Cross country assistant coach Adam Bray was hired on Sep. 1, 2012. With two weeks to prepare, the Owls were set to participate in the first-ever Friend Invitational.
With sophomore Jenna Dubrow’s dominate performance, 19.05, on the women’s side, the Owls finished second to La Salle, 29-36-67.
“[Bray] wanted everyone else to run as a group, and I tempo-ed it which means to run relaxed and controlled for the whole race,” Dubrow said.
For the men, the Owls were led by sophomore Cullen Davis, 27:27, taking first place in the meet, 24-31-85.
“The plan was to go controlled through the first three miles or so,” Davis said. “Then, we wanted to gradually takeoff and go to what our goal pace would be the rest of the season on a flat course.”
For both Dubrow and Davis, the word smooth epitomizes the coaching transition.
“[Having a new coach] has been so much easier than I thought it would be,” Davis said.
“[Bray] communicates well with us,” Davis added. “It has been a really smooth process, and I still feel like this season will be the best we’ve ever had in history.”
Dubrow is also confident with Bray’s program.
“I really like what’s going on here,” Dubrow said. “Coach Bray is an awesome coach and made this transition really smooth, and as far as training, I have been loving the workouts.”
“We have more recovery [with Bray] than we used to in the past,” Dubrow said. “So, I feel like better and more rested which has made me stronger.”
“I think maybe if it was a different year [for me] like junior into senior year, it may have been tougher,” Dubrow added.
For the Owls overall, Bray feels the transition has been positive.
“I think everybody is buying into the program, and their attitude has been pretty good,” Bray said.
“That’s all you can ask for when a new coach comes in a place,” Bray added. “You can’t come into a culture they’ve been used to, and to just do a 180.”
The runners who are experiencing the transition as well aren’t describing it as a complete turnaround.
“[Bray] is not pushing us too hard, changing too many things, it’s just smooth,” Davis said. “It’s like we never lost a coach.”
“When our old coach, Matt Jelley, was moving to Maryland, we were a little nervous because we didn’t know what was going on,” Davis said. “[However, Bray’s] been here for three weeks, and we trust him.”
From the University of Illinois, Bray came to Temple. However, the hiring was not random- an indirect product of his collegiate career at the University of Akron.
“It’s actually a funny story,” Bray said. “When I first went to college, [Temple head coach] Eric Mobley was an assistant at Akron, and so he was actually one of my coaches when I first got to college for two years; then, he moved back here to Philadelphia to coach.”
“We have always kept a relationship throughout college,” Bray said. “We both had a passion to coach, and the friendship grew from there.”
“When he needed a coach, he asked me if I was interested,” said Bray.
The Owls’ next meet will be on Sep. 28, 2012, the Paul Short Invitational at Lehigh University.