‘Come and build something’: Auburn cross country coach Aaron Kindt

AUBURN, Ala. – Growing up in Orlando, Florida, basketball was the sport for Aaron Kindt, an AAU point guard who described himself as a streaky shooter and decent dribbler who could, on a good day, touch the rim.
“I can still get after it,” he said, “but I’ll need two or three days to recover.”
During his senior year at the University of Florida, where he lettered four seasons on the track and cross country teams, Kindt decided to pursue a career in coaching.
“It’s such a rewarding field,” said Kindt, who came to Auburn in August after seven seasons as the head cross country coach at Southern Miss. “I’ve been doing this for 10 years now. Toward the end of student-athletes’ careers, you realize how much they’ve grown. It’s like watching a story unfold. There’s something special about those moments.”
He’s seen shy freshmen develop into team leaders. He’s helped recruits who lacked confidence become all-conference performers.
“Those moments where the emotion almost overwhelms you,” Kindt said. “Those are the ones you hang onto in this profession.”
Recently engaged, Kindt views Auburn as an ideal destination.

“There’s so many things about Auburn that made this a place that, you couldn’t turn it down,” he said. “I’m excited to be here and excited to get this program where I think it belongs, which is toward the top in the SEC.
“I’m loving it so far. The student-athletes have been great and the staff has been awesome. They’ve made me feel like I’m at home already.”
When cross country recruits visit the Plains, Kindt shares his vision for Auburn’s distance running program.
“Come and build something,” he said. “At Auburn distance, you’ve seen flashes of brilliance with Joyce (Kimeli) and Presley (Weems), we’ve had Ty McCormack and others who have been All-Americans but we’ve never had consistent team success.
“A lot of that is finding the right student-athletes and building that culture where it’s expected. We have to find people who believe that can be done here.”

Sep 15, 2021; Auburn, AL, USA; Aaron Kindt during a feature portrait session at YYYYY. Mandatory Credit: Shanna Lockwood/AU Athletics
‘We can win here’: Aaron Kindt says Auburn has ‘everything you need’ for distance running success

Kindt counts himself in that category – a believer in what Auburn’s distance program can become.
“We have everything you need to be really good at distance running,” he said. “Great facility, great school, great place to live and tons of places to run.
“I think we can win here. It’ll take some time but I think everything is in place to build a really competitive program here.”
After dislocating his shoulder playing pickup hoops as a college freshman, Kindt traded his high tops for running shoes.
“I’d love to play again, but I’m also scared of what would happen,” he said.
These days, Aaron Kindt invests his competitiveness into the teams he coaches.
“My teams compete hard every time they toe the line,” he said. “Wherever they are in training or talent, they give it everything they’ve got. If you surround yourself with people who are always going to fight and work hard every day, you’re going to get pretty good. I want a bunch of men and women who love to work and are not afraid to compete.”

Sep 15, 2021; Auburn, AL, USA; Aaron Kindt during a feature portrait session at YYYYY. Mandatory Credit: Shanna Lockwood/AU Athletics
Auburn cross country and distance coach Aaron Kindt

Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: @jeff_shearer

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