Both the men’s and women’s track and field teams officially welcomed a new member to the coaching staff when indoor practices got under way Jan. 4.
Martin Peper, 61, was hired by the heads of the men’s and women’s track and field teams to coach the long jump, high jump and triple jump. Peper will bring a lot of experience to his new team. Although it will be his first year with the Cobbers, Peper has been coaching in some capacity since 1979. During his 36 years coaching, he has been a sprints and field event coach at Richfield Junior High School, a jumps coach at Eden Prairie High School and
Carleton College, the head coach at Macales- ter College for men and women, and most re- cently, was a consultant and triple jump coach at Augsburg College.
When it comes to the performance of his athletes, Peper’s goal is simple. “I hope to help each athlete reach the highest level possible.” Peper said.
Garrick Larson, head coach of the men’s track and field team, first met Peper in 1988 while he was a member of the St. Olaf track and field team. At the time, Peper was the jumping coach at Carleton College. Carleton did not have an indoor track at the time, so Peper would take his athletes to work out at St. Olaf’s indoor track. Although they were members of opposing teams, interaction be-
tween the two was inevitable due to Larson’s participation in the high jump.
“I was the only high jumper those first cou- ple years at St. Olaf, so I kind of mixed in with them or was working out at the same time so I got to know Martin then, and I of course got to know his coaching ability somewhat then to,” said Larson.
Larson always remembered the coaching ability of Peper, and jumped at the opportu- nity to add him to the staff when Peper ex- pressed his desire to coach at Concordia.
“He’s very technical, super knowledgeable about the events. I mean, I still think Martin’s one of the best if not the best jumps coach at any level — Division I, II or III,” said Larson.
Although competitive success is a priority,
Peper believes that his athletes will gain more in their athletic endeavors than an improved vertical jump.
“Sport is a good safe way to learn about handling good times and not so good times. It is very safe and a lot of people don’t know how to handle that and we face that all the time especially in track and field. We’re out there basically in our underwear. We can’t hide. You run a race and if you finish ten meters behind the leader it’s noticeable.” Peper said.
Concordia’s indoor season is in full stride as the teams competed in their annual alumni meet this past Saturday. The Cobbers will host another meet this coming Saturday featuring 14 teams from the local area.
Marit Johnson (’16) is majoring in music and Spanish. She continues to explore her love for words and linguistics with her English minor. Johnson is currently the web editor for the Concordian. Her work is featured in the Concordian, in freelance work for Augsburg Fortress Press, and on Prairie Public Radio where she interned in Fall 2015. When she is not at the Concordian, Johnson can be found in Concordia’s band library or in rehearsal with the band and orchestra.