Jerry Clayton hired to be Track & Field HC

Submitted by farside286 on July 15th, 2013 at 2:08 PM

Looks like Michigan has finally hired a Track & Field HC.  This might actually make a difference with Adoree Jackson.

One of the nation's top field event coaches, Clayton has successfully developed individualized training programs for the sprints, hurdles and the field events. His work has produced 16 NCAA individual champions, 39 international team competitors, 24 qualifiers for the U.S. Olympic Trials and 33 participants in Olympic Games and World Championship competition.


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July 15th, 2013 at 2:11 PM ^

Great to see top talent being brought in.  This is awesome for the AD by itself, but I'd love to know if this has anything to do with benefitting football as well.  If the freshmen athletes are able to compete in multiple sports, we'll have out answer.


July 15th, 2013 at 2:13 PM ^

Also, being as his last stop was Auburn, are we to believe that he is bringing SEC speed with him?  Or is that something that ebbs proportionally the further you get from the Mason-Dixon?


July 15th, 2013 at 2:16 PM ^

move the needle for a recruit by signing day?

He may build us into a really good program in the future, but I'm not sure that there's an immediate wow factor for a football recruit. Unless they click like he's a Kinesiology Professor.


July 15th, 2013 at 2:26 PM ^

Track may be a team sport, but not in the same way that football or basketball would be considered a team sport.  Your development does not hinge on having good teammates nearly as much, especially if he's interested in hurdles and long jump.  Coaching is everything in track.

So grabbing a world class track coach would most certainly help.


July 15th, 2013 at 2:45 PM ^

But what I'm saying is "did we hire a world class track coach" or did we hire "a guy who looks like he has the potential to be a world class track coach?"  He's been an assistant at a very good, not dominant, program, not the head coach. He MAY be the guy that everyone in the track community says is the brains behind the program, and the waiting for his shot to be the next great thing. I'm not commenting on the hire long term for the track program. Sounds very good. I just don't think an assistant coach from a program that's not far and away the best in the country is the kind of guy that has the coaching heat to appeal to a recruit until he's had a chance to show he's actually a world class track coach.

He may have us kicking out Olympians in 6 or 7 years; I don't think his name is going to make a football recruit say "I wasn't going to Michigan because of their track program, but NOW I am!!"


July 15th, 2013 at 2:45 PM ^

Clayton's son Zach was an Alabama state HS champion in shot put and discus, and-- for the obscure Michigan connection-- was drafted out of Auburn by the Tennesse Titans in the 7th round, a few rounds after Mike Martin for the same position.  Presumably they've bonded rooting against Alabama.

Impressive resume for Papa Clayton.  Great get for the program.



July 15th, 2013 at 3:34 PM ^

What is keeping Michigan from having an elite track program?  The weather?  Facilities?  Something else?

I may be showing my ignorance here, but I'm really curious.  I'd love to see more Wolverines in the Olypmics to go along with the swimmers.  


July 15th, 2013 at 3:49 PM ^

on the weather and facilities. And add to that the lack of 1st rate competition in the B1G.  On the up side though, I don't think it would take much to reestablish the program. We've had several Olympians in the last 20 years (mostly in the distances), and we have a great tradition headed by Ufer, Canham and the recently discussed Willis Ward.

Young John Beilein

July 15th, 2013 at 3:41 PM ^

It would appear that Clayton is from Illinois, as is Jackson.  Maybe that could help.  I'm wondering whether it is common for a field coach to deal with all of the field athletes, or do they frequently specialize in, say, the throwing events.  It just seems like coaching long jump would be very different from shotput.  Congrats to Jerry and hopefully he makes the most of his opportunity.


July 15th, 2013 at 3:57 PM ^

This truly doesn't matter (in terms of Adoree Jackson). Unless we were to let a freshman play two sports. Jackson has come out and said he doesn't want to take time off from track. If we change our policy, then the hire might mean something at that point.

That being said, I don't believe Michigan is a type of school to change a policy for one kid. I think there are a few reasons behind that. 1.) I see the UofM being very stubborn when it comes to changing policy. 2.) If you change it for one, you have to change it for all, which can get dicey. 3.) It makes you seem like you're favoring an individual, instead of the Team, the Team, the Team.

I think the kid is one hell of a football player, but when it comes down to being a "program fit," maybe this one just isn't meant to be. 

P.S. I think it is a dumb policy to begin with. I don't know why you wouldn't want to let a kid play two sports. Especially someone with olympic aspirations. I understand college can be a handful for a freshman, but if he can't do it at Michigan, he will find somewhere else to let him.


[EDIT:] Also! Good for the track team though!


July 15th, 2013 at 4:25 PM ^

This guy walked into AA Sports Memorabilia when I was in there last week chatting with Kenny Magee about the fake jug Ken found. He looked at some baseball and hockey stuff (is he Canadian? I think he mentioned he's Canadian). I couldn't find a way to introduce myself and ask him how he plans to win four national championships in track before Adoree Jackson makes up his mind.

Perkis-Size Me

July 15th, 2013 at 4:39 PM ^

First thing I thought of when I saw this thread was the kind of credibility he'd have to bring Adoree' Jackson in.

Weird how everything always comes back to football. At any rate, it sounds like the program got a quality coach, and at the end of the day, that's what's most important.

Prince Lover

July 15th, 2013 at 5:43 PM ^

Can a student come in and play one sport and work out but not compete with a second team? This way they're not adding extra traveling to their year which would be my guess as to why this policy is in place. But the athlete would not be losing a year of training.


July 15th, 2013 at 7:36 PM ^

Nice hire for you guys.  The man certainly has the background and has gotten the job done at all the previous stops.  What's Hoke's policy on kids on the football team that want to be on the track team, or any other varsity team?  As a fan of the sport of Track & Field (or Athletics for the purists of the sport) I would love to see more kids be a part of both FB/BB and Track & Field at the D1-A level - has Beilein ever had a hoopster that played a spring sport during his coaching career?

Getting back to the main topic, so it sounds like you guys now need to get a sprint/hurdle coach for the boys.  You think Henry Rolle (Auburn's next biggest asset) will come with him? Or someone else through the Gibby/Clayton connection?


July 15th, 2013 at 10:34 PM ^

Denard somewhat famously ran track at Michigan (if only briefly) but that was before Hoke's time. I seem to recall someone else on the team running track too, but that was also prior to Hoke.

Short answer is probably that we don't know, we haven't had any top level track guys on the team since Hoke's been here I believe.


July 15th, 2013 at 8:53 PM ^

Another amazing head coach hire by Dabe Brandon. And this wouldnt be possible if he didnt improve the AD profits they way he's doing. When do we start appreciating his effort. Only AD that even goes to all these other games/events too.

Prince Lover

July 16th, 2013 at 12:02 AM ^

Harris, I read somewhere that he had a scholarship offer for football but Beilein hadnt offered yet which was one reason he favored and initially chose Sparty. I never remember reading anywhere he wasn't going to be allowed to play both.


July 16th, 2013 at 12:52 AM ^

members of the football team to participate in other sports during their freshmen year. This policy has been mentioned and discussed several times on WTKA by Sam Webb in specific reference to Jackson, but the reasons for Hoke's policy have never been discussed.

I would have to guess that Hoke believes it's too much of a load for a freshman, but regardless it's counterproductive in recruiting situations like Jackson's. If he's really serious about going for an Olympic berth, he'd be smarter to go to a school that encourages track participation from the get-go. This is a deal-killer for us, but Hoke & Co. must obviously believe that the benefits of the policy outweigh the costs.

Blue in Yarmouth

July 16th, 2013 at 8:30 AM ^

I am going to start by saying I love BH. I also belive what you say in that he must have a very good reason (in his mind) for not letting players participate in others sports during their freshmen years.

The problem as I see it is how secretive BH is about certain things. It's one thing to maintain a "fort" mentality when dealing with injuries and things related to certain players, but policies should be well known and understood. I mean, we keep hearing about this "policy" from everyone except BH. It was the same as the "no visit policy". Everyone knew about it, but no one actually heard BH tell anyone what it was. 

Again, I fully support the fact that there are certain things that have no business being public but policies aren't one of them. Policies should be transparent so everyone can see, understand and perhaps determine a rationale behind certain decisions. 

To close I will say again I love BH and frankly, if he has a policy that is well thought out and has good rationale behind (which I am confident he does) than I say don't change it for one player. But I do think he is making a mistake by trying to hide what his policies are. Just my opinion.