If you ever need to find security guard Harold Warren, a Patriots’ sports event might be your safest bet. Warren, in his second year at this school, not only serves as an assistant coach for the indoor and outdoor track and field teams, but also frequents cross country, football and basketball games. Oh, and baseball is on the agenda for the spring. In just over a year, Warren has perhaps become our school’s closest thing to a superfan.
Warren’s love for sports traces back to his college days, when he developed a passion for track and field that never left him. At Buffalo State College, he ran on the school’s indoor and outdoor track teams in the 60-, 100- and 200-meter events. Years later, Warren helped coach the track and field teams at Gaithersburg when his daughter was going through the program.
Though Warren enjoyed his time as an assistant coach, he took time off coaching until coming to this school last year. Track coach Jonathan Thomas, who worked alongside Warren at Gaithersburg Middle School, brought Warren onto the track and field coaching staff. Though it took some time for Warren to get up to speed with the training and culture of the team’s sprinting program, his addition has boosted the team’s culture and performance.
“He’s someone that everyone feels good about having around because of his personality and he’s all around a good person,” Thomas said. “He is willing to do any and everything to help me out, to make sure all the athletes are prepared for their meet. He adds a definite supportive personality to the team.”
In describing his coaching style, Warren refers to a balance between having fun and rigorous training. Another distinctive component to his style is his investment in relationships with all of his athletes, not only in sprinting but across track and field disciplines. “He’s always giving encouragement for as many athletes as he can and is always yelling out advice during races and workouts,” junior Nicole-Antoinette Urbina-Ruiz said. “It’s really refreshing to have a coach that really goes out of their way to give as many athletes specific tips and advice on how to improve their race or workouts.”
His first year has included loads of memories, but one stands above the others. Warren calls the state championship for outdoor track and field, which included performances from the team’s 4×200- and 4×800- meter relays, his proudest moment as a Patriot coach. “My daughter was there in 2000,” Warren said. “Going back to the state meet was something, to see the kids work hard and doing the best they can. The results can differ at times, but just to see the kids happy is great.”
If you can’t find Warren at one of our school’s sporting events, local middle schools would be your next best option. Each week, Warren works with students at Gaithersburg and Roberto Clemente Middle Schools through a mentoring program. Like his coaching role in track and field, Warren aims to instill solid morals and character in the students and provide relationships in which students can open up. “I get a big bang out of that,” Warren said.
Warren has seen students he has worked with at Gaithersburg grow and succeed through their high school years, and some of these students will compete against the Patriots in basketball this season. When asked if he has split loyalties between his former and current schools, Warren does not hesitate: “I can root for kids, but overall, I gotta root for Wootton, my team. I got the ‘W’ all the way, oh yeah. No question.”