“Three things can not hide for long, the moon, the sun, and the truth.” -Gautama Buddha
Enlightened coaches tell athletes the truth. Specialization is not the road to success. Multi-sport athletes are the best athletes. A recent article I wrote for Freelap USA has become fairly popular. It has been viewed by over 800 people in the first 30 hours. I’ve answered numerous emails from people I’ve never met. The following is an email from Chris Ruf, Director of Athletic Performance at Baylor University. Baylor currently ranks 10th in the nation in football. Baylor finished 8th in 2014 NCAA Track & Field Championships.
I am honored that Chris Ruf took the time to read my article and honored that he took the time to write me. I hope Chris doesn’t mind me adding the pictures.
I enjoyed your “10 Reasons to Join the Track Team” article on Freelap. I currently work as an Athletic Performance coach with Baylor’s Football and Track and Field teams. Our staff have been advocates of multi-sport athletes, and when visiting with high school coaches around the state will always try to mention “get your players involved in other sports” so I like to hear others’ points of view and rationale for why this is beneficial. I also liked your perspective on selling the program, making it enjoyable, and using statistics to back your philosophy. This approach is necessary for anyone leading a sports program or group of people in general. I believe the more we can push this multi-disciplinary approach with school age athletics, the better athletics will be as a whole, but perhaps more importantly we can help make additional positive benefits on society.
I have always known that our roster has a “multi-sport” flavor, but your article inspired me to look through our roster and see where we actually are. Our football coaches have always put a value on multi-sport athletes, especially wr/db/rbs that have good track backgrounds, so through our 6+ years here we have had a bunch of guys that come in as freshmen with freakish athletic qualities.
Here is a list of our current heavy rep players on Offense/Defense & the sports they played in HS & some achievements (“Nothing” just means a quick search yielded no sport results, so there is a small chance they did something):
- Tre’von Armstead – TE – Basketball
- Troy Baker – OL – Nothing
- Andrew Billings – DT – Powerlifting State Record Holder, Track thrower
- Beau Blackshear – DT – Track thrower
- Travon Blanchard – Nickel Back – Nothing
- Collin Brence – LB – Nothing
- Jarell Broxton – OL – Nothing
- Terrell Burt – S – Ran on 2011 4A State Champion 4×1 team (10.82 +3.2 wind in 2012)
- KD Cannon – WR – 10.32 100m, state champ
- Devin Chafin – RB – 10.82 100m & placed at TX state meet (is 220# now)
- Pat Colbert – OL – Basketball
- Corey Coleman – WR – 6’7” HJ, 10.83 100m, 22’11” LJ
- Spencer Drango – OL – Basketball
- Aiavion Edwards – LB – 11.08 100m (200+# in HS is 225# now)
- Clay Fuller – WR – Played Minor League Baseball for 6 years
- Kyle Fuller – OL – Track thrower
- Antwan Goodley – WR – Basketball starter, 21.4 200m
- Bryce Hager – LB – Nothing
- Davion Hall – WR – Basketball & track
- Desmine Hilliard – OL – 2013 NCAA All-American in Discus 194’0”
- Xavien Howard – CB – Basketball, Track (11.4 100m, but boasts the fastest 20-40 yd split on Baylor’s FB team)
- Jay Lee – WR – Baseball, 200 & 4×2 in track
- Rashodrick Linwood – RB – 10.98 +3.0 100m, baseball
- Javonte Magee – DL – Track thrower
- Blake Muir – OL – Swimming, Aussie Rules Football
- Levi Norwood – WR – Basketball (played his frosh year at BU)
- Shawn Oakman – DE – Played on State Champ & Runner up Basketball teams
- Jamal Palmer – DE – Nothing
- Bryce Petty – QB – Nothing
- Ryan Reid – CB – Nothing
- KJ Smith – DE – Track thrower
- Orion Stewart – S – Had D1 Basketball offers, ran some track
- Taylor Young – LB – Nothing
Out of 33 of our highest contributing guys on offense and defense, at least 24 (73%) played multiple sports in high school. 30 of these players are from Texas, which I think makes it even more impressive, as this is a very “football-centric” state with structured off-season programs, spring ball, 7 on 7 tourneys, etc. going on all the time. Most importantly, these guys have strong work ethics and are very competitive, which we believe is a direct reflection of their multi-sport backgrounds.
Also have guys that are young/backups that have done this:
- 21.37 200m
- Played baseball at the Jr college level
- 10.68 100m
- Walk on S/LB that went 22.83/11.83 and 46’3 in the TJ
- Jumper that won district titles in LJ, TJ & HJ and has jumped 6’11” & 24’2”
- A guy that can Parkour pretty impressively
- 3 time state champ in the 400m w/a PR of 46.64 (also a 22’11.5” long jumper)
- I believe our backup qb ran 21 high or 22 low in the 200
- State champ in the 110H – 13.70 & close to a 24’ LJ
Also my friend Derek Hansen wrote an article a while back on why hurdlers make good football players, that you have probably seen, but in case you haven’t: http://www.strengthpowerspeed.com/why-do-hurdlers-make-great-football-players/
I know all of the above is a lot to read through, but in case it helps you promote Track & Field and more importantly multi-sport athletes, feel free to use the numbers.
Appreciate the article Coach, hope the football season is going well & have a great spring.
Director of Athletic Performance