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Let’s Talk Track: A Conversation with Derico Tilley

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Derico Tilley.

By Dr. Brandon Spradley |

According to the National Federation of State High School Associations, track and field is the most popular sport for girls and the second among boys. Although the participation numbers for track and field are relatively good, my opinion is that there has been a decline in the sport, specifically in the state of Alabama. I am not just referring to a decline in participation numbers, but more so the overall passion and respect for the sport, as well as the quality of athletes who participate.

I am a firm believer that most high school football players would benefit from participating in a sport like track and field. If you look at some of the best professional and collegiate football players, both current and in previous years, a good portion of those athletes participated in track and field at the high school level. It amazes me that many of today’s high school football players do not participate in track and field.

Why is this?

I recently sat down with Derico Tilley to address this concern as well as discuss a number of issues and topics about the sport of track and field. Derico is the President of the Speed Institute and has over 25 years of coaching and athletic administration experience. To this day, he is the school record holder in the 200 meters both indoor and outdoor for the University of South Alabama, and top 5 in school history in all of the sprinting events. He is very accomplished in the sport of track and field and has coached many athletes to personal bests. He has seen first-hand a number of issues related to the decline of track and field in the state of Alabama.

We discuss these issues and much more in the first episode of Let’s Talk Track. Check out the full conversation below:

Dr. Brandon Spradley is the Chair of Sports Management at the United States Sports Academy. He was a high school state champion in the 400 meters and went on to compete at The University of Alabama where he ran on nationally ranked relay teams.

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