EAST LONGMEADOW – Coach Michael Budd was inducted into the Massachusetts State Track Coaches Association (MSTCA) on Sept. 11.
Although Budd has an impressive coaching career spanning three decades, he remains humble and credits his success to his teams and the coaches who came before him.
Budd began coaching cross country at East Longmeadow High School in 1992. He left the post for one year and came back to coach girl’s track in 1999.
“It’s what I wanted to do all along, so I came back in 1999 and have been coaching at East Longmeadow ever since. I even started the indoor track program in 2000-2001 when the PVIC formed an indoor conference,” said Budd.
Budd himself ran track in the 1970s under coach Ted Dutkiewicz.
When asked about the highlights of his coaching career, Budd found it hard to choose.
“It’s hard to say because I’ve had so many really good kids that have run for me. And I don’t just mean in terms of talent, I also mean that the teams that I work with the kids are very receptive, very polite and very hardworking,” he said.
One highlight he mentioned was coaching his daughter between 2002-2005. He said that she won the New England championship in the triple jump and the state championship in the 200 meter dash.
“That’s a family highlight, but I’ve had some other great kids too who have done some amazing things,” said Budd.
Budd has coached many kids who go on to compete in college and his teams have won many sportsmanship awards.
“I think that’s really important because it fosters goodwill towards others and it also represents the East Longmeadow community well and I think that’s what’s really important is how the kids conduct themselves, particularly when we’re away,” he said.
He’s extremely proud of how his teams have carried themselves and how hard they have worked for their successes.
“They’re so polite and they’re such good kids and they work their behinds off. We’ve had success mostly because of the hard work that they’ve done and I’ve had a lot of great assistant coaches over the years that really keep everything together for me. They say it takes a village, well, I think it takes a galaxy. I’ve had a galaxy of people who have helped me,” said Budd.
Budd said that he felt honored when he found out he would be inducted into the MSTCA Hall of Fame, but also somewhat unworthy.
“I’ll be straightforward with you: I don’t believe that I’m Hall of Fame worthy. I never felt that. I’m starting to feel it now because people are congratulating me, but people like Frank Dutille and a whole bunch of other folks that I know are in the Hall of Fame, I look at those guys as the giants of track and field. I look at those guys as the Hall of Famers. I don’t think I am, but maybe I am. I don’t know. One day maybe it’ll strike me,” said Budd. “It’s not that I don’t appreciate it, but I do what I do simply because I think it’s the right thing to do.”
He emphasized that he works to help the kids have fun, succeed and enjoy their time on the team.
Now that he’s been inducted, Budd said he doesn’t know what’s next for him, but that it will always include East Longmeadow.
“We’ll just see what happens. I’ll take it on a season-to-season basis to decide what I want to do. I don’t plan on coaching collegiately or anything else. If I’m going to coach anywhere, it’s going to be in East Longmeadow,” he said.
He’ll continue to be the best coach he can be for the kids and thinks that, although he is thankful for this opportunity, they deserve all of the recognition.