During his 47 years teaching and coaching in Watertown, Tom Wittenhagen impacted hundreds of students, and his commitment will be recognized by the Massachusetts State Track Coaches Association.
“Coach Witt,” who retired during the last school year, received word recently that he will receive the 2019 MSTCA Lifetime Achievement Award. He was nominated by Hall of Fame coach Matt Carr.
“Mr. Wittenhagen is in the lofty company of James Kalperis, Bill Jennings, among other cross country and track legends in Massachusetts. He will be honored at our MSTCA Awards Banquet this Spring,” the MSTCA announcement said.
For nearly half a century, Wittenhagen either taught science or coached track in Watertown, or both at the same time.
“The MSTCA Lifetime Award validates my lifetime commitment to the students/athletes of Watertown,” Wittenhagen said. “After a very good track career at at Northeastern University I came to Watertown with a cock sure naïve attitude of future success in track and field under my guidance.”
He said coaching was time consuming, but also very rewarding.
“I am very proud of the accomplishments and successes of the teams and individuals I coached,” Wittenhagen said. “These successes include numerous top five team finishes in (MIAA) Div. 4 and 5 Track and Cross Country Championships. Individually Watertown has had many Divisional and State Champions.”
The list of championship athletes includes Emily Koufos in cross country; and Mange Camara, Nick Goodman, Austin Lin, Nathan Wilson-Braun, Ryan Quinn, Mark Parsekian and Elliott Fontaine in indoor and outdoor track.
For new coaches, Wittenhagen said that they should know “the rewards and satisfaction a coach gets are numerous.”
“From watching insecure freshman become confident mature seniors to getting to know their wonderful, supportive families,” Wittenhagen said. “I’ve had a wonderful time coaching for all these years and in retirement I can reflected on the great luck I had by being hired by Watertown back in 1972.”
Wittenhagen wil be honored at the MSTCA Awards Banquet in the spring.