Meet the coach: Desert Mountain Head XC Coach Kevin Kemmerle

Desert Mountain Head Cross-Country Coach Kevin Kemmerlee and some runners on his team. (Submitted Photo)

It can be an impressive feat to see a runner get off to a slow start and make up the distance to catch back up to the pack.

In a sense, Desert Mountain High School second-year Head Cross-Country Coach Kevin Kemmerle did just that.

Desert Mountain Head Cross-Country Coach Kevin Kemmerle. (Submitted Photo)

Coach Kemmerle’s own high school athletics resume includes track and field and soccer, but it wasn’t until his senior year he decided to train independently to join his high school cross-country team.

“It turned out that I could hang with many of the top runners in the state and I realized I probably should have been running cross-country all four years,” he said in an Oct. 5 email response to questions.

This success led Coach Kemmerle to participate in cross-country and soccer during his senior year, eventually falling in love with the sport, he said. Furthermore, that moment blossomed into a five-year career in coaching.

After moving to Arizona, Coach Kemmerle said he was looking for a way to get back into racing shape. He saw some high school athletes running on a local trail and thought “what better way to get in shape than by coaching and training with some top high school athletes.”

However, this wasn’t the only reason he wanted to coach.

“I also wanted to be able to share my experiences and mistakes to a younger generation in hopes that they would learn to love running just as much as I do,” he said.

The Scottsdale Independent reached out to Coach Kemmerle to better understand who he is and what his approach is to coaching at Desert Mountain. This is what he had to say:

What is your coaching philosophy?

You’ll get out of this sport what you put into it. If you work hard and show up every day, improvements will be made. However, if you work a little and show up sometimes, you won’t be as rewarded. I always stress to my team that you can’t “sort of do” cross-country.

What about coaching is the most fun or rewarding to you?

I love to see my athletes succeed in races. They work so hard day in and day out and it’s awesome when they can see all that work pay off in their results.

What are the components to a successful team?

You need to have groups of athletes that can constantly challenge each other every day to get better. The team needs to know when to be serious like during races and workouts, but also has to find time for fun. Cross-country can boring at times, but if you have the right teammates around you, it can be a whole lot more exciting.

Why do you think sports are important to a high school?

Sports teach kids valuable lessons needed to succeed in their adult lives. Time management, tolerance of others, work ethic, responsibility and most importantly, how to work as a member of a team.

What advice would you give to athletes just starting out in your sport?

Take it slow and listen to your body. Aches and pains are part of the sport, but you need to make sure to rest and recover before any more serious pains turn into injuries.

If you weren’t coaching the sport you are, what sport would you want to coach? Why?

I would coach soccer, which I currently do at the middle school level in the spring. Soccer was my first love as a kid and it will always have a place in my life.

Which coach in sports, current or retired, is one you look up to the most? Why?

I look up to my former college coach Jim Fischer. He coached at my school for over 30 years and always paid attention to every athlete no matter if they were his stud athletes or at the bottom of the depth chart (that was me one time during an indoor track season). I try to use that philosophy as I coach and work hard to make sure that everyone on my team feels important and has a chance to succeed in everything they do.

When you are not coaching, what are you doing?

I’m playing ultimate frisbee, soccer or FIFA on my Xbox

News Services Reporter Josh Martinez can be contacted at or at 623-445-2738

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