Kendall passes baton to Clarkson

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Bruce Kendall

FORTVILLE — The right time is right now.

Except for two years, 1988 and 1989, Bruce Kendall had been the head coach for the Mt. Vernon boys track and field program since 1979.

He is still a big part of the program, as an assistant coach, but he has passed on the head coaching duties to Nick Clarkson, a former runner for Kendall, who has previous head coaching experience at Lapel High School and, most recently, with the Mt. Vernon girls program last season.

“I didn’t want to do it unless the right person would be the head coach,” Kendall said. “The right person was there.”

Kendall said he has had some health problems, but didn’t believe it was anything that wasn’t normal to a 70-year old.

“I think I’m in pretty good health, but I can’t stay in good health and just be doing all that time on the computer,” Kendall added. “Track has really changed into so much logistics before and after meets. It’s just insane. I thought, ‘I can’t do that time.’”

Kendall will still be handling the team’s distance runners and is still head coach of the boys cross country program.

“He knew there was a time he needed to step aside and was hoping it could happen soon,” Clarkson said. “He felt like this year was the year, and he wanted somebody he trusted to fill the spot.”

“He’s been a great resource for me this season.”

Kendall led last year’s team to an all-time best 11th place finish in the IHSAA Boys Track and Field State Finals. His teams have won five sectionals, five conference titles and 11 Hancock County championships.

Kendall was an assistant coach for the program from 1976-78 before becoming head coach to start the 1978-79 school year.

“I’ll probably be around here a couple more years. If I can get to that 50-year mark, I’d be thrilled to death,” Kendall said.

“I’ve got to be out of mind.” he said with a laugh. “That’s what I’m going for. I don’t know if I’ll make it, but I’ve got a fantastic group of distance runners.”

Clarkson added that having Kendall continuing to help with the program has been a huge help for him.

“Coach Kendall is a wonderful asset,” Clarkson said. “His full attention over there (with the distance runners) has been wonderful. His sage advise and wisdom, … he’s been around the block so many times. He has a crystal ball, and has seen it for 48 years.”