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Former West athlete honored as top assistant track coach by USTFCCA

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

Former athletes at West Brunswick High School remain current newsmakers. Brandon Rankin, Chad McCumbee and Cedric Simmons are the most notable, but another former Trojan, Timothy Vaught, recently received national recognition.

The United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCA) has named Vaught, the associate UNC Charlotte track coach, to the regional coach of the year squads in the Southeast region. UNCC head coach Bob Olesen was named regional coach of the year. The Charlotte 49ers track and field teams swept the indoor 2009 Atlantic 10 Championships.

Olesen and Vaught are two of only three coaches from non-BCS conference schools to make the coach of the year lists.

Olesen and Vaught were honored March 12 at the NCAA banquet in College Station, Texas.

Vaught was selected the Women’s Assistant Coach of the Year after guiding the sprints, relays and hurdles squads to 86 of the team’s 175 points at the Atlantic 10 Championships. This is Vaught’s first year at UNCC.

“It was a shocker for me,” Vaught said in a release by the UNCC sports department. “Just to know that my peers think of me in this way, means a lot to me. It’s a tremendous accomplishment and is really just the icing on the cake after a tremendous season.”

Vaught’s athletes accounted for four first-place finishes at the A-10 meet. Lamarra Currie is currently the 13th-best 60-meter sprinter in the nation.

Vaught was named the 49ers’ sprints, hurdles and relays coach in Aug. 26.

“Things are going very well,” Vaught said.

Vaught is a 2001 graduate of Western Carolina. He was team captain of the track squad during his senior season, and earned all-conference honors in the 4x100 and 4x400 relays and was a member of the WCU 4x400 NCAA Championships qualifying team. His 4x400m unit also was victorious in the Olympic Development section of the Penn Relays in 2001.

Vaught also was a member of the Catamount football team, playing running back and defensive back.

Before attending WCU, Vaught earned an associate’s degree in arts from Brevard College, where he was a two-time qualifier for the NJCAA Track and Field Championships. He competed in the 200 meters and 400 meters and also competed in the 4x100 and 4x400 relays. Vaught was named Brevard’s Most Valuable Athlete for his track accomplishments.

Vaught got his coaching start WCU as a graduate assistant. While with the Catamounts, he assisted in coaching 11 All-Southern Conference performers, including two 4x400 relay teams. He also worked with six conference champions and a national provisional qualifier.

Following his time at WCU, Vaught moved to Coastal Carolina for four seasons, where he was the assistant track and field coach, working with sprinters, jumpers and hurdlers.

During his four seasons in Conway, S.C., Vaught coached 33 Big South Conference champions. He mentored 30 NCAA Regional qualifiers, two NCAA All-Americans and the 2005 Big South Female Athlete of the Year. Vaught’s success in the Big South was noticed by national track and field powerhouse Florida State, and the Seminoles hired Vaught as their recruiting coordinator for the 2006-07 season. He spent one season as the Seminoles’ multi-event coach and recruiting coordinator. He also helped football coach Bobby Bowden as a speed development consultant.

During his time in Tallahassee, Vaught signed three high school national champions and was a member of the coaching staff for the Seminoles’ ACC, East Regional and National Championship team in 2006.

Following his work at FSU, Vaught opened the P2 Peak Performance Training Center and coached a pair of Olympic Trial automatic qualifiers in the triple jump as well as a 100-meter and 200-meter sprinter. He also helped train NFL athletes and NFL rookies in their preparations for the NFL Combine.

“Last summer I trained Ernie Sims of the Detroit Lions and Lawrence Timmons of the Pittsburgh Steelers,” he said. Sims and Timmons are linebackers.

But Vaught’s passion was helping college athletes.

“I missed college sports so much I got back into it (last) year with UNC Charlotte,” he said.

In 2005, Vaught attended the Nike Elite Coaches Seminar in South Carolina and became a member of the National Sprint, Hurdle and Jumps Association.

A native of Sunset Beach, Vaught was a two-sport standout at West Brunswick High School, earning all-state and all-conference honors in football and track. He was a part of two consecutive state football championship teams.

Individually in track, he ran the 100-, 200 and 400-meter events. He qualified in five different events for the state track meet. He was the team MVP. As a senior, he earned the Eastern North Carolina Toast of the Coast Regional Runner of the Year award.

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It was six days to remember for senior long jumper Pat Springs after the Niner jumper snapped the school record Saturday at Virginia Tech. She became Charlotte’s ninth track and field All-American when she turned in an 11th place jump (20 feet, 2¼ inches) Friday at the NCAA Indoor National Championships at Texas A&M University.

Because five jumpers who placed ahead of Springs were foreign nationals, Springs is the sixth-best American born long jumper, which qualifies her for All-American status. The honor is generally bestowed upon the top-eight finishers in each event. Springs becomes Charlotte’s first female long jumper to earn All-American status and the fourth jumper overall.

For Springs, the honor caps off a tremendous senior season in which she set a school record in the event. She also was victorious in the event at the 2009 Atlantic 10 Indoor Championships.

Senior sprinter Lamarra Currie, the 2009 Atlantic 10 Indoor Female Student-Athlete of the Year, finished 13th in her preliminary event with a time of 7.40 seconds.

“Pat and Lamarra did a good job in their first indoor national appearances,” Olesen said. “Of course, they wanted to finish higher, and I would expect nothing less of them. But this is nationals, and in perspective their performances were certainly something to be proud of.

“They are both anxious to get into the outdoor season and build on the success of indoor and to be ready for outdoor nationals at Arkansas in June.”

Earlier in the week, Olesen was named Southeast Region Men’s Head Coach of the Year and Vaught the Southeast Region Women’s Assistant Coach of the Year.