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Coach on the Track; Dad at Home

Mike Fruchey and Madison Fruchey hiking in Utah (2012).

Photo credit: Fruchey Family

Mike Fruchey and Madison Fruchey hiking in Utah (2012).
Written by: Communicator StaffFebruary 16, 2017

“It would be every parent’s dream to be able to coach their child,” said Mike Fruchey, Fort Wayne’s head track and field coach.

“An inherent part of coaching is parenting,”  he said. “I would say that my philosophy of coaching student-athletes at IPFW over the last 17 years has always been to treat each athlete as if they were my own child.”

However, this is the first year that one of Mike Fruchey’s athletes is actually his own child.

His daughter, Madison Fruchey, began her freshman year at IPFW this past fall. She is majoring in English as well as participating in cross country and track.

Madison Fruchey said that she chose IPFW because she liked how close it was and made it possible for her to live at home.

She said, “It was the college that worked out best for what I was looking for.”

Madison Fruchey said her dad has never pressured her, and the decision to attend IPFW was entirely her own.

“Madison had a stellar high-school career and had many opportunities to go elsewhere, but felt most comfortable at IPFW,” Mike Fruchey said.

She has been running since middle school and holds the 5,000-meter record at Carroll High School.

“I was open to Madison going to college wherever she chose,” Mike Fruchey said. “ But certainly I am happy that she chose to come here and run under my coaching.”

Madison Fruchey said she enjoys having her dad as her coach as well.

“He already knows how I run and how I train,” said Madison Fruchey. She said that is a great advantage.

Madison Fruchey started out strong in her sports career at IPFW.

In her first collegiate meet, the Mastodon Opener Dec. 3, Fruchey took first place in the 5000 meter (17:53.52). She said she wasn’t expecting to win but thinks her previous experience prepared her well.

Madison said at first it was a little weird having her dad as her coach, but she doesn’t receive any special treatment.

Mike  Fruchey must be very careful how he treats her at IPFW because neither one of them wants the team to think she is favored among the athletes, Madison said.

“I thought the other girls wouldn’t like me as much because I’m Coach’s daughter,” she Fruchey said. “But we (teammates) had trust form, and now nothing can break that bond.”

Mike Fruchey said his expectations of Madison are the same as all of the other student-athletes.

The only difference the two recognize is that they have been working together since Madison began running in middle school.

Madison Fruchey said her father has always been behind the scenes cheering her on, but now he is the one training her.

She said the two have their break times, but whenever she wants to talk about running, her dad is there.

However, both Madison and her father agree that Coach Fruchey has a defined role as both dad and coach.

“At first I asked, ‘What should I call you?’” Madison Fruchey said. “Now I know at school it’s coach, and at home, it’s dad.”

Mike Fruchey said he is coach at IPFW and dad at home, and there is a clear distinction between the two.