MEMBER SPOTLIGHT - “THEY CALL ME COACH” BY CRAIG DAY
After attending Virginia Tech University, 1977-1981, and before I started working at DIA in 1983, I was employed for two years in the “educational trenches” at my old high school – Falls Church High School (FCHS), Fairfax, Virginia. For the first year I was a substitute teacher, and during my second year I taught biology. It took two years for DoD to build up as part of President Reagan’s military initiative and in June 1983 I was selected for a position with DIA in the Military-Geography Branch (DB-4D) at Arlington Hall Station.
During my time at DIA I became known as the Military Geography subject matter expert (SME) for all things Cuba, Haiti and the Caribbean. In addition to working Cuba, my 22 years of experience in Latin America saw me working crisis management issues in Grenada and Suriname. I also spent a most memorable year at the NMJIC terrorism desk in the Pentagon during Desert Shield and Desert Storm. After 9/11, I worked in the Afghan Working Group in J2. My 31.6 year DIA career also included a year working as the DI Recruitment Representative to Personnel during DIA’s expansion in 2005 and concluded as a Staff Officer assigned to the Directorate for Intelligence for my last 7 years. What a wonderful opportunity it was to serve our great country, the military and Intelligence Community decision makers. Little did I know then I would come
back to FCHS after I retired from DIA and coach the shot-put and discus at my alma mater.
In early 2015, FCHS hired me as an assistant coach for the weight events in outdoor track. The pay is minimal but the rewards are priceless. The student athletes are vibrant and willing to learn. It is refreshing to be around them and it is an honor to be called ”Coach”. The large turnout for the shotput and discus program included five boys and seven girls. This is the largest number of students to participate in this program. We actually had to make a portable shot-put circle to properly accommodate the group.
My supervisor, who currently is the head track coach and assistant director of student activities, is just 27 years old. That is a lot of responsibility for someone his age. He appreciated the way I was able to interact with and motivate the student athletes and develop a high level of teamwork. By the end of the season all shot-put atheletes had increased their throws by at least five feet and the discus atheletes also had major improvements. Did I mention that I also threw the shot- put at FCHS? I am astonished that I still hold the shot-put record set in May 1977, just weeks before I graduated. It is a unique blessing from God that I have the privilege to coach athletes that could someday beat my record. OBTW, five of my returning team members are also in the orchestra. I get a kick out of telling folks that four girls are violinists and one is actually the first chair! What a privilege to attend their recitals and have them be happy to see me and shout out “Coach Day”.
I know the head coach is pleased with the program because he gave me a terrific performance appraisal at the end of the season and recommended that I be hired for the upcoming Winter Track season. I attribute much of my success as a coach at FCHS to the work ethics and integrity instilled in me by my Faith and by applying DIA’s core values throughout my government career.
I don’t know if I will have the honor of coaching the student who will eventually break my record but, if I am afforded that privilege, it would only be the icing on the cake ... being called coach by these young people is the highest honor. I wish my fellow DIAA friends all the best in their retirements and a blessed Thanksgiving! Craig Day
Defense Intel Alumni Association PO Box 354, Charlotte Court House, VA 23923