The first meet of the outdoor track and field season may have been a warm-up for some, but for Florida A&M University athlete Brian “BT” Turner it was an opportunity to shine.
FAMU head track and field coach Rey Robinson said Turner qualified for the MEAC Regional competition in the high jump during that meet. This accomplishment for many athletes would have been a career defining moment but for the athlete known around the track as “BT”, the performance is only a taste of things to come.
The second year pre-pharmacy candidate from Gainesville, Florida, came to FAMU already a distinguished athlete. Having won back-to-back FHSAA State Championship gold medals in high school, Turner was used to standing out.
“When I came to FAMU I was jumping high numbers,” Turner said. “But I had a fall off season last year because I was very arrogant and I did not have as much intensity as I should have.”
Turner believes that the natural abilities that allowed him to compete at the collegiate level were the source of the destructive behavior that was causing his slump.
“In high school I did work but it was nothing like college work, in track I practiced but I didn’t do a lot of practicing,” Turner said. “So when I got here I played around and messed my grades up and I got busted up on the track.”
Disheartened after his dismal freshman performance, Turner admitted he almost hung his track spikes up for good. However, some inspiring words from his mother and father inspired him.
“They told me that God gave me a talent and a beautiful mind and he expects me to use it and not waste my talents,” Turner said
It did not take long for the message to sink in because the summer after one of the worst seasons of his athletic career he went back to the drawing boards and began working on his mechanics.
Turners’ rededication to using his gifts is evident through the numbers he is putting up on the track, as well as, the attitude he has taken about his at academics off of the track.
Antwone McCloud, 20, pre-physical therapy student from Moore Haven, Florida, and fellow high jumper on the men’s track team says working with BT has been a unique experience.
“He is very competitive and he doesn’t like to be beat so when he goes hard it makes me go hard too,” McCloud said.
“He’s not like most people who just talk about doing things because he talks about it and shows action at the same time.”
The renewed motivation has translated into the classroom where BT has turned his grades around and is focused on obtaining a degree in pharmacy.
“Its no secret around here that I want to be legendary,” BT said about his future as a student athlete. “But I don’t want people to think I’m arrogant because it’s a struggle.”