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interested in track & field? Was there an athlete back then you idolized?
Coach Bush in his office surrounded by photos and memorabilia from 56 years of coaching.
CTRN: After an outstanding high school track career, your college career was marred by hamstring injuries. What do you attribute that to? Did you learn anything from that to help you later as a sprint/hurdles coach? JB: I didn’t know that much about track; you might say I was dumb. I was a hurdler. No one ever coached me; no one told me how to start, or how to go over a hurdle. I used to hit eight out of 10 hurdles. And it was the same thing in college. I thought, “When I become a coach, I am going to make sure I know how to coach every event.” Actually, it made me a better coach, because I just had nothing but problems. My ankles would be swollen, and my knees would be bloody. And that is why I have had more great high hurdlers than any other coach in history. The same thing with the quarter-mile: I’ll never forget. My goal was to win the Fresno Relays. I won my heat in the hurdles. After my heat, the coach said, “Jim, my quarter-miler is sick, I need you to run the quarter mile distance medley.” I didn’t know how to run the quarter, so I took off with the baton as fast as I could go. By 200, I was practically walking. We were so far behind when I passed off the baton, I think the crowd thought it was the start of another race. And so then, that evening when I had to run the high hurdles, I was so tied up I couldn’t win. That broke my heart, but it made me a better coach. CTRN: You started coaching cross country and track at Fullerton College with no assistants, and took them from worst to first in the conference in your first year. How was that possible? JB: Those kids did everything I asked them to do. And to me, that was the most exciting two years I have ever had. I put in a lot of hours and I did a lot of hard work, and it all paid off. The kids believed in me, and I believed in them. n For the rest of our Q&A with Coach Bush, visit www.caltrack.com
JB: Yes, Jesse Owens. To me, he was the greatest.