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OU alumnus coaches, studies for MBA

By Stacy Gorton
On September 14, 2010

With multiple awards and six broken records, Justin Garrard has his fair share of good memories of his time at Ottawa University.

Garrard said that of all his accomplishments he is most proud of being named All-American Marathon Runner in 2009 as well as Academic All-American.

"Running has definitely taught me persistence," he said. "To be successful in running you have to put in hard work and effort. You can't really coast in running, you have to work to improve and do better."

Since graduating from OU in 2009, Garrard has taken a position at the university as a graduate assistant for the university's cross country and track department.

He said he will have the position at least a year but he could be eligible for a second year also.

Garrard is also working to complete his MBA in Business Administration through OU.

"Hopefully I'll get into the world of coaching whether it is here or someplace else," he said. "If not I might use my business degree to teach or work in the business world."

Graduating hasn't stopped Garrard from running. He said he runs between five and six days a week but some of those days he does more than one run, averaging eight times a week. He said he has different runs for different days but he is not sure how many miles he averages a week.

"I couldn't ask for a nicer, genuine person," Head Cross Country and Track Coach Kirk Wren said. "It shows a Kansas kid that worked his tail off both athletically and academically, and while he did it he got a quality education and some really cool memories."

Wren said Garrard's success could be really great for the university in that it could attract student athletes and provide them with a good mentor.

Jake McMillian, junior, said he met Garrard his freshman year when he joined the cross country team.

"He was the top runner and I ran with him every day," McMillian said. "From an athletic perspective he was a mentor.

How many people do you know that can balance school, athletics and all the clubs he participated in?"

McMillian said that Garrard's influence was felt beyond athletics.

"I think, ‘who wouldn't want to be coached by a nationally ranked athlete?'" McMillian said. "He's an awesome guy, he's a smart guy and he's a good friend so he's there on so many different levels."

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