Canada, Brooks chose Castellanos from a group of 13 finalists who were whittled down from more than 1,500 nominations sent by current and former athletes, parents, fellow coaches, colleagues and community members. During the month of May, runners voted on Brooks’ Facebook page for the finalist they thought should win, and a panel of Brooks employees considered those votes and the nominations when selecting this year’s winner. Each finalist received $5,000 in Brooks performance running gear for his or her team and $500 cash for team expenses, as well as membership to Brooks' Inspire Daily program.
In addition to giving back to the sport through the Inspiring Coach of the Year Award, this year Brooks launched a new program, the Brooks Booster Club, to supply funding and gear to under-resourced running programs throughout the U.S. and Canada. Each of the 25 finalists will receive training and racing shoes, racing uniforms and warm-ups for the team and $2,000 to help with expenses including pay-to-play fees, meet entry fees and transportation costs. The 25 schools receiving grants include:
· A.P. Leto High School- Tampa, FL.
· Fowlerville High School- Fowlerville, MI.
· Broadmoor High School- Baton Rouge, LA.
· Barstow High School- Barstow, CA.
· Hardin-Houston Local School- Houston, OH.
· Nathan Hale High School- Seattle, WA.
· Columbia High School- Colubmia, PA.
· Sapulpa High School- Sapulpa, OK.
· Torrance High School- Torrance, CA.
· Henrico High School- Richmond, VA.
· Chapel Hill High School- Carrboro, NC.
· Holy Cross High School- Louisville, KY.
· Custer High School- Westcliffe, CO.
· Westland High School- Galloway, OH.
· Osakis High School- Osakis, MN.
· North Mecklenburg High School- Huntersville, NC.
· St. Andrew's Regional High School- Victoria, B.C.
· Presentation Academy- Louisville, KY
· St. Joseph's Catholic Secondary School- Cornwall, Ontario
· Harbor High School- Santa Cruz, CA.
· San Lorenzo High School- San Lorenzo, CA.
· Robertsdale High School- Robertsdale, AK.
· Rockdale County High School- Conyers, GA.
· Knox Central High School- Barbourville, KY.
· Green County High School- Greensburg, KY.
While this is the first year of the Brooks Booster Club, the Inspiring Coach of the Year Award is in its fifth. Coach Castellanos joins the ranks of last year’s winner Renee Williams-Smith of Mira Costa High School and past winners Justin Torres, Paul Raley and Amy Pitzel, all of whom contribute in exceptional ways to a sport environment that develops young runners athletically, academically and personally. Brooks created the Inspiring Coach of the Year Award in 2011 to pay tribute to the sport’s most remarkable coaches.