Adrian Durant named assistant coach at Cornell University
Published: January 3, 2013
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A fresh blanket of snow surrounded Adrian Durant's apartment in Ithaca, N.Y., on Tuesday.
The St. Croix native and 2004 V.I. Olympian was relaxing on a snowy New Year's Day near the campus of Cornell University, where he was recently named assistant track and field coach.
"It's cold," Durant said via telephone. "I'm looking at the window right now and there's about a foot of snow on the ground and it's snowing right now. I think I'll enjoy living here. I have a really big jacket, so I should be fine."
Durant has a sunny disposition despite the chilly conditions. Cornell has one of the strongest programs in the Ivy League and the 28-year-old will coach the sprinters and jumpers.
His main focus will be with the men's team, which won eight straight Heps (unofficial Ivy League championships) outdoor meets between 2003 and 2010. The Big Red finished second the last two years and has split between first and second in the indoor meet the last 10 years.
"I'm very excited," Durant said. "It's a pretty big deal to me. I've been trying to work my way up the ladder and this is a pretty big door that's opened."
Durant spent the last two years as an assistant at Florida A&M University. He previously served as a volunteer assistant at the University of Illinois and coached at a Lake Taylor High School in Norfolk, Va.
Durant attended St. Mary's Elementary School on St. Croix before moving to Teaneck, N.J., for high school. He excelled in The Garden State and earned a scholarship to the University of South Carolina. Durant holds five Top 10 times in USC history and his 6.23 seconds in the 55-meter dash is the Gamecocks' third best mark in the indoor event.
Cornell head coach Nathan Taylor, also the head coach for the V.I. national team, took note of Durant's high school career and recruited him. The two reacquainted last year as Durant assisted with the V.I. national team's 400-meter relay.
"I think Adrian brings sort of expert highs to the sprinting group that we have on the team," said Taylor, in his 13th year leading Cornell. "We have a very good group of sprinters who will benefit from his presence."
Taylor lived in the Virgin Islands for stints in the 1960s and 1980s and was not aware of Durant's birthplace during recruitment 10 years ago. The two met in 2011 at a meet in Puerto Rico.
"I was very impressed by his knowledge and interest in becoming a really top level coach," Taylor said.
Durant said he and Taylor agree on nearly everything when it comes to coaching college athletes. Ivy League schools do not offer athletic scholarships and have to sign some of the nation's best academically. The Big Red also can't rely on one or two athletes to amass the team's points. Durant is impressed with how Taylor's teams have proven to be well-rounded and produced NCAA champions in the triple jump in 2007 and 2008.
"A lot of college coaches, they're just about scoring points and winning," Durant said. "He's more about coaching the athlete than just using them for points."
Durant said he is done competing, but retires with V.I. national records and an appearance in the 100-meter dash at the 2004 Athens Olympics.
"I'm hanging my spikes up," he said. "I've had my time as an athlete. I've learned a lot and I think it's time to help others reach that high level, an elite level of track."
Durant holds V.I. junior records in the 100 (10.37 seconds), 200 (20.83), 200 indoor (21.60) and 55 indoor (6.23). Along with coaching, he is working on his master's degree in coaching education through online courses at Ohio University.
- Contact Tim Chapman at 714-9102 or email@example.com.