Championship Culture

Coach Randy Hagen has been inspiring student-athletes with ideas about a champion’s mentality for 20 years.

By Jacob Lindenberg, Ryder Gary, and Tod Stephens 

“Eat lightning, crap thunder.”

This phrase has become sort of a calling card for Coach Randy Hagen. The track coach and weights teacher has been teaching for 27 years. However, he has been teaching his championship culture philosophy for 20 years. The basic idea is to teach discipline and dedication to athletes, in order to get the best results. “I started reading books about motivation in 1980. The Psychology of Winning is what really got me started.” Hagen realized that in order to understand his athletes, he first needed to understand how human behavior works. “I needed people to stop focusing on talent and start focusing on principles and what they had to offer.”  Hagen went on to further explain that if you are a principle driven person, your talent has no limits.

Hagen has even published a book, titled Success Perfect. Published in 2007 and co-written by former Central science and PE teacher Rose DuBois, the book has sixteen chapters dedicated to subjects such as happiness, success, and adversity. Each chapter has inspirational quotes, bullet points, and steps to achieve goals. For example, “Establish good habits and practice them every day. With good habits, success becomes second nature. The methods you use to become more successful must always be part of your life.”

While many students are familiar with Coach Hagen and his championship culture philosophy, we set out to find what their thoughts on his teachings are. We started close to home, with Hagen’s grandson Sage. Under Hagen’s coaching, Sage is a reigning state champion triple jumper who holds the school record and second all-time jump in the state. Sage immediately brought up his favorite quote from his grandpa: “Training without improvement is meaningless.” This was the attitude the two would share every day they worked together. Sage remarked that the greatest thing Hagen ever did for him in the coaching realm is showing him how to bring it every day. “He calls it lion mode!” Sage finished by giving all credit for his athletic career to his grandpa.

Sage and Hagen obviously have a very close relationship, so we decided to then branch out to students and athletes who are not as close, but are familiar with his coaching and philosophies. Isaak Iverson, a senior football and baseball player, agrees with the philosophy Hagen shares. One thing Hagen emphasizes is individual work for the greater good of the team. If everyone does their share of hard work, and does their job, the team will compete at their best. Isaak also believes this is a big key to team success. “It makes a lot of sense to me. The harder a team works together, the better they will always be.”

Jordan Ladson, who also triple jumps with Sage under Coach Hagen, gave us his two cents on the matter. “Hagen is the best motivator I’ve had as a coach,” he said. Erik Keohane, who is participating in his first year of track and is a state qualifier in hurdles, is also very grateful for Hagen’s teaching. “He’s very inspiring and has helped me grow as an athlete,” he said.

Although his efforts may go unpraised, it is safe to say that Coach Hagen does a lot for the athletes of Central High School. His championship culture philosophy has been helping students and athletes alike form morals of mental toughness and positive attitudes for 20 years. The athletics of this school owe a lot to his teachings.

Photo: roaring lion from Google