Jason Grennier didn’t want to pay rent when he was living at home after high school, so he decided to coach track with his dad.
Grennier was named the new Cedar Park cross country coach earlier this month and hopes to take an already established running program to the next level as soon as this coming season.
“For me, I want to get Cedar Park back to where we’re contending to get on the medal stand and stay there every year,” Grennier said. “In 2012, both the boys and girls teams finished second.”
Grennier, who went to Lewisville High School and began his coaching career as an assistant there, grew up running summer track and played multiple sports including football and basketball, not focusing on just running.
He coached middle school for a year and got his first head coach gig with Lake Dallas high school in 2005. The year after that he went to Hebron High School, where he was the cross country coach for 10 years.
While at Hebron, his girls’ team won a state championship and finished ninth at Nike Nationals in 2015, while the boys’ team made it to Nike Nationals in 2014. He had boys win the individual state title and finish in third place the year before that.
For seven straight seasons, he’s had at least one runner on the medal stand, capped off with a third place finish by Abby Williams, who will run at Oklahoma, in his one year at Prosper High School last season.
New LISD athletic director Jody Hormann was the AD in Prosper that hired Grennier and informed him of the opening when she took the new post with the school district.
“It’s a running community and it’s an active community,” Grennier said. “People here value cross country and distance running and it’s nice to be in a place like that. I’ve always wanted to kind of get down this way.”
This isn’t his first foray into the Central Texas area. He lived in town and attended Austin Community College in the early 1990s.
For Grennier, the main focus of a cross country coach is to get kids to take ownership of their training.
“Once it becomes not what they have to do, but when they get to do, it really takes off,” he said. “My job is kind of a facilitator to give them the tools they need to be successful. They’re the ones to do it.”
Last season, the Lady Timberwolves finished 15th as a team with graduated seniors Brea Givens and Sarah Pia leading the way in 45th and 59th places, respectively. Then-freshman Gracie Hall was the highest finishing underclassman in 71st place.
Graduated senior Tyler Grendel was the only Cedar Park boy to qualify for the meet and ran the race in 16:35.57, good for 66th overall.
The trophy case in front of the gym at Cedar Park is filled with countless awards from nearly every sport and activity. But the one with almost more than any other is cross country, a fact the team was quick to point out to their new coach.
“They expect to win and they expect to be good,” he said. “It’s nice to be somewhere with those kind of expectations.”