Coach Gill: inspirational, humble, awesome!

For most, graduation from Ames High is the end of the line as far as high school is concerned. With the exceptions of occasional visits and a few relationships that bring some back for prom or such a gathering, the majority of alums experience difficulty in successfully entering into association with the school again. Their "When I was in high school…" stories are considered as worthwhile by students as something extremely not worthwhile. There is a distinct "give it up" stigma much of the time, but not in the case of 2005 Ames High graduate Brandon Gill. Since joining the Ames High cross country and track coaching crew in 2008, coach Gill has quickly become a beloved and respected fixture on the teams. Along with the inspiration he has brought to individuals on the team, he was also instrumental in the development and maintenance of Polar Bear Club, a winter training group, and his "When I was in high school…" stories are the stuff of legend, sort of like the Odyssey . His eternal optimism, decided humility, and unbridled charisma have secured for him unparalleled popularity among those he coaches. "He’s awesome," freshman Andrew Baumgartner said. "He’s awesome," freshman Austin Clark said. "He’s the best." "Coach Gill is fun in a… painful way," freshman Ben Forney said. "He’s amazing. HE IS AMAZING!" freshman Nicus Hicks exclaimed. "He’s pretty much the most amazing person I know," junior Peter Scott said. "And he’s really good at making you feel gillty." "I think he’s a pretty nice guy," senior Devin Becraft said. "When you’re running, no one cheers for you louder than him, and… that kind of motivates you. He’s kind of tough to not get along with." In the past year, Gill’s popularity has even spread to Africa on account of his biggest fan, junior Drew Minick. Minick’s "Gill T-shirts" campaign proved to be a defining moment in Gill’s rise to greatness. The plan was to create T-shirts with the beloved coach’s face on the front. The people went wild, and the orders flew in, and even Gill himself said he would have owned one, but the reception process hit a snag when Minick reached a business impasse with the T-shirt company. Unwilling to send the shirts, but having already made them, the company sent them to Africa for a tax deduction. "I’m really excited that there are people in Africa wearing my face; I feel like I’m making my mark on the world," Gill said. Minick said a goal in his life is to "someday run into someone with one of those shirts." Thanks to Gill’s athletic coaching, Minick may have that literal experience. Of his coaching, Gill said, "I like to see the kids in pain; it fuels me." But he dowsn’t just watch the kids endure; he does it along with them. It is not just Gill’s side-by-side training and ruthless ab workouts that make him successful, however. The life he leads goes a long way to further inspire his athletes. Without hesitation, senior Robbie Dennis said that, were Gill to be involved in a business dealing like Minick’s, "he’d probably be way too nice." Dennis also said that Gill would probably consent to pay extra were he prompted to do so. A typical high school athlete can expect to hear at least once per season about sports being about more than just games and competition, but rather life. For most, this is a cliche, but for Brandon Gill’s athletes, it is reality. An average alum can only dream of such impact, but Gill handles it with humility, saying he is flattered that people would want him on a T-shirt: just one more thing that makes coach Gill above-average.