Spokane unveils “Mitchem Track and Field” after coaching pair of four decades

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SPOKANE, Mo. — Jeff and Becky Mitchem having been coaching track and field at Spokane High School for more than four decades.

The pair are even now leading grandchildren of those who used to run for them.

Wednesday, the high school decided to return the favor by renaming their facility the “Mitchem Track and Field.”

“You’re just doing your job and something that you love,” Becky said. “So this is a great honor and we deeply appreciate it.”

“It’s not working when you’re doing something you love doing,” Jeff said. “We keep doing it and it’s gone fast.”

The movement got starting thanks to a letter from community member Ben Bilyeu sent to the school.

“I thought, all they’ve given this school that’s the only thing they could name it was Mitchem track,” Bilyeu said. “They made me the chairman of the committee. We met once and decided on the name. I mean, it had to be Mitchem track. It couldn’t be anything else.”

For the Mitchems, it was an emotional moment in a career they have no plans of ending any time soon as they recruited to the crowd gathered for the ceremony.

As they spoke to the group, the track sat behind them.

A track the Mitchems spent most of their career without.

“First 30 years we had no track,” Jeff said.

“When we finally got this, it was like we had died and gone to heaven,” Becky said.

“That was after 30 years of coaching,” Jeff said. “We had that new life again like, ‘Oh my gosh, now we have a real place to see if we can be better. For the longest time we weren’t better. It took a while. Now, last few years we’ve had numerous state champions.”

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