by Edward Baker
– 70 medals at the Women’s Weightlifting Senior Worlds have been amassed by the United States. John Coffee’s lifters have earned 30 of them.
– The last Senior World Champion for the United States was Robin Byrd-Goad. Robin was coached by John.
– The first Women’s Senior Nationals took place in 1981. Since then there have been 36 Nationals contesting a Women’s division. Coffee’s Gym has won 19 of them.
All of these accomplishments, but after the 6 years I’ve spent with John, a lacking trait has manifested itself. Self-recognition.
Everyone likes to boast from time to time about their accolades, and rightfully so! You should be proud of anything you put your time into. I’ve loved to tell people about PRs that I’ve hit, people that I pretend to coach hitting PRs, it makes me feel good to share and get affirmation that I’m doing a good job. For others I’m sure it’s the same, people love to vocally exclaim how much they love their lifters, and how selfless of people they are, and how much they’ve accomplished in their time in this sport.
This boastful desire is absent in John. I trained at Coffee’s for months before I even learned that he has a women’s team. It wasn’t until a while later that I learned of the Olympians that came through there. None of this came from John’s mouth. Wear a Coffee’s Gym shirt out in public in Marietta and you’re sure to get someone to strike up a conversation, with the typical comment being “That was the place to train back in the day”.
He’s always so concerned about bettering and taking care of his lifters, and improving himself as a coach, that he has never really stopped to get acknowledged for what he’s done. When any other person would stop after an accomplishment and allow themselves to be recognized, John just goes right back to his obsession of making his lifters better, and becoming a better coach. I call this the Coffee Complex. Even those closest to John know that he isn’t one to proclaim himself as an expert, or elaborate on how much he does for his lifters. He is very much an ‘actions, not words’ kind of guy.
After 50 years of coaching in this sport without taking time off, anyone would agree for you to take all the time you need to recover. You deserve the rest. Please get well John.