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Belmont All-Access: Eaton eager to lead

Belmont All-Access: Eaton eager to lead

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Call it admiration or inspiration, but one thing is certain for Belmont University track and field runner Kaden Eaton. Coaches have made a tremendous impression on his life on and off the track.

So when his days are finally done as a Bruin, Eaton hopes to give back in a similar way. He plans to pursue a life and career as a cross country and track coach.

"Seeing the impact that they've had on my life and the lives of so many other people, I can only imagine what a joy it would be to get to do that every day," Eaton said.

The native of Columbus, Ind., counts two coaches in particular as his most influential: veteran Belmont track and field program director Jeff Langdon and his prep coach Rick Weinheimer at Columbus North High School.

Weinheimer was responsible for channeling Eaton's focus as a young man into a constructive direction on the cross country course. Weinheimer, who recently retired after 38 years of coaching and teaching, instilled in Eaton a great work ethic, he said, and was responsible for the success that led Eaton to become a collegiate athlete.

Weinheimer's lessons, which he distilled into book form in "Move Your Chair," extend to achieving excellence in everyday life as well, Eaton said.

"I think one of the great things about this sport and what I've loved about it is you can find life lessons in it that will apply to all parts of life," explained Eaton.

Under Langdon, a coach at Belmont dating back to 1986, Eaton has realized his passion for passing on those life lessons to the next generation of runners.

A corporate communications major at Belmont, Eaton plans to fill his upcoming summer with volunteer coaching opportunities at running camps. He's also working on crafting a training plan for his old high school team at Columbus North, where he won back-to-back Indiana state titles in 2010-11.

The next step would be joining a college program as a volunteer coach or graduate assistant, all in the hopes of working his way onto a staff full time at the university level in the future.

"It's a journey and I'm trying to learn as much as I can from experienced coaches," he said. "You've got to put in the work."

His work is yet complete during this indoor track season though. Eaton, who ran a 3,000-meter personal-record time of 8:29.55 this past weekend at the Marshall Chipotle Invitational, will compete with the rest of the Bruins at the Ohio Valley Conference Indoor Championships next week in Charleston, Ill.

The final meet of the indoor season is scheduled for Feb. 23-24.