Marshfield Cross Country and Track Coach Dan Akin: Sports are Key in Building Well-Rounded Student-Athletes

~ Central Wisconsin – Difference makers in sports are all around us. Getting to know coaches, athletic directors, and key figures in amateur sports helps us learn about the individuals shaping athletics and making a difference in schools. Area athletes have been under the microscope with the world-famous interview ‘Pancakes or Waffles?’ and now it’s time to add a different lens to sports in central Wisconsin.

We take a look at a difference maker at Marshfield Area Senior High School, Cross Country Dan Akin. Akin has built a powerhouse of a cross country team.

OnFocus: What sports did you play in high school?

Akin: Coincidentally, I was on the high school cross country team and the track team at Oshkosh West High School and in college too, all four years at UW-Whitewater.   I’m proud to say I was in two sports in college for four years.  My older brother was a high school runner and I followed in his foot steps. My younger sister was also in track and cross as well.  Our whole family was involved in high school track and cross country.

OnFocus: How do amateur sports benefit students, parents, and the community?

Akin: Sports bring people together and working hard together to achieve a goal is very satisfying. Balancing sports and school and work is tough to do and many of our kids are very active in our school/community.

OnFocus: How have you been involved in sports in your adult life?

Akin:  I started coaching basketball at Marshfield Junior High, that was my first sport I coached back in 1987.  I coached basketball for years along with cross and track.  Coaching three sports is a lot though, so I gave up basketball after 12 years.  Since 2018, I have also coached middle school swimming along with cross and track.

OnFocus: What do you enjoy about your involvement in athletics?

Akin: Seeing runners getting better each season and during their current season.  Working with high school athletes and teaching at the middle school was the best fit for me.

OnFocus: If there could only be one concession food in the world, what would you want it to be?

Akin: I love brats with chopped onions and ketchup.  That’s says it all!

OnFocus:  What would you do with the money if you won 10 millions dollars in the lottery?

Akin: Invest a good portion in the stock market!  My former students know that I believe in the market and I taught them to do the same.  I would give my wife a lot of it for allowing me to coach all these years!

OnFocus: Is there something most people don’t know about you?

Akin: That I have been to a number of rock concerts and still enjoy going to them on occasion with some of my rocker buddies (you know who you are).

OnFocus: What job did you want when you were growing up?

Akin: I wanted to be a pilot.

OnFocus: What do you most enjoy watching on television?

Akin: I like movies from the 70’s and 80’s, and Seinfeld reruns.  I also like to watch Deadliest Catch and Alaskan Gold too.

OnFocus: How do amateur sports benefit students, parents, and the community?

Akin: Sports bring people together and working hard together to achieve a goal is very satisfying. Balancing sports and school and work is tough to do and many of our kids are very active in our school/community.

OnFocus:  Who was an influential coach that has made a difference in your life?

Akin: I think my high school coaches, my college coaches all influenced me.  My dad was a coach for many years at UW-Oshkosh and he had a big impact on me getting into coaching.  He coached the sports I love the most:  Cross Country, Basketball and Track.

OnFocus:  How do you unwind and enjoy your free time?

Akin: I enjoy playing golf, riding my bike, kayaking, and listening to music from the 80’s.  I do like silent sports.

OnFocus: What would be an appropriate Super Hero nickname for you, and what would your powers be?

Akin: My favorite is Spider Man.  I enjoyed the first movie!

OnFocus: Who are your favorite athletes?

Akin: Amateur Athletes who participate for the love of the game.  I’ve been to the Olympic Trials for swimming and I was supposed to go to track and field trials in 2020.  I was able to go to the Division One National Cross Country Meet in Madison.

OnFocus: Who is your role model(s)?

Akin: A successful coach who is humble and kind!  Someone local like Tim Anderson from Auburndale and Bob Semling from UW-SP come to mind.   I also respect the other cross country coaches in the WVC and what good people they are many of them are my good friends.  I’ve known most of them for many years.

OnFocus: Baked or Fried?  If you could pick only one, which would it be?
Akin: Fried.

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David Keech
Author: David Keech

David Keech is a math teacher in Wisconsin Rapids and public address announcer for Abbotsord High School. He officiates basketball, baseball, and softball in central Wisconsin. He has reported on amateur sports since 2011, known as 'KeechDaVoice.' David can be reached at [email protected]