Pete has been poppin’ the buttons on his vest talking to folks about the Olympics coming up in Beijing, China. That is because Orin Richburg, NMSU’s track head coach, is back in the saddle coaching America’s relay teams. Coach Richburg is actually making a return to the Olympics after doing a bang up job in 2004. He has been given the responsibility of organizing the USA men’s and women’s relay teams competing in China. There is nothing to compare with being picked by your own ranch hands to lead the pack. Richburg’s peers knew he was the best man for the job and put him smack dab in the middle of it all.
Before traveling to Beijing, Richburg will be keeping an eye on the eight male athletes and eight women athletes who qualified, who will be running in three different pre-Olympic events. The first meet was in Stockholm, Sweden, July 15, this weekend, more practice in London and then the French Rivera and Monaco will see the wrap up. Don’t go thinking Coach Richburg is gonna be sipping Champagne with the prince by the sea, he is all business when it comes to track and field.
The opening ceremonies are Aug. 8 and Richburg will be on hand to make sure the USA has it all together for the world’s stage. He is entering his second season heading up the NMSU track and field and cross country teams and has made a major turnaround in various areas. In his first year, the Aggies made 54 improvements on their top 10 NMSU all-time record lists, along with five record-setting performances. It isn’t just on the cinders either, 10 athletes were selected to the first and second team All-WAC for the indoor and outdoor season and earned 19 Academic All-WAC honors for their work in the classroom.
Let me remind you that good programs start with good people and good leadership. That is coming from the very top, Dr. McKinley Boston. He is the one who has found international caliber coaches like Richburg, and guys who get recruited to the NBA like Reggie Theus. You don’t think Richburg had other offers; he wanted to be at our university to show what can be done here at the WAC’s desert jewel.
When the starting gun starts those relay races, Richburg’s heart is gonna be somewhere near his Adam’s apple. Ole Pete’s gotta feel that the Red, White and Blue is gonna be standin’ tall at the top of the gold medal platform when the spikes have crossed the finish line. It’s just another reason to take pride in what we got going here at NMSU.