Athletics Head Coach at Clayton State University, Bahamian legend Chris “Fireman” Brown, was in Nassau this past weekend in a recruitment role during the 5th Annual EducationUSA Bahamas Fall College Fair at Melia Nassau Beach. He was in search of local talent who excel in both academics and athletics. Brown said he was happy to be on home soil and is looking forward to next year.
“I came home to do some scouting for the university at the college fair. I am looking for some talent to get into the program and get some scholarships and give kids a chance to be able to showcase their talent while getting an education,” Brown said.
Brown was named the head coach of the track and field program for the Clayton State University Lakers back on July 11. He was an assistant coach with the program in 2018 before receiving the promotion. So far, he said it has been a good transition for him.
“So far so good. It is a big adjustment from running and being an assistant to going to head coach. I am making the transition and I got a great support team who help me out when I need the help. I am doing good and I am excited to do it. It is something I am looking forward to,” Brown said.
The Bahamian legendary quarter-miler said one of his biggest adjustments was the paperwork. “There is a lot of paperwork and a lot of signatures. It is totally different from being on the track and training and competing. Now you have to put athletes in the competition and register them and be able to go from one aspect to the next. That is a seat that I never sat in and so I am learning a lot and looking forward to what the future brings,” he said.
The Lakers compete in the Peach Belt Conference (PBC) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II.
“It is pretty good. We have a good group of kids now who are 19 to 21-year-olds. It is a great group of kids who are made up of a majority of American athletes. We have one Bahamian – Sasha Knowles, who joined our team. She is doing cross (country) right now. She is doing very well and will come over to the track eventually. I am hoping to come home and be able to add one or two more athletes. That is the goal and the plan,” Brown said
Knowles, a freshman who graduated from St. Augustine’s College here in New Providence, is the first of what Brown hopes will be many Bahamian athletes for the Lakers.
The five-time Olympian said athletes must have the grades first and then he will look at their talent, but added that he is looking for sprinters.
“They have to be on top of their grades. The university requires you to have a certain GPA (grade point average) and once they meet the requirement then talent and times come next. I am looking for 100 meters (m) specialists. We have a good group of quarter-milers but I can always use one or two more, especially on the male side, so I am definitely keeping my eyes open to see what’s out there right now,” Brown said.
The Eleuthera native said his athletes are inspiring him to step back on the track. He has his eyes set on making a possible return for the men’s 4×400 meters (m) for The Bahamas, hoping to help the team qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.