Gallagher column: Misenheimer's motto: Work harder

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 9, 2012

GRANITE QUARRY — Danny Misenheimer was asked why he wanted the head coaching job at East Rowan, his alm-mater.
“I get tired of hearing that East Rowan doesn’t have athletes,” he said.
He also got tired of coaching changes. It has been a revolving door over the past 10 years.
“My goal is to be here when my son (Connor) gets here,” he said. “He’s 6. In 10 years, we ought to have a pretty good program.”
Want to reach your full potential? All Misenheimer has to do is sit the Mustangs down and tell them his story.
“Being an undersized athlete who was successful, I understand what it took,” he said.
Misenheimer remembers not being the most outstanding athlete in youth football. He remembers not being the most outstanding athlete in middle school.
“I worked harder than anybody else,” he said.
Ah, there’s the key to success. Hard work. By the time Misenheimer graduated from East, he was a state wrestling champion and the Rowan County Athlete of the Year.

If that’s not motivation for his Mustangs after a one-win campaign, nothing is.
He’ll keep reminding them of their potential.
“We have just as good athletes as anywhere else,” Misenheimer said. “It’s just other people in the past have worked harder than we have.
“That’s one thing we can control. We may not be able to control how fast we are, how high we can jump or how tall we are. But we sure can control how hard we work.”
Misenheimer had the perfect person to push him to be the best: his father Darrell, an all-star athlete in high school, who is now an assistant at West Rowan.
Misenheimer followed his dad’s lead.
“He worked hard as a coach,” Danny said. “Some of my best memories are being at a field somewhere watching football, baseball, softball … I grew up in sports.”
Darrell had Danny over at Providence Church hitting balls for two hours when he was in Coach-Pitch.
And when Danny placed second as a junior in the state wrestling tournament on a Saturday?
“I remember vividly coming over on a Sunday to work out. It’s not that he wasn’t proud of me. He knew next season started then.”
Misenheimer doesn’t regret a bit of it. He ended up at Appalachian State wrestling and performing for the track team.
“That drive,” Danny said. “He taught me how to work.”

Now, it’s time for Danny to play Darrell’s role with his team.
“Most of our coaches are the same way,” he said. “Very few of them were born athletes. They worked.”
Misenheimer keeps trying to get it across to his players and it seems to be having an effect. At a recent practice, they looked bigger, faster and stronger.
“If your traits are better than mine but if I work harder than you, I can be better than you,” Misenheimer reasons.
“The one thing I’m preaching to these kids is, ‘Why not us?’ ”
East can win. It was 9-4 in 2009. But only two wins in 2010 and one last season has the Mustangs searching for answers.
The answer may be Danny Misenheimer, East Rowan born and bred.

Contact Ronnie Gallagher at 704-797-4287 or