Track and Cross Country Welcome New Head Coach


Pouyon Assadi with the team

Micah Temple, Social Media Editor

An army is nothing without its commander. Throughout history, groups have needed leaders; from Hannibal leading each roaring charge against the Romans to Washington ushering his men across the Delaware. Like an army electing their new general, the Track and Cross Country teams found a new head coach after many weeks of operating without one.

The track and cross country former head coach Jeanine Holmlund’s contract was not renewed, and after spending several weeks searching for the best candidate to lead the team moving forward, the team has hired their former sprinting coach Pouyan Assadi for the position.

“[Holmlund] has coached at Piedmont for so long that it’ll be strange going forward without having her as one of our coaches,”  said girls’ cross country team captain junior Jamie Schwartz.

Holmlund, more commonly known as “Coach B”, was Piedmont’s former head coach for the cross country and track and field teams over a span of more than ten years.

“Coach B cared a lot about the program. She went above and beyond and took time out of her day to make sure she was there all the time,” said track and field alumni from the graduating class of 2020 Skyelar Connelly. 

After Holmlund’s departure, PHS decided on Assadi, more commonly known as “Coach P” to be both teams’ head coach.

“I’m really excited to be able to lead this group of athletes. We’re already seeing one of the biggest teams we’ve had in the past several years,” Assadi said.

Assadi said that by the first practice of the season the team had 75 kids, but he expects to have over 85 once other sports seasons such as basketball and soccer end. 

“We definitely have kids currently on other sports teams that will move over to cross country and track when they have the chance. I’m expecting somewhere between 85 to 90 athletes when the dust settles,” Assadi said. 

Assadi said that over 40 of these athletes are first-time track and field or cross country athletes.

“During my high school experience I first played soccer, but I didn’t make the team, so I played football. I love football, but I wasn’t particularly good at it. Then, I fell in love with track and field, and now 20 years later, it’s a part of my identity. I hope to bring some of that love of this sport to these kids that are first time athletes,” Assadi said.

Horizontal jumping coach Michael Mabry said the cross country and track and field coaching staff wants to make the transition to Assadi as their new head coach as seamless as possible.

“Assadi pulled all the coaches together to make sure that everybody is unified, which is something we haven’t all done in a long time. He’s started keeping us involved in all the paperwork and everything he’s doing, so we feel like the transition to this next head coach should be seamless,” Mabry said. 

Mabry said this team unity will be important with the large number of athletes joining the sport this season. 

“This year we really want to build our momentum, so for example, we’re having a team potluck soon where people will bring all sorts of food items. We’re gonna have a “rah rah” moment for our team, instead of just showing up dripping sweat and working hard,” Assadi said. 

Assadi said this season he’ll be taking the time to make sure every athlete gets what they want out of the sport, at all levels of competition.

“We want to take moments throughout the season to pause and appreciate where we are, even if it’s early on, and have them contribute to the positivity and the momentum we need to carry forward,” Assadi said.