St. Philip track coach Jeff Minier built his championship program around a simple philosophy.
“Track is a team sport, not an individual sport.”
Recent health issues have shown Coach Minier he’s a member of the BCACS family, not just a BCACS coach.
Coach Minier began suffering tremors last March. A barrage of doctors ran a barrage of tests, but they had no answers. Meanwhile, the 2017 track season was underway. Since this team included his own children (Tim, Class of 2017, and Gabby, Class of 2020), Coach Minier decided to let everyone know.
“I told them, ‘I don’t know what’s going on, but by God, we are here to run track, and we’re not here to worry about this stuff,’” Coach Minier said.
The assistant coaches and team captains took on more responsibility and St. Philip earned their fourth division, third league, and first regional championships. The tremors, however, continued. The Minier family couldn’t help but worry.
Coach Minier decided to go to the Mayo Clinic over Thanksgiving Break. As his appointment approached, his BCACS family mobilized.
The high school said a Rosary at the Grotto, each class leading a decade for Coach Minier’s health.
“Jeff has done so much for our kids,” St. Philip Principal Vicky Groat said. “He’s always pushing them to be better, not just as athletes but as young men and women.”
“I found it very humbling that anyone would think that highly of me to want to do something,” Coach Minier said. “I will take all the help I can get.”
A group of moms from the Class of 2017 contacted Penna Michele, longtime BCACS teacher, to make a prayer quilt from track t-shirts.
“Penna is amazing,” Jeanine Winkler, one of the moms, said. “She put aside another project she was doing in order to do that.”
The elementary and middle school had an out-of-dress-code fundraiser to give the Miniers some spending money while at the Mayo Clinic. The money arrived with the quilt.
“That really threw [my wife and me] backward,” Coach Minier said. “We were dumbfounded that they would do anything. I don’t really have anything to do with the elementary and middle school.”
Mrs. Doyle’s first-grade class sent an additional gift while the Miniers were at Mayo.
“We made him a Rosary book letting him know that we’re thinking of him and offering him and his family up in prayer,” Mrs. Doyle said. “I had [the Minier] children here at school, and I think the world of him and Christy.”
The Rosary book was waiting when the Miniers returned.
“I don’t know who [the first-graders] are, and they probably don’t know who I am, but they took time out of their day to do something,” Coach Minier said. “That brought me back to the fact that I’m not just a coach at the high school and my kids aren’t just at a high school.”
“Once you come through our doors, even if you are only there for a year, you are part of the family,” Mrs. Groat said. “We wrap our arms around each other.”
The power of prayer has produced good news. The doctors have diagnosed Coach Minier with a functional movement disorder, a condition that responds well to physical therapy.
It’s a difficult track, but one he won’t run alone.