FAMU track head coach down to three finalists

Women’s track and field athletes. Photo credit: twitter

This week FAMU conducted a series of meetings with the three finalists competing for the position of head coach of the track and field team. 

Each candidate went through three meetings: one with the student-athletes, the second with Vincent Williams, Director of Sports Medicine, and lastly, with Carrie Hickey Tollison, the Associate Athletic Director for Student-Athlete Success and Competitive Excellence and Lori Goodart, the Financial Aid Coordinator and Interim Director for Compliance and Diversity.

FAMU track and field has been without a head coach since earlier this year, and the search for a new one began soon after. The finalists are Garfield Ellenwood, Darlene Moore, and Alan Turner. During their meetings, each coach made their case on why they were the best candidate, and it was interesting to see all the student-athlete reactions in hopes that one of the candidates would bring change to the program.

Kiara Ivy, a 5th-year track athlete, says she’s looking for a coach to build up the program and invest in them and their talent.

“We need somebody who is here for the long run. I’ve been through about 20 coaches and 3 ADs, so I would love to see somebody rebuild the program and have people confident in coming and not worried about coaching changes,” said Ivy. “We also need someone to build us as citizens. We will have careers after track and field if some of us decide not to go pro. It’s important to build those life skills off the field.”

Ivy also hopes a coach can build their confidence and “uplift the team dynamic” they’ve created over the years despite all they have endured. 

The finalists are more than qualified to obtain the position. However, their attitude towards the team needs to be accounted for. Most of the players expressed concern regarding their needs as athletes and individuals.

Finalist Darlene Moore happened to be a former FAMU Track and Field head coach for almost ten years.

When one of the athletes asked, “What put the school on the radar?” 

Moore responded, “I saw the struggles that were going on. I saw the performances weren’t there, and I knew what these athletes could do. I saw the recruitment going down. I saw the morale going down. So that’s what got my attention to apply.”  

Moore also explains that she’s a great candidate because she has been here, has connections, and, most importantly, she’s a winner.

During the team’s meeting with finalist Alan Turner, they expressed their disconnect with previous coaches and the disorganization of the program as a whole.

Rob Hampton, senior and captain of the track and field team, hopes the selected coach can fix the team’s logistical structure.

“I’m not at all worried about my teammates/the athletes and the work they’re willing to put in, but only so much can be done without the consistent practice/ lift schedule and communication,” said Hampton.

In response, Turner assured athletes that although they would practice together, he would tend to their individual athletic needs.

“We will have a general warm-up, and then there are certain stretches you will do as an individual,” Turner said. “Let’s say you’re a hurdler, and you have a weak trail leg; well, I have a whole set of drills for you for your trail leg that your teammates may not be doing.” 

Turner also explained that he wants to maximize the athletes’ talents to the best of his ability. In doing so, he wants to sit down and get to know every athlete on a personal and athletic level. 

Athletes will continue to wait and do their best to train as deliberation continues among the Directors of Compliance, Sports Medicine, and Student-Athlete Success to decide who is the best fit for the position.