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Goldsack taking USA to new heights

Tim Goldsack loved sports growing up and had dreams of owning his own running shoe store one day.

He never imagined that instead of selling shoes he would be buying them for a college team.

Goldsack, 25, is the cross country and distance coach for the University of South Alabama and assistant track and field coach, making him one of the youngest distance coaches in Division I.

"It's definitely intense and a lot of long hours," said Goldsack, a 2002 Collins Hill grad. "There's a lot of time spent on the phone recruiting. We travel to a lot of places like California, Notre Dame, Indiana, Louisville, but it's working with the kids everyday that I enjoy, molding them into great adults."

Goldsack just completed his first season with USA, which is located in Mobile, where he is the recruiting coordinator, handles the program's budget and makes travel arrangements in addition to coaching.

Last season he had six distance runners win conference championships in cross country and track and had 15 runners earn all-conference honors in the Sun Belt Conference.

"I always wanted to do something with running," Goldsack said. "Once I got in to college that definitely made we want to do coaching."

Goldsack had a stellar career in high school, helping Collins Hill to the 2000 cross country state championship as a junior. It was the first state title in the school's history in any sport.

"It was real cool to be part of that," Goldsack said. "It was like a pipe dream. We were seventh the year before and we actually ran terrible at state. We ran by far the worst race and won by two points."

Goldsack placed ninth at county and eighth at region that season. He was expected to be a top 15 finisher at state, but placed 49th with a time of 17 minutes, 54 seconds.

"I thought I lost the state title for our team," Goldsack recalled.

But Goldsack's placement was just enough to give the Eagles the title. Head coach Matt Johnson stepped down after the season and Collins Hill took fifth at state Goldsack's senior season. He placed 12th at county, but took 20 at region and 50th at state.

Despite the down season, Goldsack signed with the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. But after his first season, his coach who was in the military reserve, was called to Iraq.

Goldsack was marred by stress fractures the next two years as he adjusted to a new coaching style. His injuries got to the point that doctors told him he was one centimeter away from losing his hip the way Bo Jackson did.

"I literally ran more races in my high school career than I did up there," Goldsack said.

With one year of eligibility left, Goldsack transferred to Kennesaw State. He had marginal success, but was just happy to be able to run injury-free. He earned academic all-conference twice with Kennesaw State.

"There was a lot of times I thought what if I had gone to Kennesaw State instead (of UNC-Greensboro)," Goldsack said. "I had a great experience. Was it perfect? No, but I got to run at a Division I level and not many people get to do that."

It was while in college that Goldsack discovered his love for coaching. He began coaching high school kids on the side and had several runners earn college scholarships.

"Once I started to get into college and was part of the system I knew I wanted to do it," Goldsack said.

After he graduated from Kennesaw State in 2007, he took a graduate assistant position with the University of Alabama. He spent one season with the Crimson Tide, which is one of the top running programs in the country, and helped coach two individual SEC champs, one indoor All-American, one outdoor All-American and three NCAA qualifiers.

"It was a great experience," Goldsack said. "You see a sub four-minute mile every meet and that's something I've taken to South Alabama. I think that experience made me a better coach."

Goldsack took what he learned from Alabama and brought it to Mobile where he's 10 minutes from the bay and enjoys eating seafood.

"Coming from the SEC and being at a high level, I came here with the same mentality," Goldsack.

That was evident in his first season at South Alabama where he led the Jaguars to top five finishes in the conference in cross country and top 10 finishes in outdoor track and field.

It was a strong first season for Goldsack, but he wants South Alabama to be among the best in the country and couldn't be any happier in the coaching profession.

"I'm happy here. I like the lifestyle and they have everything I need down here to succeed," Goldsack said. "We travel across the country, race top teams and athletes. We're going to be a team to compete with anybody."

SideBar: The Goldsack File

Name: Tim Goldsack

Age: 25

Current job: Cross country and distance coach for the University of South Alabama and assistant track and field coach

Education: Graduated from Collins Hill in 2002, received bachelor's degree in English Education from Kennesaw State in 2007

Background: Member of Collins Hill's 2000 cross country state championship team; placed eighth at county as a junior with a time of 16 minutes, 53 seconds; signed scholarship with University of North Carolina-Greensboro; ran for three seasons at UNCG, but was marred by injuries; ran one season at Kennesaw State

Family: Single