Track coach brings new perspective


Used with permission from Zach Meixner

The track team celebrates a victory at Copley High School.

Coach Lyle Kniep has been coaching Revere track for five years. During his time coaching, he has helped his athletes improve at their sport, he has been a supportive figure for his team, and he has even helped to save an athlete’s life. Kniep is in his third season as assistant coach of the track team. He used to coach football and was approached about becoming a track coach after a spot became available. Kniep learned along the way the means of being a track coach and has become close with his athletes. 

Kniep described his learning experience of what it was like becoming a track coach.

“I truly believe that if you’re a good coach, you can learn how to coach anything. I had to do a lot of learning on the fly. . . I was approached to [coach] because I was trusted as a good coach. I had to learn everything and every event and I have just loved it ever since,” Kniep said. 

Kniep described his favorite thing about coaching.

“It’s always great to have an athlete get a division one scholarship, make it pro, make it really far into their college years, or maybe make it to states. But I’ve always said that the best thing about coaching is when you get contacted by a student a few years down the road. . . who will email you and thank you for the time we spent and valued together. . . and the teachings we had,” Kniep said.

On March 18, 2017 track athlete Caleb Perkins went into sudden cardiac arrest at practice. Kniep described what happened when Perkins went into sudden cardiac arrest and the steps that were taken to help save his life.

“Me and my assistant Brian Racin were out at practice one day and a student went down. Racin was there right away and he had started CPR. I was on the phone with 911 while taking his pulse and doing all of those things we were trained to do [in this situation]. Two trainers brought the AED device out. . . Luckily [the ambulance] was there in four minutes,” Kneip said.

Due to the fast action taken by the coaches, trainers and EMS, Perkins’s life was saved. 

“They always say in these situations, just a minute or two either way, it could have been a different story. . . It wasn’t just me and it wasn’t just one person [who saved him]. It was from working as a whole team between the trainers, coaches and the athletic director,” Kniep said.

Lindsay’s Law is an Ohio law regarding sudden cardiac arrest in youth athletes that went into effect in 2017. Per Lindsay’s Law, every coach in the state of Ohio is required to watch a video and read through an informational handout, both covering sudden cardiac arrest and what to do in that situation. Perkins’s story is shared in the video.

Kniep described what came out of this situation to help save lives in the future.

“The great thing that really came from it is that video and [Lindsay’s] Law. Every single coach every year has to watch that video and get certified and make sure they know where their schools’ AED device is. If something happens, it gives the coaches and trainers a chance to hopefully save a life,” Kneip said. 

Kniep recalls this as a day he will never forget.

Track captain Chloe Grimm described how Kneip helps her to grow as an athlete.

“He tries to focus on the little details, especially for me. At this point in my track career, I need to focus on my block starts and my technique and form instead of how fast I can run since I have already maxed that out. He really helps with the minute details,” Grimm said. 

Grimm explained that Kneip is very inclusive and always pays attention to the small things.

“He is very persistent. He tries to include everyone on the track team and he really pays attention when we are trying to learn. . . anything formwise. He always knows what he is talking about,” Grimm said. 

Grimm has been running track since seventh grade. Grimm was elected to be a captain this season as a junior along with senior Lawrence Saltis.

Saltis described Kniep as a person and how he builds relationships with his athletes.

“Kniep is a really passionate person when it comes to coaching. He leaves the door open for giving more advice about actual life choices and not just coaching you about the sport, which I think is really important as a coach. . . Overall, he is just a really good guy,” Saltis said.  

Saltis described Kniep’s coaching style. 

“He is very supportive, but he also gives constructive criticism. . . He makes sure we are doing what we need to be doing. If we are doing something wrong, he will give us pointers. . . of what we need to do and what we are doing [well] and how we can become better athletes overall,” Saltis said. 

Saltis was also a member of Revere’s football team. After graduation, Saltis plans to study at Ohio State University. He explained what he will miss about track after he graduates.

“Track is actually much more of a team oriented sport than people might think. Although it is about individual performance, everybody is rooting for each other because you are all on the same team. The biggest parts I’m going to miss are how big the team is and how close the team is,” Saltis said. 

Kniep spoke about how track is going this season.  

“It is overall going well. Our numbers are up, which is great. We had around sixty to sixty-five boys at the start of the season and around fifty to fifty-five girls at the start of the season. . . The program is continuing to grow,” Kniep said.

Coach Kniep wants the best for all of his athletes and wants to see them be the best they can be. Kniep continues to help his students on and off the track, and has even gone as far as helping to save a life. It takes teamwork of the athletes during track season, and it took the teamwork of coaches and trainers to save Perkins’s life.