BETTENDORF, Iowa (KWQC) – Monmouth native and Pleasant Valley Girls Track and Field coach Kaz Johnson has been high jumping since middle school. However, the St. Ambrose alum didn’t start sharing his jumping ability on a wider scale until he got some encouragement from one of his athletes.
“I was training here, I want to say it was last Summer with one of my athletes and we just kind of set up a series of circuits using hurdles, and one thing led to another and she showed me some stuff on the internet she’s like ‘yeah look at these guys here’ and she just kind of motivated me to go out there and just try it out,” Johnson said.
Since then, he’s garnered thousands of followers on his Instagram and recently reached new heights with one of his videos.
“I woke up one morning and one of my friends in one of my group chats goes, ‘Kaz, you’re on SportsCenter,’” Johnson said, “And I was like ‘huh!?’ and I look at my phone and just notifications went insane.”
“I’ve never seen my battery die so quick,” Johnson said.
Johnson said SportsCenter had reached out to him before asking to use his video to which he agreed. Johnson didn’t know how or when it would be used though, and to see it on Instagram caught him by surprise.
“My first reaction was I was shocked, I was more shocked that they actually went through with what they said and they used my video and I mean after the first probably two hours of sharing and telling my friends and stuff like that I just instantly got even more motivated to just get back out here,” Johnson said.
He said he was also caught off guard by the initial response of commenters.
“Apparently I look like Lebron James, I don’t see it but in the clip, if you go through the SportsCenter clip if you read the first 300 comments and they’re all ‘I thought this was Lebron James,’” he said.
He also had people reach out to him to learn more.
“What stood out to me with me being a coach is how many adults and teenagers and their reaction like ‘hey man, can you teach me? Can you teach me?’ and I’m like, this is what I already do, I’ve been coaching for seven years now and I have a huge passion for it and I love it,” Johnson said.
Now, he’s looking to keep pushing his limits and inspire others.
“I’m a 30-year-old man, okay, a lot of people my age, they don’t even care about doing anything physical fitness related,” Johnson said, “If I could relay a message to anybody who just feels like they don’t have it anymore, or if they don’t know if they’re good enough or anything like that, don’t doubt yourself.”
“Just go out there and do it and have fun with it,” he said.
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