On Tuesday, during a weekly team “mind-set” meeting, Missouri head track and field head coach Dr. Rick McGuire was presented with the Mick Deaver Memorial Award.
The award, given to McGuire by Shawn Deaver, the son of the late Mick Deaver, honors a member of the MU staff, athletic or otherwise, who exemplefies Deaver’s concern for fostering good relations with students.
At the time of his death in 1980 in an automobile accident, Major Mick Deaver was the associate director of the MU Police Department. Along with the award, he is commemorated in the naming of Mick Deaver Memorial Drive that leads to the Hearnes Center and Mizzou Arena.
Although McGuire said he knew this week’s team meeting would be different than most, he said he was completely surprised by the welcomed interruption. McGuire said the original plan was for athletic director Mike Alden to come in and speak to the athletes.
“I was expecting Mr. Alden was coming to a regular Tuesday mind-set meeting to have his once a season talk with the team,” McGuire said. Instead, Alden was in on the surprise.
“He got me,” McGuire said.
Through it all, McGuire displayed humility.
“It’s a very nice award and it’s a tremendous honor to be selected for it,” he said. “It’s humbling, and certainly very nice. It comes as a nice surprise.”
For McGuire, in the midst of his 23rd season with the Tigers, his entire career has been about the students.
“I’ve known for nearly all of those years that track is not what’s important,” he said. “The kids doing track are what’s important.”
The award best fits McGuire’s coaching philosophy, which centers on the personal growth of his athletes.
“My purpose in life, my professional mission, is clearly focused on winning kids with sport, not the traditional model of winning sport with kids.”
Distance coach Jared Wilmes attributes his own personal coaching successes to following McGuire’s example.
“I think it starts with the head coach and the philosophy he brings,” Wilmes said. “I hope I reiterate that, and display it on a daily basis.”
Shawn Deaver said he was proud to present McGuire with the award, and knew that his father would be proud as well. Deaver went on to describe McGuire as not only a paragon in student-staff relations, but also an ambassador of the university.
As an ambassador, McGuire has held several important positions on the national track and field scene. In 1983, he founded a sport psychology program for USA Track and Field, which he led for 20 years. According to McGuire, the program has grown to include 34 sport psychology professionals, all volunteer, successful in their aim of using the mind to better performance, preparation and enjoyment of the sport.
McGuire adds the Mick Deaver award to a long list of accomplishments, which include having recently been elected as the vice president of the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Association, previously serving as the president of the Missouri Track and Cross Country Association, and serving as a staff member for nine United States National Track and Field teams.