Getting to Know the Women's Track and Field Coach: Eric Barron
The most important parts of a person's life are the decisions they make where they can either face the situation or keep running. In Coach Barron's case, his decision to keep running is what made him what he is today.
Eric Adam Barron, head coach of the Women's track and field team here at Santa Monica College, grew up in Michigan where he developed his own passion for running at Cranbrook High School in his senior year. Soon after, Barron attended college at the prestigious Harvard College in Cambridge, Massachusetts. With a bachelor's degree in hand, Coach Barron went back to his hometown in Michigan, where he attended law school at the University of Michigan.
It was in college where Coach Barron realized why he wanted to run. He describes this incident as a "turning point" in which he would have never stuck to running if it hadn't happened.
"When I got to college, I considered trying out for the track team, but I didn't realize how athletic these guys would be," said Barron.
The coach made Barron and the rest of the freshman team hopefuls jog the first two-and-a-half miles of the 10K racecourse.
"I realized that everyone else's jog time was the equivalent to my race time."
It was then that Barron decided to go talk to the coach, and let him know that he was not going to be able to bring much to the team in terms of score.
"I told him that I wasn't ready for this that I would train on my own, and then try out for the team again when I feel ready."
Barron's coach informed him that she shouldn't worry about the time, and regardless, should show up to the meet and see how he did.
"That was the turning point in my life I'd say. If he would have told me to go on ahead and train alone, I never would have been as passionate about running as I am now.
"I practiced law in a corporate firm for seven years, while coaching track on the side. I realized soon after that I'd rather be a coach full time, as it was something I enjoyed even more then working in the law firm"
In 1998, Coach Barron started as assistant coach here at Santa Monica College, and the next year, he took the reigns as head coach for the women's team.
Barron's wife, Wenise Wong, also works here at SMC as a professor in the chemistry department. Coach Barron and his wife have two kids, Violet, who is almost five years old, and Lee, who is five months old.
"I'm not going to make my kids run. But I sure hope that they want to become runners."
The family enjoys watching track meets together, as well as taking trips to the beach and local parks in their spare time.
When Coach Barron started working here at SMC, he had no intent to predict how long he would be working here. "I'd like to coach for as long as I can, it has been so rewarding for me," said Barron. With such expertise in running, and being a respected runner himself, its safe to say that coach Barron had his choice of schools he could have taught at, but settled here at Santa Monica. "I like working with community college students, its nice to help them move on to another institution taking in account what they learned here.
"One thing that I find rather amazing about students here at Santa Monica is their willingness to run. Most of the students don't get supported by their parents, are balancing working, long distance commutes, and an abundant amount of school work, yet they are still able to take the time to be on the team. It's that kind of determination that makes this such a rewarding job."
Besides spending his time out on the field, Coach Barron enjoys watching hockey, basketball, and tennis. He also enjoys the sounds of ‘60s rock music, jazz and new artists such as Spiritualized and Beck.
"I had two jobs out in California before I decided to move here, mostly because of the amazing weather."
In his 11 coaching years here at SMC, Coach Barron has done a magnificent job training and teaching the women's track and field team true fundamentals of becoming a great athlete. With his experiences in college track and running in his own life, he has been able and will continue to take the women's team as far as he can.
"I would like to see more of our track and field events strengthen up. I want to see more participation and see the sport grow overall, in the years to come.