According to Brant Stachel, a positive culture defines an athlete’s success. If his career is any indication, that philosophy holds credence.
Earlier this January, Athletics Ontario (AO) announced Stachel, Queen’s assistant cross country coach, as their Coaching Coordinator effective immediately. Additionally, in December, he was named Team Coach of Athletics Canada’s 2019 North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Cross Country team, a race that’ll take place in just over two weeks in Trinidad and Tobago. Current Queen’s athletes Brogan MacDougall, Makenna Fitzgerald, and alumni Claire Sumner will join him.
With his position at AO, Stachel is responsible for coaching and professional development within the organization, along with assisting in their high performance training with the province’s top athletes.
Stachel believes the two opportunities—which have been arguably the biggest of his career—came to fruition because of the paths he’s taken. He credits his six years at Queen’s for providing him with the tools to fill the role. To him, Queen’s cross country Head Coach Steve Boyd has been at the forefront of his development.
“Having Steve as a mentor was a really big thing,” Stachel, who arrived at Queen’s in 2012 and slowly progressed into the role of assistant coach, told The Journal. “I think it’s something we’re missing in coaching education is an engaged mentorship.”
While under Boyd’s tutelage—which Stachel said brought a team oriented and healthy environment to the cross country program—his core values as a coach were fostered. Over the past two years, Queen’s women’s team has won consecutive OUA Championships and placed second in the U Sports Championships.
“Part of the role I’m trying to create with AO is mentorship opportunities because I saw the value in it,” he said.
Making a career out of coaching has always been Stachel’s primary commitment, but putting himself into these roles has never necessarily been prioritized. He said he’s always let his work speak for itself.
“I never really thought out my goals […] it was just a hard-focus on developing athletes, doing it the right away, building community, and building support networks for our athletes to succeed,” he said, adding that getting the position at AO was a surprise.
“The coaching one was a bit of a shock.”
With his role at NACAC, Stachel’s travel schedule has steadily increased. Last summer he lead Team Canada at the International University Sports Federation World University Cross Country Championships in Switzerland. Despite travelling approximately 35 weekends over the year, he’s staying focused on his primary goals.
“It’s not a huge difference […]the life of a coach is travel on the road. I’m super fortunate that I get to give back to the community and build the next generation of coaches,” he said.
As Stachel grows in the Canadian cross country coaching landscape, he has a message for coaches who’ve begun looking up to him.
“Everything we do and I try to do is team-oriented,” Stachel said. “If we can always keep that in mind it keeps you grounded in what you’re trying to do. If you stick with your goals and aspirations and have sound development, then it makes it a bit easier to extend the pathway and create athletes who follow and trust you.”
Brant Stachel, cross country, Steve Boyd
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