It's a long way from his childhood home in Walled Lake, Mich. to South Korea and Guangzhou, China for Hailey resident Randy Huntington, 56.
Huntington, who attended Western Michigan and the University of Oregon, has been in South Korea since May 2009 coaching the National Korean Track and Field team. It's an honor for a veteran coach who never competed in college or professionally.
The Korea Association of Athletics Federation (KAAF) hired Huntington as head coach of the Foreign Coaches group and horizontal jumps, with the intention of creating systems for future successes.
He spent the last year preparing the athletes for the 16th Asian Games staged Nov. 12-27 at Guangzhou. The largest-ever Asian Games attracted 10,156 athletes and 4,202 team officials among the 42 different sports that were contested there.
It was a successful meet for South Korea (76 golds, 65 silvers, 91 bronzes for 232 medals), second in the final medal total to dominant China (199 gold and 416 medals). South Korea finished just ahead of third-place Japan (216 total).
Huntington's athletes captured two gold medals—Soonok Jung in women's long jump and Daekyun Kim in men's long jump.
They hope to continue the success and momentum into the next few years as they continue to train for Daegu 2011, London 2012, Moscow 2013, and the Asian games back in Incheon, South Korea in 2014.
In addition to two gold medals, Huntington has made the most of his time with the South Korean Track and Field team by coaching his athletes to national records in the Women's Long Jump as well as both the Men's Triple and Long Jump.
Huntington is rated as a USATF master coach in the jumps and has been the coach for many world-class athletes over the years, including 19 Olympians and seven World Championship Team members.
While under his tutelage, Mike Powell and Willie Banks set world records in the long jump and triple jump, respectively. Seven of his athletes have been in the U.S. all-time top 10 in their events.
Huntington said he feels lucky to live in a community of friends and fitness professionals in the Wood River Valley. Included in that group are Wood River High School girls' basketball coach Mendy Benson, WRHS football coach Kevin Stilling, track and field coaches Melanie Schrader and J.C. Nemecek, and CrossFit 5B owner Alex Margolin.
Huntington said these professionals have created positive athletic and fitness opportunities for the Wood River Valley. He said he looks forward to coming home to contribute to this great health and fitness community.
He credits Conrad Casser for bringing him to the Wood River Valley. Casser hired Huntington as director of marketing/training and research for MBT shoes.
Huntington will be coming home for the second time after 18 months of traveling the world with the Korean team. He said he's looking forward to taking his dog, Kaiya, on local cross-country trails.