ELKHART – Ellis Coon says he knew at the end of his sophomore year that he wanted to run collegiately.
Now. the Warsaw star has made his dream a reality.
Coon has made a verbal commitment to take his talents on to Temple University.
“I kind of knew when I went there a couple of weekends ago for my visit that I was going to Temple,” said Coon Tuesday night after an NLC meet versus Concord and Plymouth at Ox Bow Park. “I just had a gut feeling about it.”
Coon, the top runner for the No. 13 Tigers, felt a strong connection with first-year Temple coach James Snyder.
“We just clicked,” said Coon. “It was really a no-brainer for me. He knows what it takes to be on a national championship level as a runner and he’s a really charismatic guy.”
Coon helped lead the Tigers to a program best fourth place finish at the State Finals in 2012. He placed eighth overall at the State Finals in a time of 15:41. He has led the way this season with the graduation losses of stars Jake Poyner (now at Wake Forest) and Robert Murphy (now at Vincennes) from last year’s loaded lineup.
Coon has paced coach Jim Mills’ team to its third straight undefeated regular season in the Northern Lakes Conference. The Tigers capped another 7-0 league mark with dominating wins Tuesday night over the host Minutemen and the Pilgrims.
“Coach Snyder contacted me through Facebook back in January when he was still an assistant coach at Florida State,” explained Coon of the connection with the new Temple coach. “I went for a visit to FSU back during Spring Break.”
Coon choose Temple, a member of the newly-former American Athletic Conference, over Tulane.
“Tulsa is a more established cross country program, but Temple had everything else,” said Coon. “I chose it for the coach, the school, the academics. They also have a good freshman class coming in next year.”
Coon holds the school record with a time of 15:21 set in the Marion Invitational back on Sept. 7. He has bounced back this fall after missing most of his junior track season in the Spring due to a foot injury.
“This is a dream for me,” said Coon. “It’s definitely a blessing to be able to go on and run in college at Temple.”
Coon, who has just a handful of races left in his high school career, has high aspirations once he gets to the next level.
“I know I want to be at the NCAA National Meet and I would love to be an All-American,” concluded Coon.
Coon will lead the Tigers into the NLC Meet Saturday back at Ox Bow Park. The state tournament series for the senior star and his team begins on Oct. 15 with sectional action at Culver Academies.