BY DON HOHLER
PLYMOUTH — It is not by coincidence that the name Follett has shown up in the coaching ranks at Plymouth High School. The father-son track coaching duo of Mike and Jay Follett has been around Plymouth for a number of years but only this past season joined forces.
“It’s been great working with Dad,” Jay Follett said.
Jay Follett and his father were at Jesse Owens Stadium over the weekend tutoring two Plymouth boys’ relay teams and Derrick Beers, who advanced in the 200 meter dash.
Jay Follett was back in his home-town coaching at the Plymouth Middle School two years ago and then moved up to the varsity track job last season while continuing to work at the Middle School with coaching veteran Marty McKenzie.
“I kind of fell into the head coaching job,” he said. “That happening, it was a natural that I would seek the help of my father who probably knows the sport better than I do although I will never admit that.”
Mike Follett, 53, coached Jay at Plymouth High and when Jay went to Ashland College in the fall of 1999, Mike assisted Ashland coach Dave Smalley with the sprinters.
And Ashland was a community Mike Follett knew well.
He ran for Ashland High School and was a state qualifier in cross country, running for Smalley who was then at the high school.
“No claim to fame at Ashland,” Jay said. “I was non-scholarship, just enjoying running and it was nice to have Dad over there with me.”
Ironically, neither of the Follett’s teaches at Plymouth.
Jay is now a math teacher at Pioneer Vocational School, while his father retired this past year from Plymouth after teaching science for 35 years.
Jay Follett is elated at the numbers that came out for track this spring.
“Numbers are a huge asset because it creates competition,” he said. “And competition makes for running excellence. Marty (McKenzie) remarked that the year after Todd Smart won the high hurdles title in Columbus, he had something like 60 out. This year we had 31 boys and 14 girls in uniform, our best numbers in years. We even had issues with uniforms and that’s a nice problem to have.
“And the future is bright,’’ Jay added. “We have proven juniors back along with some sophomores who stepped up big this year. The freshmen class is thin but possibly success over the next couple years will draw more of them to the sport. Our junior high group is very talented so if we are down for a year or two, we will be right back up there in no time.”