It’s hard to imagine a much better start to a coaching career than that of Clovis Community’s CJ Albertson.
Albertson, the men’s and women’s cross country coach at the school, was named the Central Valley Conference cross country women’s Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season.
“It feels great to be recognized as a coach, but it’s more about what my athletes have accomplished,” Albertson said. “ In our Conference, it is common for the Coach of the Year Award to be awarded to the coach of the winning team. So receiving this honor is exciting for me mainly because it means my Women’s team has been Conference Champions the past two years.
Albertson has been the coach of the cross country team since its inaugural season in 2018, and has guided his teams to impressive results.
In 2019, Albertson coached the women’s team to a top finish at the Central Valley Conference championships on Nov. 1 as well as a fourth-place result at the NorCal Preview and a third-place spot at the Lou Vasquez Invitational Sept. 19 at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.
Albertson said that much of his team’s success really has to do with the culture and environment at the school itself.
“There’s something special about Clovis Community College. I would say there’s a positive atmosphere, but that’s cliche and doesn’t really capture the true essence of the college,” he said.
“From the president, to the deans, athletic director, trainer, counselors, and all the staff, there’s just a collective sense of support. You just get the feeling that everyone genuinely cares about people. If my athletes need anything- running-related or not- I know there is someone on campus who is going to care for them and will be able to help them in a practical way.”
But, if you knew what Albertson did as a runner himself, his success as a coach might not have come as much of a surprise.
The 26-year-old Albertson attended high school at Buchanan, where he proved himself as one of the best runners in California.
He was part of seven team Valley championships, including four in track and three in cross country and was a Central Section champion in both as an individual.
Albertson then attended Arizona State University, where he was All-West Region and placed third in the Pac-12 in the steeplechase.
He became ASU’s record holder in the indoor 5000m run and qualified for the NCAA Track and Field Championships.
Albertson most recently won the Two Cities marathon, a race that spans from Fresno into Clovis, for the second straight year while breaking his own record from 2018 with a time of 2:14.49.