by DOMINICK PUENTE//Staff Writer
The South Plains College track program has brought in a new assistant men’s coach to help keep the long-standing reputation going and growing.
Justin Hobbs recently was hired to coach multiple events throughout the track season, along with cross country. Originally familiar with hurdle events, Hobbs is striving to keep the winning tradition alive for the SPC track program and continue to develop quality athletes.
“As a coach, I want to help these athletes reach their goals and continue to run after SPC,” Hobbs says. “However, we want our athletes to get their education. I want to help our team be the best they can athletically, also academically. Both education and athletics go hand in hand.”
A Waco native, Hobbs will be coaching some top athletes at SPC, but head coach Erik Vance will be at the helm for the Texans and Lady Texans.
“I have known Coach Vance for about five years,” Hobbs said, “and I am familiar with how great of a coach he is. We have similar strengths, but I feel that we really complement each other really well with our coaching expertise.”
Sprints and hurdles are the areas that Hobbs excels in coaching. He said that he believes that his knowledge of those events, along with Coach Vance’s coaching, will be a recipe for success and greater things to come.
“I am excited to work with Coach Vance, because I know how excited, motivated and how hungry he is as a coach, said Hobbs. “Vance’s expertise in multi’s, jumps and pole vault will be a fantastic mixture of our coaching abilities.”
Along with the tradition of the track program spiking the interest of the coach, and the friendship he and Coach Vance have developed, the college itself caught the eye of Coach Hobbs.
“I saw how small the college was and how accommodating it is,” says Hobbs. “It gave me a warm feeling the West Texas area can give you. So, for me, this is a great place for me to continue my career and take a step up with athletes that I am able to coach, along with joining the tradition the program has established in hopes of keeping the long-standing tradition alive for years to come.”
Hobbs has become familiar with Vance’s work ethic as a result of experiences coaching at different competitions.
Coach Hobbs was able to pursue an extended track career in the collegiate ranks at NCAA Division II Tarleton State University. There he ran 110-meter hurdles, but excelled at competing in the 400-meter hurdles.
“I ran at Tarleton all four years I attended the college and completed my undergraduate studies and received my bachelor’s, then headed to Texas Tech,” explains Coach Hobbs.
As Coach Hobbs attended the University of Texas Tech for teaching, he was able to work with their track team for three years, along with student teaching a few physical education classes.
“I was able to be a volunteer graduate assistant at Tech and work with the sprinters, hurdlers, jumpers and multi’s,” said Coach Hobbs. “I gained a lot of coaching knowledge and was able to head back to Tarleton to work as a full-time track coach for about five years.”
Coach Hobbs and the Tarleton track program were able to bring in a lot of positive notoriety and a tremendous amount of success.
With all of the coaching abilities and strengths Coach Hobbs has accumulated during the course of his coaching career, he has set his goals to the highest standard.
“For South Plains, our goal is going to be to win nationals on all three stages, indoor and outdoor, along with cross country,” explained Coach Hobbs. “Our goal is to establish a well-rounded program in every sport of track because we have a multitude of sports per gender in all three categories.”
With the SPC program and teams behind Coach Hobbs, he is certainly ready to make more history for the program and keep the tradition of winning national championships while also turning young college adults into well-rounded student athletes.
“I am eager to help these student athletes become better all-around people and give all my effort I have into this program to make it the best it can be,” says Coach Hobbs.