"Hard Work Changes Things..."
...Coach Joe Bill Dixon
Joe Bill Dixon is the founder of Wilderness Running Camp and the long time coach of the Zizzer Cross Country and Track Programs. Coach Dixon is a native of the West Plains, MO area, being born and raised on the Dixon family farm. He was the first cross country runner at the West Plains High School. After a collegiate running career at Oklahoma Christian College and serving his country in the US Army, Coach Dixon returned to West Plains. He eventually met his future wife and companion Judy and began a teaching and coaching career. Coach was instrumental in starting the HCAA (a local rural K-8 school district athletic conference) while teaching at Richards Elementary School. After leaving that position he moved to the high school level at West Plains High School in 1978. He was asked to start a Cross Country program there and that led to the start of the legendary Zizzer Cross Country tradition. In the first year of that program the Zizzers placed 8th. The next year they won it all. That began a tradition of winning that has amassed 13 boys and 13 girls state championship teams, 56 top four placing boys and girls teams, many all-state cross country and track athletes, and 11 state champions in cross country and many more in track.
Coach Dixon is a man that chooses to live a simple life in an extraordinary way. He is a champion that does not seek the limelight or any glory, just the shear satisfaction that comes with the journey of winning. He is a man that has dedicated his entire life to molding young boys into men and young girls into ladies. Coach Dixon is a husband and father that never put his highly successful career ahead of doing that which is right. He is a disciple of Christ that has avoided taking any credit of successes for his own but has insisted that all his victories are due to the grace of God and his attempt to follow life’s principles set forth by God in His Holy Word.
From 1978 -1990 Coach Joe Bill Dixon had already led his cross-country teams at West Plains High School to six state championships and through the suggestion and urging of a number
of different coaches he established the Wilderness Running Camp. Some felt that sharing his secrets would ruin his own program. Coach's desire for helping others succeed didn't let that stop him. He knew that it wasn’t just his knowledge that drew the Zizzer successes but the hard work and dedication of him and his athletes that made it happen. The willingness to share the training philosophies of Coach Dixon's teams has helped countless runners across the state and midwest to be better runners and people.
Coach Joe Bill Dixon
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