Cully Doyle knows a thing or two about winning championships.
He is a two-time Class A state champion in cross country with the individual gold medal in the 1996 state meet and a team state championship in 1997. Doyle competed at Medina.
“I was blessed to have great coaches in Greg Harbor and Richard Mims when I was in high school,” Doyle said. “We were like a family. I want to build a family of trust at Gonzales like we had at Medina when I was an athlete, and at my other coaching stops.”
Doyle, now the head cross country coach, head girls track and field coach and girls athletic coordinator at Gonzales, wants a family atmosphere similar to what he had at Medina as an athlete and Medina Valley and Hutto as a coach. He comes from Class 4A Hutto where he spent three years and led the Lady Hippos to a team district championship last season in girls track and field.
“I still wonder sometimes how we won district last year (at Hutto),” Doyle said. “There were nine teams in our district and a lot of great athletes from some of the other schools, but we were able to get points in the field events and distance events to help us along the way.”
Doyle enters his ninth year in coaching — eighth as a head coach — with Gonzales being his fourth stop. He started his career in Burnet in 2003-04 before taking the head cross country and girls track and field post at Medina Valley, where he stayed until 2009.
Following his five-year stint at Medina Valley, where he guided the Lady Panthers to three consecutive track and field district championships, Doyle moved to Hutto where he held the same positions for the last three years. He replaces Jill Cox at Gonzales.
One thing Doyle is big on is numbers. He saw an average of 41 athletes – boys and girls – participate in the first week of cross country practices.
“My sports (cross country and track and field) are numbers sports,” Doyle said. “The more kids you have on your team, the better chance you have of winning championships. We had 64 girls in our track program at Hutto and that made a big difference. We had a 30-point lead going into the second day of the (District 16-4A) meet.”
Doyle is pleased with the turnout so far for cross country practice. But he hasn’t reached the desired number of participants in his program.
“I want to get 50 to come out for cross country,” Doyle said. “I’m going to get to 50, I’m determined.”
In addition to running the girls athletic program, girls track and field and cross country programs, Doyle also oversees the junior high cross country program. He wants to do more than just have success at the high school level.
“I helped out with AAU programs at Medina Valley and Hutto, and took kids to national meets every year,” he said. “I want to do the same thing at Gonzales. I want kids to run, but I also want them to have fun with running.”
Doyle has seen several athletes from various sports come to his practices. Football, volleyball, baseball and basketball players have come to Doyle’s practices and even a cheerleader or two.
“I can participate in cross country because the practices won’t conflict with cheer practice,” sophomore Nicki Schauer said. “It will also make me a better cheerleader.”
Schauer pointed out that cross country practice will take place before school each morning, and cheer practice takes place during school hours. Freshman Valeria Aguayo also is excited about her first experience with high school cross country.
“It (high school cross country) will be more challenging than junior high, but I’ll be ready to go,” Aguayo said. “The intensity is higher in high school meets, and people get better with each race.”
One thing that helps Doyle relate to his athletes so well is his experiences as a high school athlete. Although it’s been 15 years since his last cross country meet, Doyle still has that same competitive desire as a coach.
“I still remember the state meet my senior year (1997-98),” he said. “I hobbled to the starting line on crutches and handed my crutches to the coach so I could run.”
Having won the individual state championship a year earlier in the 1996 Class A boys meet, Doyle was determined to help his team win state. He tore the plantar fasciitis in his right foot in the district meet that year, and had to stay off of his foot until the region meet.
Doyle and his Medina teammates made it to state following the region meet, which he ran in similar fashion by hobbling to the starting line on crutches before handing the crutches to his coach. He had to stay off of his foot prior to the state meet as well that year, and he helped the Bobcats claim the team championship in 1997.
One thing Doyle is quick to point out is the simplicity of his workout. He said there’s nothing “magical” about it.
“My workouts are just following regimens,” he said. “Kids have to follow a routine or regimen to be successful. You do the work, you’ll get results.”
Doyle is doing everything he can to increase the participation in cross country and girls track and field. Although it’s his first year at Gonzales, he feels pretty confident about the future.
“If these kids want to be better athletes, they need to run cross country,” Doyle said. “It gives you endurance and stamina for all sports from volleyball to baseball. If the kids will buy into my system, we will be successful here in Gonzales.”
And win some championships along the way.