By day, Danny Weed is the head coach of Matanzas’ track team. By night, he’s a fast- paced chips delivery truck driver.
Danny Weed forces himself awake at 2 in the morning to drive down to Daytona, where he works as a delivery truck driver for the Frito-Lay chip company. Just as he has been doing for the past 13 years on the job, he arrives at the company’s warehouse at around 3:30 a.m. From there, he finds his order, loads his truck — 100 totes of chips in all — and begins his route, usually up to seven stores in a day. He covers most of the convenience and grocery stores near Ormond, including Granada, Holly Hill and some of the beachside. He unloads product by himself and usually finishes after noon. A full day’s work.
“I think that if I just did one job, I would be bored. I wouldn’t be happy.”
Matanzas track coach Danny Weed
Then, it’s on to his next job.
Weed is the head coach of Matanzas High School’s boys and girls track teams.
Weed arrives at the school at around 1 p.m. Practice, which often runs up to 2 1/2 hours long, doesn’t start until 2:30 p.m. — enough time for Weed to go through paperwork, make adjustments to his workouts and to book hotel rooms for future out-of-town meets. Weed gets home after 6 p.m. By 8:30 p.m., he’s asleep.
Rinse and repeat.
Regardless of the strenuous schedule and the long work hours, Weed has found a groove, and he’s sticking with it. His work at Frito- Lay is what allows him to do the thing he loves most, a job that usually doesn’t pay well at the high school level: coaching track.
The years, and the jobs, are starting to weigh on Weed. Now in his fifth year as the Pirates’ head coach, Weed’s staff is shrinking. Former pole vaulting coach Anthony Sullivan took a cross country head coaching gig at Holy Trinity, and former sprint coach Jacob Scott, who also coaches Flagler County AAU track team Next Level Elites, decided not to return to the team this season. Two assistants remain: throwing coach Jeremy Schaefer, who has been with the team since the school’s opening in 2005, and distance coach Katy Hoover.
Weed, primarily a distance runner, has been forced to think outside the box to coach kids in events he doesn’t have the most experience in, namely sprinting and jumping.
“I try to research as much as I possibly can,” he said. “I know a lot of coaches across the country who I call on a consistent basis to pick their brains about stuff. And when I’m at a meet, I’m networking as much as I’m coaching.”
But beyond his lack of experience in these events, Weed has been entrusted with a whole new responsibility. One that he’s never been lucky enough to come across before this season. One that he absolutely, positively, cannot mess up: elite sprinter Jacob Miley.
Miley, a junior, set three school records at the FSU Relays on March 23, and re-broke the school record in the 800-meter run in his 1:52.54, first-place performance at the Pepsi Florida Relays on March 29. He most recently qualified for the regional meet in three events after a solid showing at the Class 3A District 6 meet on April 14 and is most likely to advance to the state meet in the 4x800- meter relay, the 1,600-meter run and the 800.
“Having an elite athlete like him,” Weed said, “I’m just trying to make sure I do the right things for him.”
THE TRUCK OR THE TRACK
Whether he’s driving a delivery truck or driving across the state with a bus full of athletes, Weed leads a hectic life. He wouldn’t be able to get through it without a strong support system. When a meet coincides with a day he’s supposed to be delivering chips, his current boss will make deliveries with him so Weed can coach.
There has been conflict on occasion, however.
Several years ago, his boss at the time asked Weed if he would be willing to add on more stores to his route. Weed looked his boss in the eyes and uttered a defiant “No.” The extra stores would have taken time away from the track.
“I consider myself a good coach, not a great coach,” Weed said. “But, I think I’m a better coach than I am a chip guy.”