CEDAR CITY — Over the past 35 years, many Cedar High School runners have heard Bob Corry yell "Go, go, go!" as they crossed his different checkpoints on the racecourse.
Once at the finish line, the words changed, but the tone didn't.
"Yes, yes, yes!" he'd yell while holding tightly to his timer, pressing each split as every girl crossed the finish line, from first place, all the way to the back.
On October 21, at the Utah 4A state championships, head girl's cross country coach Bob Corry of Cedar High School will retire, leaving a powerful and positive voice ringing in the minds of the thousands of girls he has coached over the years.
According to Corry, deciding to retire as coach has been one of the hardest decisions he has had to make.
"This has been a really tough decision," he said in a phone interview. "I've stopped doing a lot of things over the years. I retired from practicing medicine and have been released from church callings, but this is different. I'm going to miss it a lot, but it is time."
According to a press release, Corry began coaching in 1985 when his oldest daughter joined the team. As an avid runner himself, Corry asked if he could volunteer, which soon turned into a permanent gig as coach. He redirected his yearly coaching stipend into the program, and even used his own money with donations from colleagues and alumni when the school needed a new track.
"When Cedar High was built in 1965, I was a junior in high school," Corey said. "I have a picture of myself standing on the cinder track, and one of me over 20 years later, and it was still the same track. I knew the athletes at Cedar High needed something better, so I wrote letters to the school district and worked on raising funds. I was able to raise $20,000 and when I did, the district knew that I was really serious. We were able to get an all-weather rubber track put in the next year."
Corry's dedication to the program both as the head girl's cross country and track programs has earned 22 total region championships, 13 total state championships — 12 of which were in the span of eight years. He holds the Utah record for most consecutive state cross-country championships.
As the cross country coach alone, Corry has 26 top-three region finishes, 19 region championships, 27 top-five finishes at state, 21 top-three finishes at state, and nine state championships— eight of which were consecutively (1993 to 2000).
When asked about his greatest coaching moments, Corry spoke of those state championships, but mostly about the moments that didn't showcase themselves on a trophy or championship medal. He spoke about moments that only a coach would know about.
"One year, there was a girl who didn't make varsity and wasn't able to run at region," Corry recalled. "The day before region, she went and ran the course all alone, and got a 2-minute PR!"
A PR, which is an abbreviation for personal record, is something Corry knows a lot about. In fact, he has kept track of every single time of every single race that every single girl in his program has run since 1991.
"I want to keep track of everybody," Corry said about his record-keeping. "I'll have girls run for me who will say, 'Hey, my mom ran for you in such-in-such year,' and I'll go check my records, and sure enough, it's there! I like to see how we do from year to year, and I'm excited to see how kids improve over the year."
That excitement and dedication to the individual athlete has not been lost on any one of Corry's girls, including former CHS runners Olivia Castillo and Kristen Lunberg.
"Oh my, what a great man and coach he was," said Castillo, who ran for the school from 1995-98. "The things that stick out in my mind most are obviously his cheering voice. You could hear him across the track yelling 'go, go, go!' I always thought he had the lungs of a rock singer!"
"Coach Corry was a step above the competition, although he would never claim that," said Lunberg, who was one of Corry's runners from 1997-2000. "He cared for the first finisher as much as the last finisher, and we all knew it. I've never met a more generous, passionate and caring person. He greatly impacted my life and I continue to benefit from the lessons learned under his tutelage."
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the cross country state meet is splitting up, with the 4A cross country state championships being held in Cedar City at Southern Utah University, allowing Corry to coach his last meet in his hometown. He said that this is a great way to retire, and that he is excited for what is in store for the future of Cedar High School Cross Country.
"I've been asked if I worry about the program moving forward and I don't at all," Corry said. "I've always said that when you're doing anything, you've really been successful if those who follow can do a better job than you did. We have a great program and great coaches willing to step in, and I'm excited to see where it goes."
And while coach Bob Corry will no longer be running the course, shouting out times and cheering "Go, go, go! Yes, yes, yes," he says that he looks forward to supporting the team as a forever fan.