CLINTON — The Clinton Warriors track team has a new feather in their winged heeled running shoes this year and this one goes all the way to the top.
Head track and field coach Norm Deep Jr. has been chosen New York State Coach of the Year by the National Federation of State High School Association. Chosen from a list of over 80 possible candidates within New York, the award was earned for boys’ outdoor track, a program Deep took over at Clinton Central School in 1994.
“I don’t consider myself just a boys’ outdoor track coach,” Deep said. “I consider myself a coach. Not a boys’ coach, not a girls’ coach — just a coach.”
He’s a coach whose 26-year record is 275-40-1, with a 56-duel meet win streak dating back to 2014, according to Clinton High School Athletic Director Mike King.
“Coach Deep is 100% dedicated to his sport and his league,” King said.
King said in the time Coach Deep has been head track coach his teams have brought home 10 Section III championships, 16 league titles and 74 multi-school invitational crowns. Since becoming the girls’ coach in 2013, they’ve earned a record of 76/1.
“The boys wouldn’t be as good as they are without the girls’ team and vice- versa,” Deep said. “They inspire each other, they root for each other, they drive each other. We are a track family.”
While Deep runs the programs for both boys and girls, he’s the first person to tell you he hasn’t done it alone, and he considers this award a program award. An award he wouldn’t have won for his team if not for the effort of the kids, and his valuable assistant coaches.
Deep feels the coaches he’s brought in over the years have specialties and that only adds to the success of the program.
“I’m fortunate because I would say over the last 10 years I’ve had coaches approach me — some very qualified coaches,” he said. “They say success breeds success and there are a lot of coaches out there who might be for example, a cross-country run coach, but their school doesn’t have an indoor program, so they come to me and ask if they can help the Clinton program in what’s considered their off-season.”
Deep said that for years now in his pre-season staff meetings he’s been able to claim something very unique he feels has contributed to the program’s success.
“A lot of our assistant track coaches are head coaches in other sports and in other seasons,” he said.
For instance Deep explained for three years he had a coach named Nick Jeror, an indoor and outdoor assistant, while Jeror was the head girls cross-country coach at Rome Free Academy. Also Kristen Wilson, who Deep said volunteered to work with the Warrior girls’ indoor track team the past few years, and is the girl’s head outdoor coach at Waterville High School.
“You couple that with Zack Jones, our current head football coach who works with us,” Deep said. In addition to Art McKinnon, who was my head collegiate track coach at Colgate University, and I get a coaching staff of multiple head coaches.”
Deep also mentioned Sam Catterson who is a 2001 Clinton graduate who worked with Deep after serving as a head cross-country coach in Colorado for eight years. Catterson came back to work with Deep before becoming the head cross-country coach at Utica College in 2019.
Also past assistant coaches, Lori Hunt, Angelo Gaetano, Stacy Davignon and Matt Bashant, plus 27 other assistants leads Deep to reiterate a very confidant claim.
“I can really say I have the most qualified staff year in and year out because they are all former and in some cases, current head coaches,” he said.
Deep, a former thrower for Clinton, and then later at Colgate is no stranger to helping other programs himself. For six years in the middle of his career he was assistant throws coach at Hamilton College, while holding down his day job as Clinton High School social studies teacher and Warrior head track coach.
Understanding what it’s like to switch roles from head coach to assistant is something Deep feels has helped he and his assistants understand each other better, work together better and most importantly, been overall fantastic for his team.
Make no mistake this is Deep’s team but not because he’s coached it for the past 26 years.
“This is my team because I was on it for four years,” Deep said. “All athletes know, once you played somewhere it’s your team forever, along with all those who’ve made it a team alongside you, and you them.”
Deep was a thrower for the Clinton track team who’s lived to see the records he set at Clinton broken by the players he’s coached.
“I want to credit the program, not me personally,” Deep said. “This is a program award, this is for all the assistants and all the student-athletes who, like me, are Clinton Warrior indoor/outdoor boys’ and girls’ track team members forever.”