Blank has Pam Pack on the right track

Published 11:15 pm Thursday, May 15, 2008

By By STEVE FRANKLIN, Sports Writer
Jon Blank accepted the Pam Pack track coaching position four years ago to help better the football program.
As an assistant for Washington’s varsity football program, Blank took over as the varsity track coach to help keep his football players in shape during the offseason.
At the time, the Pam Pack track team was the laughing stock of the Coastal 8 Conference. With only 15 members on the boys’ team when Blank took the reigns, the Pam Pack were perennial cellar dwellers in the conference.
Four years later, the Pam Pack is a program to be reckon with.
Blank has taken Washington from walkovers to winners.
The Pam Pack boys finished the 2008 regular season with a perfect record of 11-0. And they finished second in the conference behind three-time NCHSAA 4A state champion New Bern. The Lady Pam Pack improved from eighth in the conference a season ago to fifth this year. The remarkable turnaround of both teams prompted the Coastal 8 Conference’s coaches to name Blank the 2008 Coach of the Year.
Blank has instilled a different atmosphere around Washington’s track program. In his first-year as coach, nearly 35 guys turned out for the first day of practice. But by season’s end, only 15 were left. Blank opted to weed out the weak links. Blank ridded the team of the kids who didn’t want to be there, or would skip practice every other day.
Now, the track program is the largest varsity program in the school, with nearly 50 boys and 35 girls. Being part of the Pam Pack track team is now a privilege, instead of a right.
Blank has been able to rebuild the program through dedication and a lot of hard work. He’s gone from a football assistant with out any track and field experience to one heck of a track coach.
According to his team members, the difference from Blank’s first year to 2008 is night and day.
While there’s no doubt that Blank has made a difference during his tenure, the new-look Pam Pack is still on the rise. Expect even better things from Washington track in the future.