FORT WAYNE — Josh Wolfe has decided to run another course.
If his past cross country performances as both an athlete and a coach are any indication, he’ll find his way just fine.
Wolfe, a 2003 DeKalb graduate, resigned as cross country coach at Indiana Tech effective Friday. He was with the program 10 years, the last seven as head coach.
He had an incredible run of success with the Warriors, but his future will change with his wife, Elaina Johns-Wolfe, completing her PhD in sociology. The couple plan to relocate so both can continue their careers.
“It was family driven,” Wolfe said. “It was bittersweet, but it came to the point that we had to relocate, and both have jobs where we could be successful.
“I appreciate my time at Tech. I competed in high school and college, and I got the opportunity to coach and be on the other side of it.”
The other side was filled with success for the 2007 Manchester University alum. The Warriors sent a runner to the NAIA nationals each year during his tenure. The men’s team went to the national meet each year from 2013-17, with the Lady Warriors making the trip in 2013, 2014 and 2018.
Wolfe was the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference men’s coach of the year in 2016-17, with his team taking the conference title both years. He coached 36 All-WHAC runners and 48 WHAC All-Academic runners.
He was also assistant to track and field coach Doug Edgar. The Warriors had 11 national champions and 29 conference champions during Wolfe’s time there.
Wolfe credited some success to keeping a good relationship with high school coaches in the area, which helped with recruiting.
“A lot of them are guys I competed against in high school and college,” he said.
Allen County Parks was a big help in allowing meets and practices, and several local business lent their support to the Tech program.
“It was relying on the strength of the community,” Wolfe said. “We as coaches were equipped to have success and utilize those strengths.”
Wolfe ran in the state high school cross country meet four straight years while at DeKalb. He was All-State in his last three years, including his junior season when the Barons finished sixth in the state.
He traces his success today back to those roots.
“It started with a couple of great coaches at DeKalb (Tim Rayle and Rowland Perez),” Wolfe said. “They showed a coach can be more than X’s and O’s. I tried to make my role models in the coaching world. I really enjoyed my competitive days at DeKalb.”
While the Barons turned out strong teams year after year, it’s what happened away from competition that was most important, Wolfe believes.
“Most good coaches have a great relationship with their athletes,” he said. “Anytime an athlete is putting their body on the line, it’s a serious deal. (Good coaches) don’t take that lightly.
“A team is comprised of a lot of individuals with different strengths and weaknesses. If you can get the athletes to respect those differences, that’s the situation that promotes the most growth. Growth off the track usually results in growth on the track.”
Wolfe worked to nurture the same type of growth as a college coach, and he said seeing it happen was his greatest satisfaction.
“It was very difficult to make the varsity and travel rosters (for Indiana Tech),” Wolfe said. “Maybe you have a kid come in and you think of them as JV or a developmental athlete. Then they improve and become able to travel with the varsity.
“Seeing that play out over four years is the biggest sense of accomplishment.”