Northampton sweeps MSTCA indoor coach of the year awards

Last modified: Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Massachusetts State Track Coaches Association released the winners of its coach of the year awards on Thursday and three local indoor coaches won.

Northampton swept the western Massachusetts honors as Angus Fisher won in his first season with the boys team and Brandon Palmer won for his work with the girls squad.

“It’s pretty cool,” Palmer said. “I think it kind of reflects the kind of team and community we have out in Northampton. It’s more about that than any of the credit I want to take.”

Fisher shared the boys award with Amherst Regional’s David Thompson. Northampton won the state Division 4 title, while Amherst won the state Division 3 title.

“It’s great to see that two of the best programs in the state are in western Mass.,” Fisher said. “The fact that we are rivals is pretty good too. It shows that there is competition out here.”

The MSTCA honored East, Central and West coaches for the 2014 outdoor track season, the 2014 cross country season and the 2014-15 indoor track season. Northampton became the first school in the state to have both indoor winners since the awards were first handed out in 1998.

It’s not the first time Northampton coaches won. Jim Clayton won the boys award in 2008, while girls coach Nate Kraft was recognized in 2009.

Thompson was named WMass indoor coach of the year in 2011. Amherst girls coach Chris Gould won the indoor and outdoor awards in 2013.

Palmer, Fisher and Thompson credited their awards to their athletes.

“I give all my credit to my athletes, because without my athletes there is no me,” Thompson said. “I say thank you to those guys for working hard for me. I appreciate what they do. I’m glad to be recognized.”

Added Palmer, “As coaches, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to make sure that we are coaching at the best ability that we can. I’m pretty cool with me and Angus taking the boys and girls sweep there. Dave and the whole Amherst squad deserves all the recognition they can get.”

Amherst won its fourth straight PVIAC boys indoor championship with Northampton finishing second. Following their state divisional titles, Amherst placed third, one point and place better than Northampton, at All-States.

During the preseason, Fisher thought he had a talented group, but they surpassed his expectations. “These kids put in so much work,” he said. “It’s great to know that we have success in the program.”

Amherst’s indoor season ended with top-five finishes by the 4x400 and 4x800 relays at New Balance Nationals. Six Hurricanes were named All-American.

“It feels good to finish on a high note,” Thompson said. “I think it gives us motivation going into the (outdoor) season.”

The Northampton girls finished second to Amherst at the PVIAC championship. The Blue Devils were sixth in Division 4.

Palmer shared the award with Westfield’s Linda Rowbotham.

Frontier Regional’s Bob Smith was named the WMass girls outdoor coach of the year for 2014, when his Red Hawks placed second at the District F&G Division 2 championship and third at the Division 2 West/Central championship. It was the second nod for Smith, who also won the outdoor award in 2011.

Sarah Moomaw can be reached at


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