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Arbogast makes National Hall-Fame

Courtesy By: Sal Lake Tribune

Cross country
Bingham coach inducted into National Hall of Fame

Click photo to enlarge
Jeff Arbogast was inducted to the National High School... (Scott Sommerdorf/The Salt Lake Tribune )
Last month in Milwaukee in front of men and women at least a decade older than he was, Bingham cross country and track and field coach Jeff Arbogast felt out of place. He felt he didn't deserve the honor.
    An honor people in his profession work an entire lifetime for. Arbogast, on the other hand, still has maybe about a decade left, though he has been coaching for nearly three decades already.
    The honor was one only four other Utahns - Wilbur Braithwaite, Roger Dupaix, Larry Wall and Thomas Budge - received before him since it was created in 1996: an induction into the National High School Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Arbogast said he sat in awe and surprise for most of the evening. He then realized that, after being one of 41 current and former coaches from all across the country to be inducted this year, all he wanted to do was what got him there:
    To coach more.
    It was an amazing thing, Arbogast said. It was something I didn't see coming.
    There's a good explanation for the second part of that statement.
    As he's gearing up for another cross country season, Arbogast is focused mostly on developing OK and good athletes into good and great ones.
    That's something he's been doing for the past 27 years.
    It was this passion that made Robby Duncan realize being one of Arbogast's assistants

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for 10-plus years is almost pointless if you're waiting for Arbogast to retire so you can take over one of the most dominant cross country and track programs in Utah.
    With him, you just don't know how much longer he'll be there, said Duncan, who left Bingham to coach at Taylorsville. He's still very, very young.
    Arbogast is 50 years old, and he said that at the induction ceremony the next youngest person was only six years older than he was. In coaching terms, Arbogast is not going anywhere, anytime soon.
    He's too busy to stop now, especially because he's also giving seminars to coaches all over the country, teaching them The Bingham Way. It's a clever way to describe the type of workouts the Miners used to garner 10 state championships (seven in cross country, and three in track and field) and two national titles (one apiece in boys' and girls' cross country).
    In other words, Arbogast has always been ahead of the field, though he had two OK years to start off his coaching tenure before his boys' cross country runners won the school's first region title in 1982. He was the one who told his 1990 boys' cross country team this:
    So, you want to be state champions?
    That was the start of the 750 Club, which is Arbogast's way of teaching his runners the importance of summer workouts by logging in 750 miles before the upcoming season. It worked. His boys became state champions that year. Three more came after that, while the girls boasted three in a row from 1998-2000. And now, the same people whom Arbogast coached are now coaches, thanks to The Bingham Way.
    What I took away from coach Arbogast is, former Bingham runner and Davis cross country coach Corbin Talley said, is the love for running. That's what I try to do here.
    For Arbogast, he'll continue his ways. He'll get to Bingham High about five minutes to 4 a.m. - You're the coach so you wanna beat the kids, he said - and unlock the doors to the back loading dock of the school, to see the track and to another day of coaching.
    I still have from three to 10 more years of coaching left in me, he said.
    Not that he needs to do extra time. His spot in high school immortality is secure.
    csun@sltrib.com
   
   Hardware haul
   * On June 28, Bingham cross country and track and field coach Jeff Arbogast was inducted into the National High School Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame, becoming only the fifth coach from Utah to receive such an honor.
    * Despite coaching for nearly 30 years, Arbogast said he has three to 10 years left in him. He owns 10 state championships, in addition to two national titles (both in cross country).
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