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Cross Country Coaches

CURRENT LINCOLN EAST CROSS COUNTRY COACHES

Head Coach:  Brian Kabourek
1993 – Present
bkabour@lps.org

Coach Kabourek has coached cross country at Lincoln East since 1993 as an assistant coach under Kirk Skiles, and became head coach in 2015.  He also has been coaching the middle distance and distance runners in track since 1991.  Coach Kabourek has also coached boys’ and girls’ basketball at Lincoln East.

As head coach, Kabourek has guided the Girls teams to two State Championship (2018, 2019) and two Runner-Up (2016, 2017) Finishes. Kabourek was an assistant on three runner-up State Championship teams along with the Girls State Championship team in 2013, and has been a part of and has had several medalists in the state track meet including the girls 3200m Relay Team that won back-to-back All Class Golds including a State Record performance in 2014.  Then he coached a quartet of girls in 2018 that broke the state record again in the 3200m Relay. He was an assistant coach on the 2001 State Championship Boys’ Basketball Team.

“The Pursuit of Excellence with Honor” is Coach Kabourek’s motto.  Working hard to maximize the talent that you have and doing it in a way that honors the sport is something he tries to instill in his athletes.

A native of David City, Nebraska, Coach Kabourek was a state qualifier in track.  He ran the 800m, 1600m, and 3200m.  He competed in basketball, where his team qualified for the state tournament in 1985.  Coach Kabourek also played American Legion Baseball, where he was part of several successful, state qualifying teams as a third and first basemen.

He attended Kearney State College, and graduated in the Spring of 1991. Coach Kabourek teaches in the Business Department at East High School, and enjoys teaching Economics.

Assistant Coach:  Kevin Hubbell
1993 – Present
khubbell@lps.org

A Lincoln native and a 1981 graduate of Lincoln East, Coach Hubbell competed in football and track, and was a member of the 1979 state championship football team.  He attended the University of Nebraska, where he participated on the UNL Track team as a pole vaulter for two years.  He was married in 1985, and then in 1986 he and his wife Anne moved to California for six years where they taught high school.  Coach Hubbell was the first track and cross country coach for A.B. Miller High School in Fontana California.

In 1992, Coach Hubbell joined the East High faculty and he has taught a variety of subjects in the social studies curriculum.  He is currently teaching 9th Grade Civics, and U.S. History.  Anne Hubbell just retired from LPS as an ELL coach and is now with the Nebraska Department of Education working with ELL.Coach Hubbell started as a volunteer in track at East in 1992, helping out his old high school coach, Bob Eyth.  The following fall he began coaching cross country under Coach Skiles.  As the programs grew the positions became full time.Coach Hubbell says it’s been a wonderful experience to work with and see so many runners develop into great athletes and people over the last 23 years.  He feels very blessed to be able to do something he enjoys, and to have seen his own children experience success and personal growth in both track and cross country at East.

Coach Hubbell and his wife Anne have three children.  Katie is a 2005 graduate of East High, Kylie is a 2008 graduate from East where they both ran cross country, swam and ran track .  Kylie is a 7th grade teacher in Millard Public Schools. His son Corbin graduated from East 2016.  He ran track, swam, and ran track like his older sisters.  He ran at Doane University for four years competing in cross country and track.  He just graduated from Doane in the spring of 2020.

Assistant Coach:  Riley Sigler
2017 – Present

Coach

Assistant Coach:  Drew Willis
2018 – Present

Coach Willis joined the Lincoln East staff in the summer of 2018 after a successful three years coaching at Elkhorn South High School.  During his time at Elkhorn South, the Storm captured two conference championships, two district championships, one state runner-up trophy, and the 2015 Class B Girls State Cross Country championship.  Prior to his time at Elkhorn South, Coach Willis studied and ran cross country/track at Nebraska Wesleyan University (’15).  His success at NWU was immediate, qualifying for the GPAC meet seven times during his freshmen/sophomore seasons and earning all conference honors in the 10,000 meters in 2012.  Unfortunately injuries and illness limited Willis’ final two years at NWU.  Before arriving to NWU, Willis attended Lincoln Southwest High School where he also ran cross country and track.  Upon graduating from LSW (’11), Willis had finished fifth on the all time Cross Country 5K top ten chart and was a five time state qualifier.
At East High School, Coach Willis teaches Civics, Geography, and AP Human Geography and is currently working on his Master’s in Educational Leadership through Doane University.  Coach Willis married his high school sweetheart, Shelby, in 2017 and have since moved back to their hometown of Lincoln.  During their free time, the Willis family is usually outdoors spending time with their beloved Poodle, Otis.  The Willis family will be welcoming in the birth of their first child this September.

Assistant Coach:  Joey Black
2018 – Present

PAST LINCOLN EAST CROSS COUNTRY COACHES

Head Coach from 1991-2014
Kirk Skiles

A graduate of Lexington High School in 1974, Coach Skiles competed in cross country, wrestling, and track.  He attended UNL where he was a member of the varsity wrestling team and graduated with a teaching degree with an endorsement in Industrial Technology.

Coach Skiles became the head cross country coach at Lincoln East in 1991, and is the longest tenured cross country coach in East High History.  In the time he has coached fourteen top ten boy’s teams, sixteen top ten girl’s teams, and sixteen individual state medalists.

Coach Skiles has also been a long-time assistant varsity wrestling coach at East High.  He has been a part of three state championship teams and has coached several state placers and state champions in wrestling.

Coach Skiles’ wife is an interpreter at Irving Middle School.  They have four children, Austin, Nick, Caleb, and Elizabeth.

Assistant Coach from 2000-2015
Andrea (Baker) Kabourek

Andrea has been around competitive running since she was 6-years-old, and she has coached at East for over 15 years. For her, running has always been a lifestyle, and she knows that, throughout her life, her distance runner mentality has made her a stronger person.

Andrea learned the positive affirmation, “I CAN. I WILL!” from her Southeast High School cross country coach. That motivating statement quickly became our team’s rallying cry in the middle of the race, and those four words carried her and her teammates through four undefeated seasons and four state championships. She let that phrase guide her to a successful college running career as an All-American at Nebraska Wesleyan and push her through three marathons where her body wanted her to quit, but her mind willed her to finish. However, that simple, yet inspiring, affirmation was the most valuable when she was diagnosed with breast cancer two weeks after finishing the 2009 New York City Marathon. Immediately, after that life-altering phone call, she realized that the phrase “I CAN. I WILL!” would continue to define her existence.

Since her first cancer diagnosis in 2009, the “I CAN. I WILL!” mantra has powered her (and others) through lots of situations from races to other challenging obstacles. Lincoln East Spartans have taken on the phrase and have run with it—literally and metaphorically. Being a successful program has been important—and watching athletes win state championships and run personal records is pretty amazing; however, being a cross country runner is also about finding balance and perspective. By definition, an East Spartan cross country runner is a good teammate, makes a positive influence, enjoys each and every experience, and strives for continuous improvement—both on the course and as a person.

As a national finalist for the 2015 Brooks Running Inspiring Coach of the Year—thanks to nominations from fellow coaches, athletes, and runners—Coach Andrea felt it was her role to model and spark mental toughness in others. Instilling the “I CAN. I WILL!” attitude in every athlete was her mission.

Andrea passed away on September 16, 2015 after battling cancer for the third time. She was loved and respected by all.

Assistant Coach 2016-2017
Gabi Jenkins

Coach Jenkins joined the Spartan staff in the summer of 2016 after a tremendously successful career in cross country and track at Nebraska Wesleyan University and Papillion-South High School. Coach Jenkins brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the East High program.

Coach Jenkins won the women’s GPAC Cross Country Championship in 2014 and finished 30th at the NCAA Division III Championships that same year. Her success brought her many accolades including several GPAC Runner of the Week Honors, and was the 2014 GPAC Runner of the Year and an All-American.

In track & field, Coach Jenkins earned several All-GPAC awards, and has been a three time conference champion in the 5,000 meters and a national qualifier in the 3,000 meters. She holds the school record in the 3,000 meters and other top-ten performances in NWU history.

As a member of the Papillion-South High School Cross Country team, she was part of a State Championship in 2010 and has earned several state medals in both cross country and track.

Coach Jenkins resigned her position after the 2017 season to take a teaching position in Arizona where she coached for a short time as well.

 

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Assistant Coach 2015-2017
Alex Kolbo

A graduate of Kearney High School in 2008, Coach Kolbo competed on the varsity teams of cross country, soccer, and tennis. He then graduated from UNL in 2013 with a degree in Art Education before starting at Lincoln East as a photography, pottery, and digital art teacher.

Coach Kolbo started as a volunteer assistant coach in 2015 with the Lincoln East Cross Country team. He enjoys running for the mental and physical challenge and encourages his athletes to work towards having a positive mindset while running and in life.

Coach Kolbo married his wife, Machelle, in 2012 and both have lived in Lincoln since. Machelle currently runs her own graphic design business, Machelle Kolbo Design Studio, from home, and entertains their dog Piper.

Coach Kolbo took a paid position in both girls and boys tennis after the 2017 season.

 

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Assistant Coach 2014-2016
Austin Mar

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Head Coach 1967 – 1988
Jim McConnell

Jim McConnell was the first Boys Track coach at East High, and also served as the cross country coach from 1967-1988. During his tenure the Spartans captured numerous City, Conference, and District titles, and boasted several state champions. McConnell was a fixture at East High where he was widely known as “Joggin’ Jim.” He attended high school in Central City, where he won 16 conference medals–including 10 golds—and led the Bison to back-to-back conference championships in 1943 and 1944. At the State Track meet McConnell earned nine medals, four State titles, and two all-class gold medals (shot and discus). Jim’s throw in the shot put remains one of the best at Central City, and he was an inaugural member of the Central City Hall of Fame. McConnell attended the University of Nebraska where he won the Kansas Relays decathlon twice (1949 & 1950) and scored in the Big Seven track meet many times. After graduating from UN-L, Jim was a track coach both on the high school and college levels. Jim had teaching and coaching stops at David City, North Platte, Hayesville, KS, and Lincoln Northeast before finding a home at East High.