Jeff Fisher takes his running seriously. A former 800-meter runner from Louisiana State University, he was a top college athlete who considered a professional running career before getting involved in teaching and coaching.
Fisher grew up in Marrero, LA. He played many sports but soon realized that he "excelled at track." At 12 years old he went to the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Nationals and competed in the 400 meter and high jump. In high school, Fisher won the state championship as a sophomore in the 800 meters.
Fisher credits his older brother Ben with "teaching me how to think and behave like an athlete."
"One summer Ben worked at Subway and would run to and from work," he said. "That's the kind of discipline I try to instill in my athletes here at Beverly."
When former BHHS track coach Fidel Dominguez left the school, Fisher was recommended for the position. He became one of the team's sprint coaches in 2008 before being recommended by longtime Beverly Hills High physical education teacher and coach —whom Fisher credits as a great mentor—for the head coaching job for both track and cross country in 2009.
In both sports, Fisher tries to motivate his athletes to be their best.
"I want to establish basic principles in them. Things my parents taught me and many of my old coaches," he said. "There's no substitute for having a work ethic."
This year, one standout member of the varsity track team coached by Fisher was senior , who made it to the state finals in the 800 meters, placing fourth. She with her time of 2:09.15 and is ranked No. 18 in the United States as a high school All-American.
"I knew Sydney had the capability to go this far a year ago. I saw it in her," Fisher said. "She has the discipline and attitude of a champion."
Not only has Fisher coached an All-American this year, but he has also brought the boys track team back to the fast lane. The boys 4 x 800-meter relay team ran a 7:54.89 to at the prestigious Mt. Sac Relays.
"Last year, the team couldn't even get accepted into the Mt. Sac Relays and this year, they not only got in, but ran 7 minutes and 54 seconds, finishing with a top 10 time in the country," he said. "I am always telling the team, you guys can do great things. When something like [Mt. Sac] happens, you see the energy running through them. We established we can run with the best."
Fisher reiterates that running requires immense discipline to be competitive, and that it's "not just a bunch of people running around as fast as they can."
"There's a lot of sacrifice involved. You have to work very hard to be successful at it," he said. "Track is not a glamorous sport. You don't read about it every day in the L.A. Times or see stories on ESPN Sports Center."
While Fisher admits he's "tough on principles," he softens when talking about the students and environment of BHHS in general.
"These are really special kids at this school. You want to help them," he said. "The facilities are great and there are a lot of resources for the athletes here to take advantage of."