Skip to main content

Seino to Step Down as Head Coach at Sendai Ikuei H.S. Following 12th-Place Finish

http://www.kahoku.co.jp/news/2012/01/20120119t14025.htm

translated and edited by Brett Larner

On Jan. 18 Junichi Seino, 27, head coach of Sendai Ikuei High School's ekiden team, announced that he intends to resign from both his position as coach and as a member of the school's teaching staff following the completion of the academic year at the end of March.

At the Dec. 25 National High School Ekiden Championships in Kyoto, Sendai Ikuei H.S. was one of the favorites for the win but finished only 12th.  According to a source connected with the situation, following the race Seino took full personal responsibility for the team's poor performance. The school proposed a plan under which previous head coach Takao Watanabe, under whose leadership Sendai Ikuei won six national titles including the still-standing course record with ace Samuel Wanjiru, would return to take over with Seino remaining to work in tandem with him.  Seino flatly rejected the proposal.  Parents of the team's current members protested the school's plan and strongly asked him to remain in his current capacity, but Seino replied with his resignation.  "What they've suggested is unbelievable and disrespectful to the others involved.  I cannot accept it," Seino said.

Seino is a local, a native of nearby Zao, Miyagi.  As a sophomore at Sendai Ikuei H.S. he was a member of its National High School Ekiden champion team as well as one of the ten men on Juntendo University's Hakone Ekiden winning team as a senior there.  Following his graduation from Juntendo in 2007 he returned to Sendai Ikuei to become assistant coach under Watanabe.  He became head coach a year later in April, 2008 when Watanabe resigned to become the personal coach of Sendai Ikuei graduate and women's junior 10000 m national record holder Megumi Kinukawa.  In Seino's first year as head coach Sendai Ikuei's boys team finished 2nd at the National High School Ekiden Championships.

Following his departure Seino intends to continue his coaching career at a different high school.  Sendai Ikuei's team has roughly thirty members.  If any of the students express the wish to follow Seino and change high schools with him the school administration will respect their decision.  With regard to the situation having come to the point of Seino leaving the school, Sendai Ikuei H.S. principal Takehiko Kato declined to be interviewed by the Kahoku Newspaper, saying that he is too busy with overseeing construction of the school's new Miyagino campus and other responsibilities.

Comments

Bruce said…
This really points out how high school sports (at least track and field) in Japan operate much like collegiate sports in the USA. Would be interesting to know whether other countries have such pressure on high school coaches to do well and whether they allow athletes to freely move to another school to follow their coach.

Most-Read This Week

Kisaisa Wins Second-Straight Yosenkai Half Marathon in 1:00:44, Komazawa University Averages Ten Men Under 1:03

The Hakone Ekiden Yosenkai is the qualifying race for Japan's most prestigious road race, the Jan. 2-3 Hakone Ekiden. University men's teams in the Tokyo area that didn't make the top ten at Hakone the year before square off in Tokyo's Showa Kinen Park with teams of up to twelve. The top ten score, their cumulative times determining the team's placing with the top eleven teams advancing and high-placing individuals from schools that don't make the cut rounded up to form a select team.

The Yosenkai has long been the world's #1 20 km road race by a wide margin, with winning times among the fastest in the world for the distance and the same kind of incredible depth seen at November's Ageo City Half Marathon and March's National University Men's Half Marathon. In light of changes in the IAAF's ranking system and the level of performance at the Yosenkai, this year organizers took the historic step of changing it from its traditional distance to …

The Kawauchi Counter

Yuki Kawauchi's 2018 race results: Jan. 1: Marshfield New Year's Day Marathon, U.S.A.: 2:18:59 - 1st - CR
Jan. 14: Okukuma Road Race Half Marathon, Kumamoto - 1:03:28 - 7th
Jan. 21: Yashio Isshu Ekiden, Saitama: 1:01:03 - 1st - ran entire 20.0 km ekiden solo and beat all 103 teams of 6 runners each
Jan. 28: Okumusashi Ekiden First Stage (9.9 km), Saitama - 29:41 - 6th
Feb. 4: Saitama Ekiden Third Stage (12.1 km), Saitama - 36:54 - 4th
Feb. 11: Izumo Kunibiki Half Marathon, Shimane - cancelled due to heavy snow
Feb. 18: Kitakyushu Marathon, Fukuoka - 2:11:46 - 1st - CR
Feb. 25: Fukaya City Half Marathon, Saitama - 1:04:26 - 1st
Mar. 4: Kanaguri Hai Tamana Half Marathon, Kumamoto - 1:04:49 - 12th
Mar. 11: Yoshinogawa Riverside Half Marathon, Tokushima - 1:05:50 - 1st - CR
Mar. 18: Wan Jin Shi Marathon, Taiwan - 2:14:12 - 1st
Mar. 24: Heisei Kokusai University Time Trials, Saitama
              5000 m Heat 4: 14:53.95 - 1st
              5000 m Heat 6: 14:36.58 - 2nd
           …

Comparing D1 Pre-Nationals and the Hakone Ekiden Qualifier

With both American and Japanese university students well into their fall seasons, two major events took place Saturday. Near Madison, Wisconsin, the D1 Pre-Nationals cross-country meet and in Tachikawa, Tokyo the Hakone Ekiden Qualifier half marathon. At Pre-Nats men ran 8 km on a looping XC course with a maximum elevation difference of around 30 m. The field was split into two main races, Cardinal and White, with a total of 69 teams, and an additional Grey race handling some overflow. Teams ran up to seven members, with the top five scoring on cumulative placing. A total of 474 athletes finished the two main races, with five DNF.

At the Hakone Ekiden Qualifier, known as the Yosenkai, the distance was lengthened from 20 km to the half marathon distance this year, on a paved net-uphill course with a maximum elevation difference of about 20 m, most of that in the hilly final 8 km through Showa Kinen Park. 39 second-tier teams fielded up to twelve runners, with the top ten scoring on cu…