Felicitous Felix Story & Photos by Carlos Molina

Most people know Mark Felix as the man in charge of the Pride program at Jeff High, but what people don’t know is his life before Jeffersonville.

Felix has been working at Jeff High for 22 years, and has been the boys cross country head coach for 20 years. While he is officially out of the classroom now, he used to teach French classes at Jeff High for 19 years. Now, Felix can be found as the behavioral intervention coordinator, which deals with the Pride program at JHS.

Before Jeff

Felix grew up in Louisville, Ky., but moved to Scottsburg in the late 1970s, where he attended high school.

“Many moons ago, I had a really good French teacher in high school that motivated me. It was the one class I had a lot of success in,” Felix said. “I grew up in a farm, so I never really thought about going to college. But this woman inspired me to go to college, and to do a lot of things I never thought about doing.”

After he graduated high school, Felix wasn’t sure what he wanted to do in college. So, he became in exchange student in 1983, and went to college in Europe.

“I never really wanted to teach; I just wanted to do something with French. So, I spent most of the 1980’s going back and forth to France,” Felix said. “That family -- I made such a connection with. I’m still friends with them and their son is like a brother to me.”

When Felix returned from college, he brought back not only a relationship with a family 4000 miles away, he also brought home a degree in political science. With opportunities limited, he took a job as a mailman, although he didn’t really enjoy it.

So after spending three years at UPS, Felix returned to France for one year. A year later. he found himself in the United States Air Force.

“When I got back from France, I really didn’t want to settle down here yet either, so I decided to join the Air Force. I was supposed to be in public affairs but I failed the typing test by one word a minute,” said Felix, with a grin. “So, I became a firefighter in the Air Force. It was one of the most enjoyable experiences in my life.”

He was married at a young age, and his wife at the time, wanted to come back to the United States. Felix didn’t want to leave, but they did. Consequently, they got divorced not too long soon.

After the divorce, Felix wanted to do something to do with French, that is when he decided to go back to school, where he would be attending Indiana University Bloomington.

“At that point, I was going back to school to get a public administrator degree,” Felix said. “I didn’t really like it that much, so I went to talk a professor at IUS, and she said, ‘Well, they need high school French teachers, but you’ve taken everything we offer here at IUS. So you need to go to Bloomington.’ I ended up going to Bloomington and getting my teaching license and all my French credentials.”

Soon after, Jeff High reached out to Felix for a job position opening. Unfortunately, he had already accepted another job at another school three days prior. But, after some thought, Felix wanted to be back home, so he went with Jeffersonville instead.

“Coming back here, coming back home; that’s where I wanted to work,” Felix said. “That’s when I got to work: 1995.”

Coaching Career

Not long after coming to work for JHS, Felix was named head coach of the boys/girls cross country team. He was assistant coach for the boys track team, but never really wanted to be the head coach. But four years later, his mood changed and he was named the head coach.

Felix explaining the practice schedule for the day
“I loved cross country when I was in high school, and I was good at it too. I was good at track, too, but it was just too much,” Felix recalls. “The athletic director at the time, Ralph Scales, told me that the cross country head coach position had opened up, so I applied. He said ‘I’ll only give you the cross country job if you’ll be the distance coach for track.’ So I said sure."

“We went through a number of head coaches and in 2002, the head coach position became open. They asked me to do it and I did that for a while, then decided to retire from coaching all together in 2005,” Felix continued.

In his last year of the four years he was head coach, the team won a Sectional title in cross country, and a regional title in track. But, his retirement was shortly lived due to the fact that the school still needed him.

“I retired as head coach, but they kept needing me to come back as an assistant coach. So technically I never quit, I just wasn’t the head coach and didn’t have the responsibility and I could take more time off. I did give up cross country for four years.”

In 2009, Jeff needed a head coach again. Felix’s replacement, Ryan Bixler, only coached for three years before handing off the reigns. Steve Morris, Jeffersonville’s principal at the time, asked Felix to return as interim coach.

“I took back over, and I’ve been doing it ever since. So that’s about 20 years of coaching I’ve done at Jeff high and I’ve loved it,” Felix said.

Felix examining the team as they go through warm ups before practice

In his 20 years at Jeff, as a head coach Felix has won three track conference championships, 11 track Sectional championships, and one cross country Sectional championship. After this upcoming track season, Felix has plans to retire as the track head coach, but continue to be head coach of cross country. He and distance coach Tom Kendall have already started an electronic timing business.

“We’re still gonna be involved with track and field, just in another way,” Felix said. “We’re going to be timing meets. I also have my officials license, so I’ll be officiating some meets in the future.”

To say the least, Mark Felix has had an extraordinary career with over 20 years of coaching and 15 overall championships. His journey from a country boy in Indiana, to a scholar in France, is a dream only few get to experience.

Created By
Carlos Molina
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