By J. Ryan Casey
CLAIRE C. LAURENCE/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Freshman Bobby McCoy won the 60-meter dash in 6.88 seconds this past weekend, just shy of the school record 6.8 seconds he ran last week.
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
As if playing one sport wasn't hard enough, freshman Bobby McCoy has twice the challenge - he is a member of both the Arizona football and track and field teams.
Since his arrival on campus last summer, McCoy has been balancing a pretty rough schedule: classes, track and football.
"It gets tough," McCoy said of his hectic schedule. "Some days I'll come (to track practice), some days I'll go to football practice."
When McCoy came on his official visit for football, he visited the track team as well.
"I met coach (Fred) Harvey, and he brought me out to the track and told me about the team," he said.
Head coach Michael Stoops said that something that attracted McCoy to Arizona was the offer to play two sports.
"When we recruited him, we told him we'd make a schedule that was conducive for him to not only run track, but to be competitive," Stoops said.
Harvey, McCoy's track coach, said that the start of the process of recruiting athletes together coincided with the start of the Stoops era in Tucson.
"With (former Arizona head football coach John Mackovic), it wasn't as fluid a transition, if you will," Harvey said. "Mike Stoops' philosophy is that if there's an athlete who can truly benefit both teams, he wants that."
The two programs actually recruit together on occasion.
"The bottom line is this, football has 85 scholarships, and we have 12 and a half," Harvey said, referring to the track team's lack of scholarships.
"We staggered our recruiting accordingly," Stoops said, "and that was one of the things that appealed Bobby to this school: the ability to compete and play for two guys that wanted him equally as bad."
Although McCoy plays for both teams, Stoops said his role is clearly defined.
"He's not a track guy playing football - we consider him a football guy playing track. He's equally as talented in both sports."
Stoops gave his wide receiver a hard time when he heard that McCoy set the school record in the 60-meter dash, clocking a time of 6.80 seconds in Flagstaff Feb. 5.
"Somebody told me at the meet, and I was like 'no way.' I didn't believe them," said McCoy, who normally competes in the 400-meter race, in reference to the new record.
While McCoy, a Houston native, was surprised by his performance, Stoops said he was less than impressed.
"I said, 'Six-point-eight? That doesn't seem like a real great time to me, that don't seem very fast,'" Stoops said. "I told him, 'You get in the 6.5-range and come see me.'"
He was, of course, kidding.
"That just goes to show you his explosiveness," he added.
While playing for the two teams certainly has its drawbacks - read: lack of free time - it also has its benefits. The training McCoy receives in track helps to improve his speed on the football field.
"It helps to get me stronger," he said.
Stoops said that along with the physical advantages come mental benefits.
"Speed's good, and we're all about speed," Stoops said, "but it's also good for his confidence. To have success out there in track is going to help him in football as well."
Harvey said he recognizes the common link between the two sports.
"With track and field, it's about speed," Harvey said.
McCoy's schedule is a major concern of both his coaches.
"He's got to really manage his time well," Stoops said, "because what he's asked to do is almost double what any other normal athlete (is doing).
"That's already hard enough as it is on any athlete. To compete, to practice, to lift weights, to go to school, is very demanding, and Bobby's doing it for two sports," Stoops said.
McCoy takes all the practices, meetings and events that he must attend in stride.
"It's part of the experience," he said. "You get to go to new places, and meet new people."
This spring, with track season in full swing, McCoy's football teammates will begin spring practice. He will have to juggle his schedule to accommodate both sports.
"He's going to miss some practices, and some scrimmages, but that's the agreement we made," Stoops said.
McCoy considers his mom, who raised him as a single parent, as his inspiration in life.
"She's been through a lot, and that motivates me," he said.
Stoops said one of McCoy's biggest strengths is his competitive nature.
"Bobby's about winning. Hopefully that will translate on the football field as well."
McCoy figures to be a big part of the football team next season as a redshirt freshman.
"If he continues to improve, then he'll be a major factor in what we do with our receivers," Stoops said.