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Dr. Joe I. Vigil—known simply as “Coach” to virtually everybody he has ever met—rose from poverty to become a towering figure in the running world. Coach has won 19 national championships and coached 425 All-Americans, 22 Olympians…and an army of “Vigilantes” who seek to emulate his unique blend of compassion, competitive spirit, and commitment to others.
In this long-overdue biography about America’s preeminent distance-running coach, award-winning author and Vigilante Pat Melgares shares Coach Vigil’s tale not just through the consummate storyteller’s own words but also through those of more than 50 family members, friends, former runners, and foes who have been shaped by his presence over a lifetime.
Chasing Excellence brought home the gold in the International Latino Book Awards in the Sports category. The award is presented starting at 22:04 in this video. It also won a national competition for books published independently in 2020, winning the Biography category in the Independent Book Publishers Association’s annual contest. And it was a finalist in the Colorado Book Awards in the biography category.
Coach Vigil is driven by a persistent desire to learn, a deep faith in people, and an unwavering loyalty to his hometown of Alamosa, Colorado. His life is an American dream—a must-read for anyone who loves an underdog or seeks to understand the timeless qualities that forge a leader. “Chasing Excellence” has been Coach Vigil’s mantra for decades, for himself and those he teaches. At age 90, he’s as relentless as ever in that quest.