After spending the last two years as an assistant coach for the Laguna Beach boys’ cross-country team, Tommy Newton-Neal has been named the head coach of the Breakers’ boys’ track and field team.
Laguna Beach boys’ cross-country coach Scott Wittkop said he recently broke the news to his team, and Breakers distance-running ace Ryan Smithers endorsed the school’s decision.
“What he has done for our program is incredible,” Smithers said of Newton-Neal. “First of all, he understands what he is doing with every workout. I know that there can be coaches that just tell their [athletes] to go do a run, but everything he does has a purpose.
“This is why we peaked at the end of the season. He knows exactly what he is doing.”
Newton-Neal, who previously ran collegiately at UC Irvine, became known for running with the Breakers during their cross-country workouts. A 2010 graduate of Laguna Beach, Newton-Neal helped the Breakers win a state cross-country title in 2009, and he was the runner-up in the 1,600 meters at the Division 4 finals in 2010.
This season, the Breakers rallied around the idea that they wanted to beat their coach’s high school team, and Laguna Beach defeated San Anselmo Sir Francis Drake 68-97 for the CIF State Division IV cross-country title.