Charting her own course as an assistant coach at Texas Southern University (TSU), Bahamian Krishanda Campbell-Brown is making an impression and doing her part to make a dent in the athletic program for a major National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) division one school in the United States.
Campbell-Brown is joined by a number of Bahamians in the TSU Tigers athletics program. The more experienced George Cleare, the last Olympic track and field head coach for The Bahamas, is also an assistant on staff, and a number of Bahamian male and female athletes represent the school in athletics.
On the men’s side, there are Karon Bain, who does short sprints and multi events; Bryan Clarke, who does hurdles and multi events; Garrett Lewis Jr., Javan Martin and Tyrel Simms, who compete in the sprints; and Joel Brown, who is a quarter-miler. Junior athletes Bain and Martin, and freshman Simms, are from Freeport, Grand Bahama. Senior athlete Clarke and freshmen Lewis and Brown are from New Providence.
For the women, sophomore Letevia Adderley, out of Freeport, runs middle distance events.
Campbell-Brown and Cleare are assistant coaches for the men – Campbell-Brown with the jumpers and Cleare works with the sprinters.
Campbell-Brown, who has been coaching college athletics for the past five years and is a former athlete herself, said it has been a challenge so far this season, particularly with restrictions in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They have commenced practices and isolated team training sessions but the cross country and indoor season has been pushed back to January and will now run simultaneously with the outdoor season. For now, they are just working out privately with the athletes and respecting social distancing guidelines during team sessions.
“We got started the ending part of September but it’s been a challenge dealing with the pandemic and social distancing measures,” said Campbell-Brown. “We have daily COVID testing and the athletes have to fill out questionnaires, sanitize and adhere to social distancing guidelines during practices but it’s become a part of what we do and we’re adjusting. Right now, it’s still up in the air as to what will transpire in January but we have to continue preparing as if there is going to be a season. Looking at the different programs, there is a possibility that everything will take place without a hitch but of course that depends on COVID-19 and what other schools are doing. We’re optimistic.”
The Tigers compete out of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) in NCAA Division I athletics. Their men were fourth at the 2020 SWAC Indoor Track & Field Championships in February, while the women finished eighth. The outdoor season was cut short due to COVID-19.
“I believe that we have a good chance of finishing in the top three indoors (men) this year. We usually do well in the distance events and the jumps, and the sprints are getting back on track. I believe that we’re going to do very well,” said Campbell-Brown. “The guys are putting in the required work and I believe it will pay off for them. They just have to stay on track with their training, stay focused and continue to work hard.”
Campbell-Brown said they train daily from Monday to Friday and engage in technical work on Saturdays. The schedules for 2021 are not written in stone at this time, so they’re unsure as to when they will actually start their season. Due to school policies on COVID-19, they have a longer break than usual this year and the semesters are more compact.
Brown said she developed a passion for coaching athletics ever since her junior year at Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina, when she excelled in the jumps. Campbell-Brown is in her third season coaching with the Tigers. She said she loves what she does, loves the atmosphere and the environment of collegiate coaching and is looking forward to whatever the future brings.