In recent years, the boys’ track team has had unprecedented success in the cross-country, indoor track, and outdoor track seasons. And it’s no coincidence that this recent success overlaps with the hiring of Malcolm Watson ’01.
Watson, a Staples and University of Columbia graduate, got his start in the Staples program in an unconventional way – he began by running under head coach Laddie Lawrence in high school. He was, “a solid performer in high school,” Lawrence said. After he graduated graduate school, he ran into Lawrence’s son, who suggested that he volunteer coach. Watson took him up on it, and once they had room in the budget, Lawrence offered Watson the assistant coach job – with pay. The rest, as they say, is history.
Watson has been coaching since the spring of 2011, which means he has watched the maturation of the freshmen class into seniors. And an assistant coach, Watson manages and trains the entire distance program. But more importantly, he’s there “for all of the kids as a mentor and friend to whoever need it,” he said.
“He has a tremendous rapport with the kids – that’s his most valuable asset,” said head coach Laddie Lawrence.
Besides from the obvious objective impact Watson has had on the track team – in his time there he has coached countless All-Americans, won one national title and many state and FCIAC titles, along with setting new state, New England and national records, he’s also had a strong subjective impact that’s impossible to overlook.
“He inspires me to keep running,” Luis Cruz ’15 said. “He is the only person after a bad race who would look at the positives.”
Jake Berman ’15 agreed with Cruz’ assessment of Watson’s impact.
“He’s a great coach that is friends with most of the team. [He] is one of the main reasons that stars like Henry Wynne are so successful and the Staples Distance program in general,” he said.
Watson is a clear reason why the boys’ track team has had so much success in the past, and hopefully in the foreseeable future.
Lawrence, the longtime coach of the boys’ track team, gave high praise to Watson.
“When you have a great assistant, that’s when you can bring the team to a whole new level. And that’s what we have with [Malcolm],” he said.
“He’s a great guy, a great coach, and is the reason why we all love running so much,” captain Peter Elkind ’15 said.