Curtis Elder admits that when he first got into coaching, track wasn't the sport he had in mind.
Now, more than 40 years into his high school coaching career, Elder is still going strong as head track coach at Charlottesville. After surpassing the 250-win milestone this past season, the school celebrated Elder at its spring sports banquet on Wednesday, announcing it was naming the school's track in his honor.
"When you speak of the Black Knight pride, or Black Knight track, of course his name always surfaces," former CHS football coach Garwin DeBerry said at Wednesday's banquet. "Throughout the state he's known as one of the better coaches, and has always been one of the better coaches in track his entire career."
"It means quite a bit," Elder said, "because I spend most of my time with the kids, and I never expected anything myself. I'm not in it for myself, I'm in it for the kids. These special awards are just icing on the cake for me."
Elder began his coaching career in 1967 at his alma mater, James Solomon Russell High School in Brunswick County. Three years later he moved to Charlottesville.
Elder took over the track program at CHS in 1978. Since then, he's won more than 20 district titles, more than 20 regional titles, and seven state championships. In 1999, he received the Walk Cormack Award, given by track coaches around the state for his contributions to the sport. His 253 career wins are best among active coaches in Virginia.
"He would always emphasize that you need to be consistent, you need to stick with it," said former CHS basketball coach Cy Weaver. "It's not always going to be easy but stay with it, work at it, make it happen."
"He's the guy who's always going to put his best foot forward," said DeBerry. "If his athletes don't do that, he gets really upset. Believe me. They know about it and they know they want to please him so they do the best that they can do."
Elder no longer teaches at CHS, but he says he has no plans of giving up coaching.
"I can do this as long as I'm healthy enough to coach," Elder said. "I enjoy what I'm doing. Whenever I stop enjoying what I'm doing, that's when I'm giving it up."