“The relationships we form is the reason why we do what we do.”
In the final episode of the Nebraska Wesleyan 4×4 7PEAT series, we sit down with the man that created it all, Director of Track & Field/Cross Country, Ted Bulling. Coach Bulling has been coaching at Nebraska Wesleyan for 40 years and has shaped it into the program that it is today. With over 800 All Americans, 139 National champions, and 65 Top 10 Team finishes across Track and Cross Country, Ted has made a legacy not only at Nebraska Wesleyan, but in Division III.
However, our conversations never turned to the numbers. We focused on the type of person Ted is and the coach he wanted to be when he started 40 years ago. Ted began his career as a school teacher and wanted to have an impact on his students’ lives. The impact on student-athletes’ lives made that transition when he got into coaching. He admits he is a competitive person and loves getting them to perform, but actively helping his student-athletes become better people is his main coaching goal.
Through our conversation, it’s clear Ted cares for every single student-athlete in his program. Ted provided his perspective on his career and the 7PEAT. He said he always respects his alumni as to not rank anyone/moment, but this 7PEAT was special to him. You’ll learn why as you listen but it goes back to one common theme of Ted: building positive relationships.
We hope you enjoy the series finale with Coach Bulling. This was a blast to put together and share with everyone.
As mentioned in the beginning of the show, we’re going to take a quick break to prepare for the Cross Country season. Stay tuned.
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On his impact from his coaching mentor, John Homon:
“With John’s influence, I could see how much impact a person can have on the life of a student-athlete.”
On getting into coaching:
“You have to get into (coaching) for the right reasons. As much as I love helping young women and men to run faster, throw farther, jump farther/higher, if that’s the only reason to get into coaching (competitiveness), I would advise against it. It’s gotta be more than that. Working with the young people makes it worth while.”
On having an impact on other:
“To have any an influence, possibly, even if it’s a little bit on their (student-athlete) life, that’s what its truly all about. I needed it to be more than the competitiveness for it to be my life’s work.”
On why the fourth title meant a lot:
“The fourth one proved to me we could do it without that same foursome. It meant a little more because it was more about the program. It wasn’t just a one time deal. And I thought: Okay, can we keep doing this now?”
On making sure the rest of his team got attention:
“I wanted to make sure that it (the 4×4) wasn’t the focus of the program. We had over 100 kids that needed and deserved the focus from myself and our coaching staff. I would go out of my way to not pay attention to make sure my time and attention would go around”
On building relationships:
“The relationships we form is the reason why we do do what we do.”
On going into the final of Title #7
“I didn’t need to say anything more. They knew what they needed to do”