Sub 10 Second Tuesday - NC State Assistant Coach Terry Reese
May 10, 2011 by David Pickett
Once a professional hurdler, Terry Reese is now making a living coaching the sprinters and hurdlers at NC State.
Reese, who finished sixth at the ‘97 World Championships in Athens, Greece has built a sprint/hurdle core in the Wolfpack land by recruiting athletes overlooked by other programs and have the desire and will to develop into elite athletes.
One of his prized pupils is sprinter, TJ Graham, one of the fastest sprinters in the ACC and NCAA. Graham has turned in times of 6.62 (60m) and 20.79 (200m) this season.
PreRaceJitters, caught up with Coach Reese to discuss his star-studded athlete and the NC State program.
PreRaceJitters: Talk about the 2011 season a little bit. What’s different about this team than previous squads?
CR: One name, TJ Graham! Is what’s different about this team compared to the past 2 years of him being at NC State playing football. In the past we’ve gone through cycles of being assisted both in the sprints and jumps by football players who we’re two sports athletes out of high school.
TJ was thought to be an immediate impact upon his arrival on campus but things didn’t work as initially thought. But after 3 years on campus we’re elated to have him join the team. We love what he brings, he brings a winner’s mindset as well as the ability to unite to give an individual sport athlete a feeling of it’s a team.
2011 Season we as a sprint core on the men side were and still expect some big things as a group with eyes set on being a contender for a top 8 finish in the 4 x 100m relay at NCAA Championships.
TJ Graham with the help of another football player Tobais Palmer a former NC HS 100m State Champion, Atolani Akinkuotu, school record holder at 60 meters, returns after graduating to use his last year of outdoor eligibility, Ben Major, a 400 intermediate hurlder who is evolving into more of a 200 meters specialist.
At this point of the season we simply want to stay healthy and continue to focus on those things that will allow each of these individuals to maximize their abilities in an effort to come together as a unit and in their individual races.
PreRaceJitters: Which of your athletes was the biggest surprise in terms of performance this season?
CR: Daniel Fretz (sophomore), a 400m runner who was not recruited who didn’t break 50 seconds out of High School. In his second year, he made the finals of both the indoor and outdoor 400m dashes at ACC Championships. He’ll finish his sophomore season early after an off the track injury. Personal best of 48.17 the week before ACC Outdoor Championships.
PreRaceJitters: TJ Graham ran 6.62 and 20.7 indoors in the 60 and 200 meters respectively after coming out from football and then scored points in the 100 meters at ACC Outdoor Championships in the 100 meters, running 10.37 seconds. How much of a boost does Graham give to your sprint squad?
CR: Unity, losing is not an option mindset, aggression, leadership and a focus. Outdoor season his presence was missed greatly. The week after NCAA Indoor championships he had to return to football for spring practice and it showed in his performance at Outdoor ACC Championships.
Only 3 days on the track before putting on his spikes against a few of the nation’s best aka FSU sprint squad. He jumped right into the fire and did what he could.
So I look forward to the weeks leading up to NCAA East Regional to regaining that momentum we had going during the indoor season. It’s been amazing to see how well he’s performed after 3 years away from the track. It can only get better as he return to the form of a track runner.
PreRaceJitters: Ben Majors ran 22 seconds in high school and during the indoor season earned all conference honors with a 21.0 second 200 meters. How were you able to build the sprint/hurdle core at State? What challenges, if any did you face in the process?
CR: Fall training is where I usually find out what each athlete is capable of and in the case of Ben Major. I simply saw some things he did that had me saying to myself. He’s in the wrong event. Although we’ve pretty much put hurdling on the back burner it’s not totally ruled out.
There are those things he does that are natural yet there’s those flaws that are there we’re still working on correcting that will make a big difference on him being a 21 flat sprinter a sub 20.5 sprinter.
As far as building a sprint/hurdle core, getting my hands on an athlete who’s developing whether it’s a recruited athlete or a walk on. A high percentage of the time I won’t get a TJ Graham unless it’s through football, something that’s been historically the case here at NC State.
PreRaceJitters: What has been the focus of your recruiting for next year?
CR: As a sprint/ hurdles coach the focus yearly is simply getting your hands on talent, no matter where it will come from. Be it a short/long sprinter or a short/ long hurdler.
Being a former hurdler, I’ve gone far too long without an opportunity to coach the event I spent a lot of quality time in as a athlete on the elite level, so I would love to find a hurdler I can share what I know with.
PreRaceJitters: How would you define your coaching philosophy.
CR: Not sure how I’d define my coaching philosophy… but it centers around hard work done the right way will produce results. And I’ve defined ‘Hard Work’ to my athletes with my own acronym for the word SPEED (sacrifice, perseverance, energy, effort, and determination)
When you set goals for yourself you have to make sacrifices. When you feel like you’ve met your challenge, you need to persevere and find the energy from within and give it your all.
When you put the effort into the task at hand, you’ll find that it wasn’t as hard as it looked in the beginning. Not all work is easy, but through your determination to be the best you can be, Good things will happen for you.
PreRaceJitters: Can you take readers behind the scenes a bit and explain what happens during a typical week in season this time of year with North Carolina State?
CR: we’re about 3 weeks away from the NCAA qualifier round East Regional and we’ve already had our conference championship. So there’s been some down time workout wise to allow for recovery.
After observing how my athletes competed at our conference championship, it has given me a chance to see their strengths and weaknesses and a plan of attack so to speak to prepare them for national completion.
For example, I have a short sprinter who is still trying to find his rhythm, as well as being patient through the phases of the 100 meters. So we will take a day in which he’ll do some race modeling both in flats and in spikes.
Follow it up on another day with doing some over speed training, followed by race modeling on the clock through 100 meters at high intensity. Block work on the 1 or 2 days out from competition.
PreRaceJitters: Talk about one of your favorite drills to run as coach over the years.
CR: Any of a number of hurdle drills to help increase strength and mobility. As a hurdler who jumped in high school and college. I love how being both a hurdler and jumper help me develop strength and coordination.
So as a coach I took it upon myself to apply a lot of those principles in my coaching of all my athletes whether they ran short or long sprints.
PreRaceJitters: You competed professionally after college. What is the best advice you’ve given based on your experiences as a former professional runner?
CR: Simply putting in work. Making it a habit those things that will benefit you as a runner.Success didn’t come easy and it was my work habits that had given me an opportunity to live the dream I had for myself as an athlete.
PreRaceJitters: How would you describe yourself?
CR: Quiet and reserved, love keeping my distance while observing everything off and on the track. I have one of the biggest hearts and I probably don’t put as much value on what I have to offer as I should because I enjoy sharing what it is I know to help others.
PreRaceJitters: What are the best and worst aspects of coaching?
CR: Being in a position to help others achieve and even surpass goals they have for themselves. Coaching puts you in a position of teaching on so many levels that will have an impact on another’s life long after they left you.
Downside, feeling like you didn’t do enough to help all that crossed your path. But I wouldn’t change a thing because I have intentions to do right by anyone who will put trust in what I’m asking them to do.
PreRaceJitters: Thank you for your time and best wishes on the season.
David Pickett is a Contributing Editor at PreRaceJitters.com writing about the exploits of collegiate and elite track and field.
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