Matt Baum (flrunners.com):Bob, congratulations on the head coaching job. It must have a been such a great feeling to hear the final word that you would be taking over for long-time coach, Terry Long.
Bob Braman: It surely was a longer process than I expected, but I'm ecstatic to be named Head Coach at Florida State!
MB:You have some pretty big shoes to fill. What are some of your plans to make the program better than it was before?
BB: Your right about the shoes. Coach Long, his brother Jim, and his father Mike represented 50+ years of Longs coaching at Florida State. And everyone knows what a world-class coach Terry was. But my plans are simple. I want to continue to build on the progress we've made, as a staff, in the last three years. We need to defend our ACC Outdoor Men's title and raise the Women's team one notch to the winner's podium as well. And to further the progress we want to become a fixture in the Top 10 at the NCAA's.
MB: Now, some people are giving you a hard time about how you will be handling the sprinting and field events; how do you feel about that?
BB: I understand their questioning my plans. Certainly it would be fun to be at Stanford and put all 12 men's and 18 women's scholarships into distance running. But I've been given a trust to continue with FSU's long (pun intended) tradition of excellence in Track and Field. Some of older guys remember the greats: Mike Roberson, Walt McCoy, Arthur Blake, and all the great women that made up the NCAA Championship teams of 1983 and 1984. More specifically I feel it makes sense to use a formula to balance it. My formula is one-third for each area: sprints/hurdles, distance and cross country, and field events. One thing I'd like to see us do more is to get sprinters who can jump rather than jumpers who sprint some. The sprints and relays are paramount to our success. Distance will improve simply because we will progress beyond the 2 and 3 scholarships we had last year (men & women).
MB:Where do you see the future of this program going?
Name: Robert Steven Braman, Jr
Graduate of: Tampa Chamberlain HS '76 ; UF '80
Family: Debbie-20 years married; Kids: Steven (14) and Tyler (13)
MB:You're about to begin your 4th season at FSU as the head cross country coach. You picked up quite a few in-state recruits during the off season. Walsh, Cook, Nickinson...
BB:Also Herbie Thiele, Joe Madiedo, Justin Cross and Jordan Adler. They follow Andrew Bautel, Kevin Cook and AJ Wilson who've all done well this past season. Yes, the Florida recruits will always be priority one for me. What we missed out on was the nationally-ranked Floridians, and they will all tell you how hard I tried. But if we can't get the top kids nearby then I will not hesitate to sign the best kids who want to come here from across the country. If they won't come then I will use my foreign contacts to sign top international runners. I'm not going to slow the progress of this program if we can't land the top kids near home, however. Done (my page cuts off somehow).
MB: Any foreigners we should know about this year?
2 Mile: 8:51
MB: You've been around Florida track and field basically all your life. You competed at UF in the 70s, you've coached at USF, and you've already been at FSU for 3 years. Although you have a firm grasp on the state and where to recruit, how difficult is it to stay on top of everything in that area?
BB: It's really not that tough to stay on top of the Florida scene. It has been, as you've pointed out, my base for my entire running and coaching career. We do need to do a better job recruiting sprints and hurdles. My old friend Brooks Johnson told me that me and my key recruiter need to put 30,000 miles on my car tracking down the best Florida sprint talent. We will do that.
MB: Besides running solid times on the track, what else do you look for in an athlete when you are recruiting them in high school?
BB: Obviously you want to know about their character and work ethic. Even in sprinting hard work is the key. We have to know that they are totally dedicated to the sport or they will invariably fail. The national level in Track and Field is as good as anywhere in the world. We need to aspire to that level as well.
MB: What kind of expectations do you want out of your athletes?
BB: I want them to challenge their limits. Regardless of talent, we can all maximize our potential. I expect them to go all out at practice and then shift their focus toward their other obligations. You don't have to be focused on Track 24 hours a day, but you have to live the proper lifestyle that will support your track development. Living a good track lifestyle is merely having good habits; it shouldn't be work to do the right things.
MB: Now, for all of the young runners out there who wish to compete at the collegiate level, what advice would you offer them ?
BB: I believe that everyone wants to be good. But some people are dedicated enough to ensure that they excell. I would recommend that they challenge their limits in practice; both in mileage and intensity. If they can't train at the highest level then they won't succeed in college. Everyone is good at the Division 1 level. More specifically, get with your coach, share your goals and then set up a 6 month plan to get there. It won't happen by accident. You've got to have a plan.
MB:Is there any one thing you stress the most for your student-athletes?
BB: Not one thing in particular; it is a multi-faceted approach, and it varies event to event. But I'm a big "team" guy. I believe in full team meetings, team get-togethers and the older athlets mentoring the younger ones.
MB: With the outdoor season now completed, what do you think about the new regional format? Was it successful?
BB: I thought the Regional concept was great, although it needs tweaking. Most of the people who advanced on their place at Regions (rather than being selected at-large) also competed well at NCAA's. I like head-to-head competition, not time trials.
MB:Back tracking a bit; when running at UF, what were some of your most memorable accomplishments/moments?
BB: My most memorable moment at UF was running in the 1979 NCAA Cross Country Championship, and lining up with some of the true legends of distance running: Henry Rono, Alberto Salazar, Rudy Chapa and others. Rono and Salazar both ran in the 28:30's for a challenging 10k course and I think I was a good 3 minutes behind! Individually my two All-SEC's in Cross Country were the finest races of my entire running career; the later was my 5-mile cross country PR of 24:10 which earned me 10th place (Keith Brantly was 5th).
MB:Alright, Bob, thanks for the interview and good luck to you.