Though both elite runners in their own right, Darren
Jermyn and Dick Moss were certainly not about to ever
challenge the members of the 1996 Canadian Olympic 4×100-metre
relay team — at least not in a sprint.
Yet it seems fair to say the current coaching transition
with the Laurentian Voyageurs cross-country team, as Moss
hands the baton over to Jermyn, is every bit as efficient
and seamless as the gold medal-winning Canucks who filled
an entire country with pride a quarter-century ago. That
will tend to happen when the incoming coach is not only
a protege of his well-respected predecessor, but is also
among those who most appreciates everything that Dick
Moss has to offer.
“There is no better individual coach who I know,
who I have ever interacted with,” said Jermyn, who
has worked side by side with Moss for the past 20-plus
years, both with the university team as well as with the
Track North Athletic Club delegation.
“First and foremost, he always has the utmost concern
for his athletes’ overall well-being. The way that
he cares for his athletes, it’s not just about their
running career, but their lives as a whole.”
While there is no doubt that the ability to build a very
special athlete-coach bond has always been at the base
of the success Moss has enjoyed, it would all be for naught
if his technical expertise was not on par with his impressive
“I’ve never seen anyone be able to manipulate
as many training schedules for individuals the way that
he can,” said Jermyn. “A lot of coaches resist
doing that. He taught me that you can modify things. It
all adds up to a tremendous amount of respect that people
have for him, just because of the way that he treats people:
coaches, meet directors, officials, all the same as his
athletes, always professional. “His background as
an elite runner and 40-plus years of coaching gives him
somewhat legendary status.”
That might sound like awfully big shoes to fill, but
countless are those who believe Darren Jermyn is just
the man to do it, without a hiccup, and not just because
of the fact the two have worked so closely together for
more than two decades. This is every bit as much about
the person that Jermyn is, one cut from very much the
same cloth as Moss.
Still, there is a need to carve out his own niche, adapting
to an always-changing environment within the world of
“The core science hasn’t changed much, but
our approach to racing has changed a little bit,”
Jermyn suggested. “We used to race maybe six or
seven times before OUAs; now it’s usually maxed
at four races.
“And the volume of training has come and gone.”
This graduate of Lasalle Secondary School and both Western
and Laurentian University breaks down the eras as follows:
1970s = high volume; 1980s/1990s = quality over volume;
2000s = volume climbs a little bit; current = right in
the middle of all of the above.
With Moss still in the fold — “Dick will
still be involved, assisting with the university team,
coming to practices and lending his assistance, providing
some input” — the LU cross-country coaching
staff will now also feature former OFSAA, NCAA and Canadian
marathon champion Kaitlyn Toohey, who has been helping
out for two years now.
Thanks to a changing landscape, their efforts will be
even more concerted than before, with the men’s
and women’s teams no longer training separately.