Christian Coleman presser on record setting NCAAs

Christian Coleman – UT / UT Athletics

Tennessee sprinter Christian Coleman and Assistant Coach (sprints) Tim Hall talked to the media on Monday afternoon after a historic performance at the NCAA Championship last week.

Coleman won the NCAA Championship in both the 100m and 200m dashes to become just the second person in collegiate history to win the 60m and 200m indoor as well as the 100m and 200m outdoor in one season. He joined #VFL Justin Gatlin (2002) as the only two people to accomplish that feat. In the prelims of the 100m, Coleman won with a collegiate record time of 9.82 seconds. That mark was .07 seconds faster than the previous best and moved Coleman into the top-10 all-time in the 100m. He also ranks as the fourth-fastest American in history. He is now the 2017 world leader in the 100m, 60m (tied) and 200m (indoor) and ranks second in the 200m outdoor.

The Tennessee men finished in a tie for seventh place at the NCAA Championship. It was the fourth consecutive top-10 finish for the men and the fifth top-10 appearance in the past two years overall. In addition to Coleman’s two first-team All-America honors, Chelsea Blaase earned her seventh first-team All-America honor of her career in the 10,000m race. Nathan Strother (400, 4x400m Relay), Ari Cogdell (4x400m Relay), Malik Elion (4x400m Relay), Mustaqeem Williams (4x400m Relay), Seth Whitener (Hammer), Cameron Brown (Hammer) and Shania Collins (200m) all earned second-team All-America honors.

Christian Coleman, Tennessee sprinter

(On if the outdoor double were more difficult to compete in than the indoor double)
“For me, I think they were equally hard. Both of them require different tasks. For the 60 and the 200 indoors, that’s a whole different mindset than the 100 and 200 outdoors. You’re dealing with weather and elements and stuff like that. Both of the meets have stuff that you have to overcome. At the end of the day, it just came down to competing and who wanted it more and I don’t think anyone wanted it more than I did on those days. So, I just went out there and got it done.”

(On how weather affects how he prepares)
“Depending on the weather, you have to make small adjustments. If it’s colder, you have to warm up a little earlier. If the wind’s blowing in your face, you have to tell yourself to stay up tall and make sure you finish through the line because the wind holds you back if you’re out of position. But in terms of the weather affecting me, it affects everybody, so that’s the way I look at it. Here in Knoxville, we have all types of weather, so regardless of what it is, we still go out there and practice because when you get to that stage, the weather could flip on you. I just went out there and had to compete. For the prelims in the 100, I wasn’t necessarily running for a record or anything like that, I just wanted to go out there and make it to the final. The record was just icing on the cake.”

(On his level of confidence moving forward after his outdoor championships)
“I think I have the same level of confidence as I always have. I think I put in the work and I think I have the talent level to be able to compete with anybody. So I had the same level of confidence last week as I do now going into USAs.”

(On how he feels while running a race and if he knows if he is running at record speed)
“I’m not necessarily shocked, just because I know what I’m capable of and I know the work that I put in. I know that if I execute the race properly, it could be a pretty special time. In that particular race, I was just going out there trying to execute and run to make the final. I wasn’t necessarily running for a record or anything like that, but I could definitely feel myself getting out of the blocks pretty well and separating from the pack. I just wanted to finish through the line.”

(On his decision on whether to turn professional and how he stays humble)
“Well, I mean, I’m talking to a lot of my friends in the sport and they tell me right now that the ball is just in my court and I have all the time I need to be able to make that decision. You know, I have a lot of downtime between now and USAs and even after that so I have time to make that decision and see what I need to do. As far as staying grounded, I just tell myself, I wasn’t always at this level. I have to work hard to be able to make it to this level, so you know you have to continue to work hard and do the same things to be able to maintain and stay at this level. That’s just my mindset coming into now and the rest of my career.”

(On cutting out certain foods from diet to push him further)
“I think there is always something you can improve. So, I just think that that’s one of the many things I can improve on. If I cut [sour patch kids] out then, like you said, maybe I can knock a couple tenths [of a second] off.”

(On going with track & field instead of football and sticking with the Vols despite a coaching change)
“This lets me know that if I continue to follow God’s path then I will always come out successful. This is what he had in his plan for me. He led me to come here, and it’s been the best situation for me so far. I have a great future in front of me in track & field, so I haven’t given football a second thought at all. That’s my focus right now. When someone visits here, they come with a sense of pride as they walk around and seeing the orange and the meaning behind the ‘Power T’. You come here, and it’s a family environment. I knew I wanted to be committed to here and represent the ‘Power T’ no matter who the coach was. I also knew one of the best sprint coaches in the country was coming in, so that played a part in it too.”

Tim Hall, Assistant Coach (Sprints)

(On Coleman’s qualities that make him a candidate for the Bowerman Award)
“I think it’s his overall resolve to be the best athlete in his respective events. Some of the things we talked about coming into the season off the Olympic year was winning the double. I remember one conversation we had, he asked if I felt that he could win the double indoor, and I said ‘absolutely, these are the things we have to get done’. He then went on to ask about the double outdoors, and I said ‘absolutely, these are the things we have to get done’. Then he inquired about the collegiate record, which was going to take a lot of sacrifice, a lot of determination. But these are the things you have to get done in order to do that. He immediately got on board. The buy-in was immediate. He made a transformation in terms of his nutrition, his rest, hitting the weight room; those things that are going to make you a champion and a prospect for the Bowerman. I don’t think I have to speak for the numbers. To pull off the double-double was just short of amazing. So if the Bowerman was given out today, I think he would be a strong candidate for it just by his work ethic. Also, when I look at the Bowerman, I think more of the value it brings to the team. I think Coleman has made the ultimate sacrifice of running on relays, always being committed to being a team player, which is one of the true characteristics that I feel should go into the Bowerman Award.”

(On why he thinks Coleman has made so much progress over his Tennessee career)
“Again, I keep alluding to his desire to be the best. This is one determined individual. He makes the ultimate sacrifice in terms of doing what is necessary to be prepared for that moment. When I met Coleman, he had this unorthodox style of running, but he was doing a lot of winning. It was just a matter of getting him in, cleaning him up, and teaching him, and he has become a tremendous student in his events. He has all of the tools necessary to get things done, and he has all of the tools to accomplish and finish the task at hand, which is to make the World Championship team. I’m of the mindset to under-promise and over-perform, so if we continue to do the things we’ve been doing in terms of cleaning up the technical components of his start and his transition, I think he will be just fine. I like his chances.”

(On the value Coleman brings for recruiting)
“At this point with the things he has accomplished, I think the program will begin to sell itself. Ever since Coach Sullivan took the helm, we’ve had four consecutive Top-10 finishes. She’s charged this staff with going out and recruiting some of the best kids in the country. We accepted the challenge and continue to work diligently to find those kids to compete and be SEC-ready. Coleman has definitely set the standard of what we are trying to get accomplished as a program. I think kids across the country have seen his development; where he came from to where he is now and the recognition he’s brought to himself and this program. It makes things easier on our part, but we aren’t going to take it for granted. We will continue to hustle and follow the philosophy of Coach Sullivan and continue to move this program forward.”

-UT Athletics



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