The local sports world lost one of the great ones on Thursday as Marcus Cross Country and Track and Field Coach Steve Telaneus passed away at the age of 60.
Telaneus, who was selected as the National High School Coaches Association Cross Country Coach of the Year in 2002, left an indelible mark at Marcus High School, where he began coaching in 1983.
“I was lucky to have had the opportunity to work at Marcus with Coach Telaneus for 19 years,” Marauders tennis coach Kelly Langdon said. “As a coach, there simply isn’t anyone better. If he had coached tennis or any other sport, I think he’d be the best coach around in that sport. He was that dedicated to coaching and to his athletes. There are not enough words to describe the impact he had on his athletes, the LISD, the school and community, and basically anyone that had any contact with him. Coach Telaneus will be deeply missed, but his legacy will live forever.”
That legacy included four state championships in girls cross country along with multiple individual championships on both the boys and girls sides.
“Coach T,” as he was affectionately dubbed, was the first and only cross country/track and field coach in school history at MHS, and was inducted into the National High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2004.
One former runner who knows a lot about Telaneus both as an athlete and rival coach is Flower Mound Cross Country and Track and Field coach Andrew Cook, an All-American distance runner at Texas A&M University whom Telaneus coached from 1995-1999.
Cook said he was devastated by the news that his former coach, colleague and friend had passed away.
“It’s hard to put into words what he meant to me as a friend and coach,” Cook said. “One of his phrases he would say each morning was ‘It’s a great day to run,’ and I feel like that was how he lived his life. Each day was important and was an opportunity to make an impact in the lives of his athletes. He didn’t care if an athlete was trying to win the race or just finish the race. All athletes were important to Telaneus.”
In an interview in 2007, Telaneus talked about his former athlete becoming the head coach at Flower Mound High School and what it was like to coach against him.
“It’s always great to see good people go into the profession and be good at what they do,” Telaneus said. “I hope some of what he learned here as an athlete help him now as a coach. I always thought he would be a good coach.”
Cook said that was just the way that Coach T thought when it came to the sport he loved.
“As a coach, I’m thankful to have gotten to know him better over the past decade,” Cook said. “He was humble when his teams won and was the first person to congratulate other teams on their success. Even after 35 years of coaching he loved to coach and was still working hard for another state championship.”
A GoFundMe page gas been set up to assist the Telaneus family.
The show of love and appreciation for coach T and the lessons taught, lives touched, and sacrifice he made to the youth and the sport was phenomenal to see today. #HeartOfMarcus pic.twitter.com/i2d147SiYN
— Texas MileSplit (@TXMileSplit) May 3, 2020
Athletes are honoring Head Cross Country and Track and Field Coach Steve Telaneus by hanging notes, shoes and shirts on the gate outside of the track. Telaneus passed away yesterday. (Photos by Maya Hernandez) @Marcus_HS @MHS9th @MarcusRedNation https://t.co/B85dJpqVfk pic.twitter.com/ydhOAReRO4
— The Marquee (@mhsmarquee) May 2, 2020