- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 19, 2003

Scott Raczko, the high school coach who gained fame for mentoring track star Alan Webb, said he will resign when the cross country season concludes next month.

“I thought I’d move on,” said Raczko, 31, in his sixth year of coaching cross country and track and field at South Lakes High School in Reston. “I need to spend more time at work [running his Metro Run & Walk store] and coaching Alan.”

Raczko said he sent his resignation to South Lakes athletic director Pat Henthorn a week or so ago.

“It was definitely my decision to resign,” said Raczko, who was the 2001 Nike Youth Coach of the Year. “Definitely. There’s only so much time in the day.”

Henthorn confirmed Raczko’s resignation in a telephone interview Friday. Asked for details, she said, “It’s a personnel issue and I’m not going to comment on it,” then hung up.

There is speculation that Raczko’s resignation may not have been voluntary. According to numerous sources, Raczko got himself in trouble with a member of his girls team at a cross country invitational in North Carolina two weeks ago. Sources say that Raczko, known to be volatile at times, was angry with the girl after she finished her race at the Hagan Stone Cross Country Classic in Greensboro. She reportedly had to return to Reston immediately after her race and opted not to return with the team.

Sources said the girl unintentionally left her running gear at the meet, and Raczko threw it in the trash. The purported incident, reported to school officials, might have led to Raczko’s resignation.

Raczko yesterday denied the incident, adding, “I have no [further] comment.” Contacted yesterday, the girl refused to confirm or deny the incident.

Raczko took the job as purchaser at Metro Run & Walk two years ago after he left Footsteps of Reston on unfriendly terms with owner Paul Zink. Raczko was manager of the running store also but was heavily focused on Webb’s meteoric high school senior year.

Before he joined South Lakes, Raczko was forced out of a coaching position at Arlington’s Bishop O’Connell High School in the mid-1990s after parents claimed he displayed erratic behavior. He then coached at Oakton High before coming to South Lakes.

“I think he wears out his welcome wherever he goes,” one source said. “He can really ride his kids hard and his personality skills don’t always go over very well, especially with the girls on his teams.”

Calling all women — The First Ever Marathon for Women Over 40 has been scheduled for Central Park in New York City on March21. Information, 212/860-4455; www.moremarathon.com.

Retired — Former area road racing king Dave McCormack was spotted running at Wakefield Park in Springfield. The good news is that he finally is back for good from his post in Saudi Arabia after a multi-year stint during which he said much of his training was done on the sand.

The bad news is that the 42-year-old former George Mason University track star said his racing days are over after a series of leg injuries.

“Now I just run for fitness,” the fit-looking but hobbling McCormack said last weekend.

End notes — The D.C. Race for the Cure again ranked as the largest race in the United States, based on total finishers. The cancer fundraiser nipped the Lilac Bloomsday Run 12K in Spokane, Wash., 46,953 to 45,795. … Georgetown grad and former top-ranked American miler Steve Holman was successful in his marathon debut. He ran a respectable 2:30:47 at the Twin Cities Marathon in St. Paul/Minneapolis on Oct.5, passing through the midpoint in 1:14:15 and ending in 26th place, some six seconds behind women’s winner and fellow marathon rookie Blake Russell. … Lisa Thomas, 27, of Alexandria had a huge day in Chicago last weekend, nailing a 2:54:30 time and honing in on an Olympic trials qualifying time of 2:48.

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