invitational victories and a CIF Southern Section 3-A championship in
"We expected a lot out of them, and they gave everything they had
to perform well," Fisher, who coached with his wife, Lindra, said of
his Mesa runners. "We never had the best talent, but there was a lot
of determination and desire. The kids believed in themselves. They
understood how to work hard and understood teamwork."
Fisher, now retired and living in Council, Idaho, where he held
running camps, later coached at NAIA Fort Hays State University in
Kansas, NCAA Division III State University of New York at Geneseo and
NCAA Division II Moorhead State in Minnesota. But his influence on
the Mustangs of yesteryear remains a constant in the lives of many,
including Mark Howard, a Mesa runner from 1978 to '82.
"Coach Fisher taught us several qualities -- discipline, desire,
loyalty, respect, teamwork, goal-setting and striving to achieve our
goals," Howard wrote in an e-mail to former teammates. "He made sure
in our practices to have us prepared mentally, emotionally and
physically, to ready us for our competition. We continue to use the
things he instilled in us in our daily lives."
Howard added it was Fisher, strict on students keeping their
grades up, who inspired him to become a cross country coach.
Fisher, who also coached the Mesa girls to several league titles,
guided the Mustang boys to an unprecedented six Orange County
Championships in his tenure.
"I'll always remember those teams," Fisher said. "Those kids
really worked hard and had a great love for running and each other.
They were just one big family."
Fisher, who compiled a 209-8 dual-meet record at Costa Mesa, was
named California High School Cross Country Coach of the Year in 1978
and started the Southern California CIF Cross Country Coaches'
Association in 1974, when he served as the first president.
"It was a super bunch of guys and gals who really worked hard,"
Fisher said of his Costa Mesa career.
Prior to Costa Mesa, Fisher taught and coached in Los Angeles for
seven years, then interviewed with former Costa Mesa Athletic
Director Bob Hunter and the Newport-Mesa School District was never
Fisher mapped out hill runs along the Back Bay, beach runs on
Saturdays in the summer, Santa Ana River-to-ocean runs (10.9 miles),
the Airport Loop (nine miles) and the Bear Street Run (5.6 miles), as
well as Agony Hill near UC Irvine.
"Coach Fisher emphasized packing, and it carried into our races,
which helped us to win," Howard said.
As a collegiate coach, Fisher guided 53 All-American runners and
26 Academic All-Americans, including 34 All-Americans in seven years
at Fort Hays State.
Fisher retired after 37 years of coaching in 1999, following seven
years at Moorhead State.
The latest honoree in the Daily Pilot Sports Hall of Fame, Fisher
and his wife of 43 years live on 175 acres on the cusp of the
national forest and the Snake River, 120 miles northwest of Boise.
They operate a farm with cattle about eight miles out of Council.
They have four grown children (two boys and two girls) and six