Underdogs and life lessons: Mistretta’s coaching approach


File Photo/The Lion’s Roar

Corey Mistretta, head coach of track and field, has been coaching since 2004. He began coaching at the university as the assistant coach in 2014. Mistretta is acknowledged for his loyalty and dedication by his fellow coaches.

For Corey Mistretta, head coach of track and field, entering the coaching profession was meant to be.

With his dad being a football coach and his love for sports, Mistretta always knew that coaching would be a part of his life.

“My dad was my high school football coach, so coaching has been in my family blood forever,” explained Mistretta. “Early in my professional career, I decided to chase the almighty dollar in the business world. Then, in 2004, I decided to make a career change and began teaching and coaching at the high school level. It has been the best decision I ever made. Since 2004, I have never felt like I was going to work.”

When a position opened at the university in 2014, Mistretta joined the Lions as the assistant coach of track and field.

“Working for Southeastern is awesome,” said Mistretta. “We have a very close family here, and everyone works very well together.”

During his tenure as a coach, Mistretta learned aspects of filling the role.

Mistretta shared, “If I have learned one thing since taking over the program, it’s that I need to keep getting better every day or the competitive schools in the Southland Conference will make me look very bad.”

Michael Rheams Jr., assistant coach of track and field, described what working under Mistretta’s leadership is like.

“Working with Corey has been an amazing experience and an extreme honor,” stated Rheams. “Not only is he one of the hardest working coaches I’ve ever met, but he’s also a very genuine person and truly values those around him.”

Rheams highlighted Mistretta’s loyalty and devotion to members of the team.

“One thing that I admire most about Corey is his faithfulness to the student-athletes,” explained Rheams. “I have seen athletes get theirselves in a bind and not make the best choices and deserve to be cut loose. However, coach Mistretta will give chances to those that do not deserve it. With love and passion, he gives chances to the undeserving.”

According to Kia Coleman, a freshman jumper, Mistretta uplifts her on unpleasant days.

“It is very exciting having coach Mistretta as a coach,” shared Coleman. “His energy is always at 100. I could have the worst day ever and come speak to him, and he brings me up with his energy.”

Coleman believes Mistretta brings a fatherly presence to practice.

“He makes us come and talk to him when we need to, and he senses when something isn’t going right,” stated Coleman.

As a coach, Mistretta tries to teach student-athletes life lessons such as accountability.

“Each of us will struggle and fall from time to time,” said Mistretta. “So, when we do, stand up, raise your hand, admit your shortcoming, then consciously make an effort to not let it happen again. Growth through failure is a real thing.”