Coaches and Administrative Staff

2013nationalsThe volunteer coaching staff for The Asheville Lightning summer Track and Field program includes area Collegiate, High School and Middle School track coaches, Asheville Track Club members, and parents who have had track and field or cross country experience at the high school or collegiate level. The Asheville Lightning team is a 501C3 Not-For-Profit Organization, with the formal title of Asheville Lightning Youth Athletics, Inc. The team has a Board of Directors, Team Officers and an Executive Committee. A background check is done on all team coaches each year.

All Asheville Lightning coaches, as required by USATF, are required to have background criminal checks.

The coaching philosophy of the Asheville Lightning is that of USA Track &Field -“Athletes First, Winning Second” and has a number of goals that are encouraged by the United States Olympic Committee for teams that participate in youth sports. These include the well-being of athletes; good sportsmanship; and respect for opponents, rules, parents, coaches and officials.



Coach and Administration Contact List

Clarke, RichardHead Coach, Assistant Throws Coach423-834-6695Email
Chazotte, BonnieHead Administrator828-808-6722Email
Albrecht, GaryJumps Coach828-333-3705Email
Browning, WhitneyThrows Coach828-713-0383Email
Chazotte, TylerMulti-Events Assistant Coach828-808-6723Email
Dawson-Smith, CydSprints Coordinator, Webmaster828-273-6075Email
Koppe, CarrieAssistant Administrator (Club Membership & USATF Registrations)828-275-5407Email
Lee,TonySprints Coach828-651-0076Email
Meredith, CeceliaTeam Trainer (Distance), Racewalk Coach954-675-7167Email
Moraga, RuthHospitality Coordinator, Assistant Administrator828-275-4596Email
Myers, GaryAssistant Jumps Coach828-808-3178Email
Pantas, LeeFundraising Coordinator828-779-1569Email


Gary Myers

Assistant Coach-Jumps

Richard Clarke

Head Coach, Assistant Throws Coach

Sue Kania

Assistant Racewalk Coach

Tyler Chazotte

Assistant Coach - Multi-Events

Carrie Koppe

Assistant Administrator (Club Membership & USATF Registrations)

Ruth Moraga

Hospitality Coordinator, Assistant Administrator

Asheville Lightning Hospitality Coordinator since 2010.

Cecelia Meredith

Team Trainer Assistant Coach- Distance, Head Coach - Racewalk

Asheville Lightning assistant coach and team trainer since 2008.  USATF Level 1 Training/Coaching Experience: Licensed Massage Therapist for 25 years in Florida and North Carolina. She also specializes in sports rehabilitation, neuromuscular therapy, and active isolated stretching in which she has been leading exercise classes through the YMCA of WNC. Cecelia’s experience encompasses over 21,000 hours in rehabilitation, orthopedic technology (hospital and outpatient facilities), fitness, and certified personal training. Cecelia has served as a sports massage therapist for various professional and amateur athletes including the 1988 and 1996 Summer Olympics and the professional Lipton/Nasdaq Tennis Tournament from 1995-2000.

Tony Lee

Assistant Coach -Sprints & Jumps

Team Coach since 2013

Cyd Dawson-Smith

Sprints Coordinator, Assistant Coach -Sprints, Webmaster

Asheville Lightning coach since 2011. Coach Dawson-Smith ran track as a junior and senior in high school, and continued running for her first two years of college. She competed as a sprinter and long jumper, and was co-captain of her college women’s team. She has one child participating in the Asheville Lightning program, and enjoys bringing her experience and enthusiasm for the sport to the coaching staff.

Bonnie Chazotte

Multi-Event Coordinator/Head Administrator

Asheville Lightning coach since 2010. 2010, Coach Chazotte participated in Volleyball, basketball, softball, and track & field throughout high school. In track & field, she specialized in the high jump, long distance runs (1 mile and 2 mile), and short sprints (100m and 200m). She also participated in intramural sports while in college.

Whitney Browning

Throws Coordinator - Assistant Coach Throws

Assistant Track & Field Coach A.C. Reynolds High School, former Asheville Lightning member, All-American in Javelin.

Gary Albrecht

Jumps Coach

A USATF Level 1 Coach, Coach Albrecht has been an Asheville Lightning coach since 2005. He is also an assistant coach at Tuscola High School, Waynesville Middle School and other Waynesville area schools.

Lee Pantas

Fundraising Coordinator

Our team fundraising coordinator


Inactive and Former Volunteers

Bill AgrellaHead Coach, Head Distance CoachHead Coach of the Asheville Lightning 1997-2014 after previously serving as an assistant coach. An active runner who regularly participates in local road races, Coach Agrella has been coaching Junior Olympics since the late 1980's when he was first involved with the program in San Antonio, Texas and later with the Nebraska Cornhuskers Track Club. His coaching area of expertise is middle distance, distance and 4x800 relay teams.
Myrna HendrixTeam Treasurer
Jerry LindholmeThrows Coordinator, Assistant Coach - ThrowsThrows coach for Asheville Lightning since 2002 and assistant track coach at North Buncombe High School. Coach Lindholme has had numerous Asheville Lightning All-Americans in the throws.
Susan MooneyUniforms CoordinatorTeam Uniform Coordinator since 2008. Susan is also the mother of Lydia Mooney, team record holder in the Young Women's Hammer Throw.
Liz ChazotteAssistant Coach -RacewalkAsheville Lightning coach since 2013. Former Asheville Lightning team member who was an All-American in the 3000M Racewalk.
Robbie LipeHead Team AdministratorAssistant Team Administrator since 2007. Coach Lipe believes in the need to instill a love of running and athletics to form a balanced and healthy lifestyle for children. She has been around track and cross-country athletes since her high school days, and appreciates the dedication necessary to be an athlete, as well as the logistics required to have a successful track and field team.
Cindy HamiltonAssistant Coach, 6-8 year oldsAsheville Lightning coach since 2011. Cindy Hamilton been involved in running for over 20 years. She has run many races including about a dozen marathons for the enjoyment of running. Cindy has been a board member for the Asheville Track Club and brings a passion for running to Asheville Lightning.
Marijo SimpsonAssistant Coach -HurdlesAsheville Lightning assistant coach since 2004. Coach Simpson is also the former head track coach for the Hanger Hall Girls track team, and is hurdles coach for the Asheville High School Girl's Track & Field team.
Eric DawsonAssistant Coach - Sprints, JumpsSprints coach for Asheville Lightning since 2011. Ran track in high school. Top 3 in the state of New York for 3 years straight. 100 and 200M Dashes, 200m, sprint relays and long jump.
Brad LindholmeAssistant Coach -ThrowsFormer Asheville Lightning All-American in the throws and assistant coach for Asheville Lightning since 2009
Larry RhoadsAssistant Coach -SprintsCoached Middle School and High School Girls Track. Sprints & Long Jump
Gwen MusengwaAsst. Team AdminstratorAssistant Team Administrator since 2010. Gwen also has three children on the Asheville Lightning team.
Julia ChampionAssistant Coach -Distance, 6-8 Year oldsAsheville Lightning assistant coach since 2009. Assistant Coach for A.C. Reynolds Middle School Track Teams. Ran track in middle school, high school and college.
Daniel RoyerAssistant Coach -ThrowsAsheville Lightning assistant coach since 2008. Coach Royer is also a  throws coach for Tuscola High School. Competed in discus and shot put in high school.
Ricky CooperAssistant Coach -SprintsAssistant coach for the Asheville Lightning since 2008. Head coach for Cane River Middle School Boys and Girls Track Teams since 1994. Ran collegiate track (sprints) at Pembroke State University and Mars Hill College
Crystal GoureAssistant Coach -ThrowsAsheville Lightning Assistant Coach since 2009. Former Asheville Lightning  All-American in the throws and high jump. Team record holder in High Jump. Completed in college at UNCA 19999-2004 in throws, heptathlon, high jump and pole vault. Assistant track coach at UNCA 2004-2007. Crystal is also personal trainer affiliated with the Asheville YMCA.
Rocky CunninghamAssistant Coach -SprintsAssistant coach for the Asheville Lightning since 2009. Sprints coach for Asheville High School. Previously coached track & field at Ronald McNam HS (6 years) and Asheville Middle School (2 years). Coached Special Olympics (5 years). Has held multiple school records in the sprints during his competition years: Olympic High School -200M Dash (21.3), 400M Dash (48.5) records; South Carolina State University -100M Dash (10.18), 200M Dash (20.7), 400M Dash (45.8). Also ran on numerous national-class sprint relays in his college career. Member of the South Carolina State University track & field hall of fame.
Justin BellemeAssistant Coach -JumpsAsheville Lightning coach since 2007. Former collegiate high jumper at UNCA.
Suzanne LoarTeam PhotographerSuzanne's daughter Emily is also a hurdler on the Asheville Lightning team.
Winikay CaffreyHead Team AdministratorHead Team administrator for the Asheville Lightning 1997-2009.  Her son Drew was a former All-American distance runner for the Asheville Lightning.
Liza SchilloAssistant Coach -HurdlesA former Asheville Lightning Junior Olympian and Reynolds High School star hurdler, Coach Schillo is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She was also an assistant coach for Coach Pantas' Soccer Speed  summer camp.
Allen CobbsAssistant Coach -SprintsAsheville Lightning coach 2004-2007
Autumn PutnamAssistant Coach, 6-10 Year oldsAsheville Lightning assistant coach  2008.
Charles LewisAssistant Coach -SprintsAsheville Lightning assistant coach 2004-2007 and Head Track Coach for Cane Creek Middle School. Masters Sprints Coach, and track & field coach for over 35 years. During his coaching career Coach Lewis has had over thirty team championships  in track & field and football. Along the way he also coached sprinters Michael Johnson and Crystie Gaines when they were in middle school and helped start them on the way to Olympic glory.
Buck BuchananAssistant Coach -ThrowsHead Coach A.C. Reynolds High School Boys Team since 2000.  Also Throws Coach for A.C. Reynolds Boys and Girls. Coached Christina Hernandez (6-time North Carolina High School State Champion in the discus and shot put.) 
Todd GothbergAssistant Coach -DistanceAssistant coach for the Asheville Lightning in 2008. Marathon competitor -24 finished, including 12 Boston Marathons. 2:52 Marathon PR, nationally ranked Clydesdale (190 lbs+) Marathoner, Ironman finisher (11:03;46), finisher of 2006 Vatternrundan 300K (187 miles) bike race in Sweden. Competed in 2002 Muddy Buddy Mt. Bike/Trail Run World Championships, Catalina Island, CA.
Jean LongAssistant Coach -HurdlesAsheville Lightning Assistant Coach 2008
Tom McPhersonAssistant Coach -DistanceFounded the Blue Ridge Track Club Junior Olympics Team in 1991 which eventually became the Asheville Track Club Junior Olympics Team and then the Asheville Lightning.   Head cross country coach at Cane Creek Middle School. Ran Cross Country, Marathon and Steeplechase at the University of Florida; 2-time Boston Marathon participant; Marathon PR 2:25; Cross Country Head Coach  at Brunner Junior High School, 1983; A.C. Reynolds Middle School Boys and Girls Teams, 1988-1999, and  Head Cross Country Coach Asheville Lightning, 2005.
Marvin MercerAssistant Coach, 6-8 Year oldsJunior Olympics assistant coach 2001-2008. Coach Mercer worked primarily with Sub-Bantam and Bantam athletes.
Wayne WilsonAssistant Coach, Throws and JumpsAsheville Lightning assistant coach 2005-06.
Thomas BrewerJumps CoordinatorA USATF Level 1 Coach, Coach Brewer was a jumps coach for the Asheville Lightning from 2002-2015.
Greg PearceDistance CoachA USATF Level 1 coach, Coach Pearce was also the cross country coach for A.C. Reynolds Middle School.
Thomas TuckerSprints CoachTeam Coach 2013-2015. Experience coaching youth football, basketball and baseball/softball.