McGuire, seniors prepare for final home meet

Coach Rick McGuire is leaving the Tigers after 27 years of coaching.
Coach Rick McGuire chats with senior Nick Adcock and junior Lars Rise on Wednesday at Audrey J. Walton Stadium. McGuire will retire at the end of the season after 27 seasons with the Tigers.

Missouri's Audrey J. Walton Stadium will host the upcoming Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Missouri's athletes will be competing against their toughest opponents yet, as the Big 12 features some of the top athletes in the nation.

In order to prepare for the higher level of competition they will be facing, practices have been toned down to allow the athletes' muscles to recover. The added recovery time and peak physical conditioning has given Tiger athletes a boost of confidence heading into the conference meet.

"I know that physically I'm very fit right now, and that physical fitness gives me quite a bit of confidence," senior Tim Cornell said. "Having the Big 12 meet here my senior year is very special to me, and I just want to go out there and put forth the best effort that my body and mind will allow me to."

The Big 12 Championship meet will be the final home meet for the team's 14 seniors as well as for coach McGuire, who announced he will be retiring at the end of the season.

"I would far prefer my problem to be that I missed it than I lost it," McGuire said. "I don't want to have people say that I stayed too long."

McGuire has had 137 athletes earn All-American honors during his 27-year career as Missouri's track and field coach. In addition to the honors and accomplishments earned by his athletes on the collegiate level, McGuire has helped four athletes qualify for Olympic competition. Two of the athletes, Natasha Kaiser-Brown and Christian Cantwell, earned silver medals.

McGuire's accomplishments are not limited to athletics. In fact, one of the most notable aspects of McGuire's career has been his athlete's academic achievements. Missouri has been included on the USTFCCCA All-Academic List for 45 consecutive seasons on the women's side and for 22 straight seasons on the men's side. Individually, hundreds of MU track and field athletes have earned All-Academic honors while under the tutelage of McGuire.

"In 27 years, I've never had a Sunday practice," McGuire said. "I've maybe had four to five Saturday practices in 27 years, but I've never come close to 20 hours a week. I'm a 40-year, proud, professional educator, and one of my classrooms happens to be the athletic field, that's all. This is every bit as much a part of their education as what happens in those buildings on campus."

Much like his accomplishments as a coach, McGuire's influence has extended beyond track and field.

"(McGuire) is like my second dad. He's always been there for me," senior Nick Adcock said. "He's just a great guy. I've learned a lot of stuff from him on and off the field."

Although it has sunk in for McGuire that this season will be his last season coaching, he expects his last day at the helm of the track and field program to be difficult.

"I expect that when I get to the very end that it's going to be a very hard day," McGuire said. "I expect I'm going to have tears and be pretty down. And I expect that's because I absolutely love it...(and) I'm going to miss it."

McGuire's final day as coach will be July 30.

The Big 12 Outdoor Championships begins Friday, May 14 at Walton Stadium.

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