Coaching is a life long goal for many. And for those that find their way into it there are many roads to get there. For some they follow the life of an athlete as far as they can and then end up teaching and coming right into the coaching ranks. For others it is a longer process as they chase dreams and business pursuits in the the private sector before finding their way back to the thing they love the most. For many guys, like Colan Sewell, finding your way brings you back where you belong. As a Coach on the football field and on the track he is right at home and having a huge impact.
We first met Colan Sewell through top WR recruit Trent Sewell who was at O’Dea High School at that time. He has since transferred to Bothell and was a leading receiver in the region last year earning offers to WSU and UCLA along the way. Getting to know Trent meant getting to know Colan. He adopted Trent as his own son after his Trent’s) biological father died. Part of being Trent’s Dad meant realizing what a talented kid Trent is and making time to help him realize his athletic potential as one of the best Track and Football prospects around.
Colan is currently the Sprint Coach at O’Dea High School and also coaches football at local camps and clinics. He currently is coaching Team Washington as they are known. A more star studded bunch you will not find. Together with Coach Sewell, a former sprinter and WSU Cougar, Team Washington has made waves across the nation at elite 7 on 7 Passing league tourneys.
Through Colan we have met many of Washington’s elite athletes and while football is our focus we could not help watching as his connection to the O’Dea track team has led to major inmprovements in the kids and the program. One of the most note worthy young men is 10th grader Tatum Taylor who we have also come to know is one of Sewell’s relatives. Tatum’s incredible rise as a 100 and 200 Meter leader had us wondering just how deep this family relationship goes with Sewell. Taylor’s 10.68 100 Meter burst this year was officially the 2nd fastest time overall this Track season and one of the elite sprints in the region.
Our Interview with Colan Sewell helped unravel some of the connections and the motivations behind the impacts he is having from his time coaching High School athletes.
Above; Colan Sewell in the Yellow with many of Washington’s Best Grid Iron Boys
Colan what is the connection between you, Tatum and Trent? Does your family have deeper roots to Track?
As far as our family tree goes, It’s actually more like a bush. While Trent is legally my son (I adopted him after his natural father died), his mother is my mother’s identical twin sister which i think makes him my cousin by relation and half-brother genetically? Tatum is my cousin by way of my sister on my dad’s side, however given his age, I just refer to him as my nephew 😉 One thing I will say is that regardless of family relation, I couldn’t be more proud of both those kids and I feel blessed to be a part of their lives!! Trent Sewell (Below) of Bothell HS
Our roots in track are not in genetics, but in relationships. My former wife, Francesca Green, is the sprint coach at University of Arizona and was an All-American at WSU in the mid 90’s. We still keep in touch and talk track often. I pick her brain about things she is doing down there training wise that I can implement with the kids I have up here. She’s probably the best female sprint coach in the country. I also keep in touch with another good college friend, Elainee Richardson, who is the sprint coach at WSU. She led the WSU men to the 4×100 relay crown at the Pac-10 championships a couple weeks ago. The track world is pretty small and now that I am in the coaching ranks I find that the six degrees of separation is really only about 1.5 given that I have either competed against or personally know most of the folks from back in the days when Fran and I were competing.
Coach what have you done to improve these kids speed? At O’Dea Tatum Taylor and guys like Jayshawn Jordan have made hude gains. Why are they progressing so well?
It’s three things…fundamentals, fundamentals, and fundamentals. Speed is all about getting from point A to point B in the least amount of time and when you break it down to its core elements. Speed is stride length times stride frequency. If you can improve either of those variables while keeping the other constant then it’s simple math…you WILL get faster. We literally walk through technical sprint form for 30 minutes EVERY day. It’s a crawl, walk, run approach to sprinting. Early in the season I don’t even let them “run”, unless they have shown me that they can “walk”…literally. I do video analysis of practice and utilize a laser timing system timing system to graph progress and identify holes in their race phases. I often make that analogy that it is like going to Basketball practice and shooting free throws every day…you will shoot higher free throw percentage if you make it mechanical. It’s a body motor movement that if done right with enough repetition, it will improve which in turn will improve length and frequency, and ultimately SPEED!
Break down Jayshawn and Tatum and any other athletes you have for where they are now and where they can be in the future as athletes/sprinters?
Jayshawn and Tatum have both progressed nicely over the past 16 months that they have been in our O’Dea sprint program. Jayshawn has been 10.7 this year and Tatum has been 10.68 fast. Another one is junior Kent McKinney who has been 11.0h in the 100m. If not for an illness and injury in the middle of the season he would be right there with the other two. The great thing is that they will all be back next year and we are building a good sprint bench with the few young guys who are on that trajectory to have times down there as juniors. Jayshawn is a really hard worker and never complains about anything you throw at him. Tatum is a tremendous competitor…a “gamer”…when the game is on the line he gets it done. Last week he was 10 meters behind in the 4×1 and reeled in the kid from Franklin.
Looking at Tatum specifically Coach. He is doing so well as a young guy. Where can he be track wise and football wise his Senior Year?
Tatum is a special kid, with HUGE upside. I think his first 100m was over 12 seconds last year and now he is poised to run 10.50 this year which is a huge improvement over one year (his fastest time last year was 11.3). That shows me he has more room for growth. In track, I honestly see him being able to challenge Hooker’s record and being a kid who could win the triple crown his Jr. and Sr. years. In terms of football, I think Monte is still moving him around to see where he best fits in his system. Also, if you look at him, he doesn’t quite pass the eye test in terms of looking like a big time D1-Football prospect, however that is actually an exciting thing for me in that I know once we get him in the weight room consistently and put another 20-30lbs on him over the next 2 years he is going to be one of the top prospects in the country when we are able match his football production numbers with his frame. He will be able to play on either side of the ball, so I see him projecting as a 3rd down type back who has good hands, or a corner back at the next level. (Tatum Taylor lft. and Jayshawn Jordan Rt from O’Dea pictures above)
Coach Sewell your a busy guy with a full time job as a VP of Sales for Microsoft. Gosh what all are you involved with outside of Microsoft? And could you give me a little more on your prep and collegiate back ground?
It’s pretty busy both inside AND outside of Microsoft. My day job is managing our sales relationships ($20M) with our key strategic hardware retailers on the West Coast like Amazon and Fry’s. Microsoft is a great company because they are really supportive of my work in the community and they even match my hours with donations to the non-profit organizations I coach with.
Over the past 4 years I’ve found myself gradually taking on more and more coaching duties outside of the office. Originally it just started off with me helping out with sprint starts at O’Dea and has grown into much more from there. I now am the sprint coach at O’Dea, DB instructor at Barton Football Academy, Head Coach for the Washington 7on7 select team, and various youth basketball and football teams through i9 sports.
I went to Wenatchee High School where I played basketball and ran track. I earned All Big Nine honors in basketball and was part of a team that went to state championships for the first time in 50 years. I was a three time Big Nine/GSL district champion in the 100m and I was a three time state finalist in the 100m. I went on to run track at Washington State University where I had the privilege to compete in the Pac-10 championship meet in the 100, 200, 4×100, 4×400. I Graduated Magna Cum Laude in Economics and went on to earn my Master’s degree in business also from WSU. After college I played semi-pro football (cornerback) for the Eastside Hawks (owned by former NFL Pro-Bowler Sam Adams) as well as the Spokane Nightmare and Wenatchee Valley Rams. At the Hawks I had the privilege to learn the defensive back position under the tutelage of NFL Pro-Bowlers Nesby Glasgow and Melvin Jenkins.
Where do you hope to go from here as a Coach? Football? Track?? Both??
At the end of the day I would like to get myself into a position financially where I can retire and coach full time. I think the high school ranks are probably the best for me as I think that’s where you can make the most difference in terms educating while helping build a foundation for future athletic growth. Ideally I would like to coach both track and football. I have told Monte Kohler (O’Dea Head Track, Football, and Athletic Director) that I want to take over for him when he retires in another 10 years.
Coach is there anything on Trent Sewell as far as Track or football that you wish to comment on?
He had a big disappointment in track last week as he pulled his hamstring in the 4×1 so we won’t be going to state in the 400 this year. He was #2 seed coming into the district meet with a 49.62 so he will be watching this weekend. There is a chance he will still run the 4×4 relay, but it’s very unlikely he will be able to go full speed. He had a pretty good season given he is carrying around all that extra muscle. I am hoping that this does not have a big impact on camp season as its going to be a busy June for Trent. The schedule includes, Oregon State, Oregon, UCLA, ASU, Arizona, Utah, Boise State, USC, Nike Training Camp, FBU Top Gun, and the Badger Sports National 7on7 in Dallas. Not to mention Bothell spring ball and team camp. If he can make it through that schedule, he can make it through any D-1 double day practices. ( Right; Colan with Cedric Dozier, Max Browne, and Michael Rector at a recent 7 on 7 Event)
A great interview with a very talented guy who had his time in the Sun as an athlete and who is not making a difference in the lives of all the young athletes he comes into contact with. It is great to see a Washington native stay home, compete, earn a scholarship, and stay around to give so much back to the community. We will keep in touch with Coach Colan Sewell and the many amazing young athletes that he has around him; those in and out of his family!