Chris “The Fireman” Brown and his Clayton State Lakers athletics team have a clear vision in front of them this season, and they now have a means to get there, following a meeting with the upper executive arm of the institution on the school’s campus in Morrow, Georgia, on Monday.
Brown has been given the go-ahead to commence team meetings and practices ahead of the 2020-2021 athletics season. He expects to begin team workout sessions as early as next Monday. Speaking with Athletic Director Ryan Erlacher, Brown said that the school’s administration is fully on board with what he intends to accomplish this season.
The Lakers made tremendous strides this past season, winning their first meet in program history when their women came out on top at the Tiger Indoor Invitational in Sewanee, Tennessee, at the beginning of February. A number of their athletes achieved personal best times and conference qualifying marks, and set school records this past season. Second-year Head Coach Brown said he wants to take it a step further this season.
“First of all, I just want to thank the Lord for giving me the opportunity to speak about this, and I want The Bahamas to know that I hear the outcry from your struggles and you will
forever be in my prayers. Right now, I’m just looking forward to September 8 – the start of fall conditioning. Our athletes have been training on their own, but for the most part we’ve been taking it day-by-day as a unit. We’re looking forward to a great season. We just want to continue to build on where we left off a year ago and just continue to get better. Now that we have the green light to go on, there is a smile on everyone’s face. The kids are hungry to go out there and compete, particularly with the way the season ended a year ago.”
Sports worldwide was disrupted in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Lakers compete in the Peach Belt Conference (PBC) in division two of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Brown took over at the helm of the athletics program following the promotion of long-time Head Coach Mike Mead to assistant athletic director for facilities and alumni engagement. He was looking to make an impression at the conference and national championships this past season but those events were canceled.
“COVID-19 has been very disruptive in the sense of shutting the season down early and having to go about everyday life with face masks and social distancing and the other effects. We haven’t been able to come together as a unit at this point so we’re looking forward to a return to the track. We’re just looking for this COVID-19 to leave,” said Brown. “We’re looking to build on what we started last season. There are a few kids who have the potential to qualify for conference, and our job as coaches is to help them reach into that potential and develop their talent. Our athletes are prepared to give everything they could. They are on a mission to go out there and perform well. They’re just excited and ready to go.”
For Brown and the Lakers, the season will get underway with cross country running for men and women. The first indoor meet of the season has been pushed back from December to January because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Bahamian Olympian remains optimistic that the new coronavirus pandemic will dissipate and that there will be no disruptions to the athletics calendar this season. He is looking forward to a transformative and progressive season for his Clayton State Lakers athletics program.