CLU Track and Field Alum Brett Halvaks: From ‘Tremendous Athlete’ to ‘Motivated’ Coach


Contributed by Brett Halvaks

Cal Lutheran alumnus, Track and Field and Cross Country Assistant Coach Brett Halvaks talks to the Regals after a race.

Madisyn Morin, Reporter

California Lutheran University’s Track and Field and Cross Country Assistant Coach Brett Halvaks returned to coach the Kingsmen and Regals seven years ago, after completing his own distance running career at Cal Lutheran in 2011.

“We’re a small little family,” Halvaks said in a Zoom interview. “I tell them [the athletes on the team] like ‘hey I’m your coach and when we’re out there at practice you guys got to follow what I’m saying, but when practice is over I want to be someone they can come to and talk to not just about running but life.’”

Distance runner and junior Veronica Redpath said in a phone interview that Halvaks goes the extra mile when it comes to his coaching style.

Redpath said some of her teammates are involved in the arts and that Halvaks is always asking about how things are outside of athletics.

“He’s been really open to talk to when you’re having problems,” Redpath said. “He is also always telling us ‘if you have any problems in life, feel free to come to me.’”

Redpath has been on the Cross Country and Track team all three years she’s attended Cal Lutheran. During her time on the teams, Redpath said that she has trained closely with Halvaks since he is the primary coach for the distance runners on the Track and Field and Cross Country teams.

“[Halvaks] been in our shoes and he understands a lot of our motivations, obstacles, and challenges,” Redpath said. “He is really motivated for us to do well,” Redpath said. 

Halvaks said he began running cross country and distance events for his high school track team, but thought that his running career would be over after high school.

In the beginning of his sophomore year at Cal Lutheran he decided to dip his toes in the water and join the Track and Field and Cross Country teams.

Matthew Lea, Track and Field and Cross Country head coach said in a Zoom interview that he and Halvaks have a very close relationship. Halvaks joined the Track and Cross Country teams the same year that Lea became the head coach.

“He was a tremendous athlete, one of the hardest workers we had,” Lea said. “It was good to see him grow, not just as an athlete but as a person.”

Coming into Cal Lutheran, Halvaks was undecided on what he wanted his major to be, but slowly realized his passion lied in coaching and teaching. 

During his junior year, Halvaks decided that he wanted a career in coaching, but didn’t think about coaching at the collegiate level.

“Right as I finished my teaching credential at Cal Lutheran I got offered a position at Chapman,” Halvaks said. “It was nice to go and see what a different program was like.”

In the fall of 2014, Halvaks became the Assistant Coach for both Cal Lutheran’s Cross Country and Track and Field teams. 

Lea said he really trusts Halvaks with his coaching decisions and programming when it comes to being a coach. Lea said he gives Halvaks flexibility and control of most things as the distance coach. 

This foundation of trust is very important to have in a coaching staff, and it’s something Lea said he knows he has with Halvaks.

“Not only just colleagues, but he [Halvaks] is a very very close friend of mine,” Lea said. “He is always a happy-go-lucky person and it’s good to have people in your life that are like that.”