Cascade’s new cross country coach is not new to Cascade High or Cougar cross country. It has been a full circle for Phil Kauder, Cougar lettermen and Iowa track and field hall of fame legend.

“At age 60 being born and raised in Cascade my whole life — it means a lot to me. I ran for the program. I supported the program by putting on road races and other activities, helped at meets hosted by Cascade, and was a volunteer coach for Cascade for 25 years.”

The Cougars’ season begins Aug. 24 and Kauder is excited to return to the helm of a program.

“I love to give back to the sports that gave me many opportunities in life. Health, a sport I was competitive at, friends, people from other schools I met, traveling — so to be able to turn that back into an experience for other young Cascade area runners is a valuable goal to keep on the board.”

Kauder has an eye for what makes a good cross country athlete.

“A person who likes to run, or wants to get something out of it. Some athletes do it merely to get in shape for other sports. An athlete who is honest about what they are there for.”

When asked how he measures success, Kauder responded, “Success is measured usually by getting to state, winning or being the fastest by the media and most people. Improvement everyone can see from the first meet ‘til the end of the season whenever that is.”

Before this turn at coaching, Kauder was activities director at Cascade High School for 14 years. In 1999, he left to become the director of activities at the Anamosa State Penitentiary for 18 years. He wore many hats in that role from the mailroom to the recreation department.

“Yes, we had some very good athletes in there, back in their days. Golden Gloves boxers, college basketball players, guys from state high school championship baseball teams, weightlifting champions, you name it.

“We did a couple of charity runs, the one for Camp Courageous the inmates could run three miles or 10 miles, and they had staff pledge them. So it was a win, win and a good thing. Many inmates went above and beyond training and chasing staff around to pledge them. I was there a couple of years helping and decided to ask if I could run with the inmates one Sunday that we did the event.

“After that year the inmates realized this old guy can still run, so a few tried to beat me or race me the next few years that I ran with them. I did have quite a few ask for different kinds of running information and running tips. Which again is nice to give back to those that enjoy the sport of running. Early on as a coach as well as working at the prison with the inmates I learned there never is a bad question. If one person asks the question more people are probably wishing they did ask it as well. Be as easy to understand in explaining it, and then always offer help that makes sense.

“This over the years I feel has been a most valuable tool in coaching — always make sure the athletes and the parents know they can ask whatever question they might have and I will answer or find someone that knows the answer and get it for them.”