RCW: From the office of ... Michael Whittlesey
Coaches and student-athletes spend countless hours training, traveling and competing together and in the best scenarios a special bond is forged over multiple years. Such is the case for Kansas distance and cross country coach Michael Whittlesey and former runner Evan Landes, who spent five years – several battling through injuries – competing for “Coach Whitt” and gifted him a hand-drawn sketch of Rim Rock Farm’s King’s Bridge last year. That sketch remains posted at eye level, in the middle of the board at Whittlesey’s desk and serves as a reminder of his impact on student-athletes, and of the tremendous facility the team calls home.
“Evan Landes drew it himself and gave it to me last year, kind of a thank you for the time we’ve been working together. When I look at it I think of Kansas, the program. Also, the working relationship with a student-athlete that meant enough to him that he would do something like that.
“When I first came here eight years ago, I kept having to pinch myself that this was my play area (laughter), that we get to come out every workout day and do workouts at Rim Rock. You want to honor the tradition of the program and Coach (Bob) Timmons for what he’s done, by building the course and giving the course over to the athletic department. It’s a very, very special place, there’s no question about that.
“Every once in a while you’re up there and you just kind of look around and soak it in. To me it’s like Allen Fieldhouse to a basketball fan, it has the exact same meaning.”
The Kansas cross country team will compete at Rim Rock Farm in its final home contest of the season, Saturday, Oct. 1, at 9 a.m. Admission to the event is free. Directions, course maps and a preview story will be available on the cross country page of KUAthletics.com.