Still on the track: Parkston native Muntefering dives into private coaching after D-I opportunity
EDITOR'S NOTE: This story is the first in The Daily Republic's "Catching up with former area athletes" series, profiling what former top athletes are up to now.
SAN MARCOS, Texas -- A year ago, Alex Muntefering didn’t think he’d be discussing his departure from Texas State University.
The Parkston native was thankful for the Division-I assistant coach opportunity he held on the cross-country and track and field staff for three and a half years.
He developed as a mid-distance and long distance coach, built strong relationships with his runners and helped guide the Bobcats to unprecedented long-distance running success. They won three Sun Belt Conference championships -- 2019 women’s indoor track, 2019 men’s outdoor track and 2017-18 women’s cross-country -- and he coached multiple runners to all-conference placing and school records.
The long road trips for meets and recruiting weighed on him, though, and forced him to start thinking about his future. As hard as it was to step down in December, he wanted to find a better balance in his life between coaching and family.
“Over the course of this past fall, I think there were some seeds that were starting to be planted in my heart about what I wanted my life to look like,” Muntefering said. “What I wanted my role as a coach to look like. More importantly, what I wanted my role as a family person to look like.”
Muntefering took a chance, leaving Texas State in December 2019 to open a private coaching business in San Marcos, Texas, called ‘PR Project.’ He’s still located in the same town as Texas State, utilizing the highly-populated market between Austin and San Antonio where the presence of private coaching is evident.
“That’s what it came down to for me,” Muntefering said. “Having this passion to coach, but to see how I can design my life to maximize my ability to coach and not let it be a sacrifice to other parts of my life.”
He’s still learning how to run a business, but he’s formulated a plan in how he wants it to develop. As of now, Muntefering is coaching seven runners, with hopes of obtaining as many as 30. It’s different from other private coaches who work with 75-100 athletes, but he’s focused on quality rather than quantity.
“I want to have a smaller amount of athletes, but be able to pour more and more of my time into them,” Muntefering said. “… I know if I took in a large number of athletes, like 75 to 100, I would sacrifice the quality of my coaching.”
This wasn’t the passion Muntefering envisioned growing up. Even during college, he figured he’d continue running or go into physical therapy. Now, he’s blending what he learned at all of his stops, even if he didn’t know he wanted to be a coach until he was a junior at Colorado State University.
The work ethic comes from growing up on a farm in the state he still owns the Class A 800-meter state record (1:53.76). He’s dealt with transferring from the University of Oklahoma to Colorado State, then excelled on the track despite not “having the most talent.”
As a graduate assistant at South Dakota State University, Muntefering was able to observe the training and interactions between runners and coaches. His knowledge behind the science of different workouts grew at Texas State, as well as learning to not just work hard but to work efficiently.
“Most importantly what I learned here at Texas State (was) how to pour into people,” Muntefering said. “Using my role as a coach, how to positively impact people. I knew it was something I wanted to gain in my lifetime as a coach, but Texas State afforded me the opportunity to actually do that. To really be able to get deep with each of my athletes.”
If the right opportunity arose, Muntefering would return to collegiate coaching. For now, he’s focused on growing PR Project, and having the same influence his coaches had on him.
“I think slowly over time as I got to learn and see some really great coaches of mine practice their art of coaching,” Muntefering said. “I think it just slowly started to get ingrained in me that this would be a really (good) opportunity for me to use in my lifetime to positively impact others.”