Bill Sumner, head coach of Corona del Mar High School’s winning boys and girls cross-country and track and field teams is up long before the sun six days a week and putting in 14-hour days, Bill—who is often affectionately called “Coach”—spends the hours coordinating and organizing his teams, at the track or other locations working with athletes, running in one of his favorite locales, or sorting shoes for the Magic Shoe Foundation, a charitable organization he founded nearly 30 years ago in memory of Cynthia Holcomb to provide running shoes for underprivileged kids.
The dedication and coaching talent he brings to the school’s running teams are nothing short of inspiring. The school has the largest running program in the state with the most wins. Bill has led the team to 14 California Interscholastic Foundation championships, eight state and two national titles.
In addition, Coach Sumner has coached 27 Olympic trial qualifiers. He has coached at the U.S. Olympic Training Camp four times. ESPN named him a “National Coach of the Year.” He has also received honors as California State Coach of the Year, Orange County Coach of the Year and was a finalist for the National High School Athletic Coaches Association “Coach of the Year Award” in 2008. Runner’s World, the world’s most popular running magazine, has profiled him.
Bill also heads the Cal Coast Track Club. The Club has been going strong since Bill and four friends formed a running group called Active Five. The club meets two to three times a week, run together in many local races, and provides support and competition for a healthy fitness routine.
Each day Bill runs 6 to 9 miles, 29 days a month. He has completed at least 55 marathons in his 55 years of running. His favorite places to run are, not surprisingly, in Newport Beach. Top among them is along the coast in Corona del Mar. “I could run there every day,” he says. Runner-up locations include two of Newport’s other crown jewels, Crystal Cove and the Back Bay.
Bill applies that dedicated philosophy to the Magic Shoe Foundation. The foundation—which collects, cleans (when necessary) and distributes new and gently used shoes to less privileged children and adults—is a full-time job done part-time, he says. Bill carries out the work with a small group of other volunteers. “When something is worth doing, it gets done, and our Magic Shoe work is worth doing,” he says. The Foundation hosts a 5k race (Magic Shoe 5k) in Newport which will take place on May 21, 2011.
“There is no lack of need,” he continues. “If I had 100,000 pairs of shoes I could find a place for them.” The facilities that receive the dozens of pairs of shoes during weekly Wednesday and Friday deliveries include schools, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, churches, Boys and Girls clubs, assisted-living facilities and others. The foundation has distributed 7,000 pairs of shoes just this year. Bill initially started the program for kids that didn’t have running shoes so that they could run, and it grew exponentially from there.
Excerpts from OC Insite.com by Vicki Hogue-Davies - November 17, 2010