Three-time collegiate All-American Reedus Thurmond spent six seasons as an assistant coach at Washington, where he headed UW's prestigious throwing program.
Thurmond's final year was 2011, where the UW javelin throwers continued to be a program highlight. Both men's and women's school records were broken, as Kyle Nielsen set the men's mark at 253-5, and newcomer Amanda Peterson set the women's record at 174-2. Nielsen, Joe Zimmerman, and Jimmy Brookman went 2-3-4 at the Pac-12 Championships, and Peterson was fourth. At the NCAA final site, Nielsen placed eighth for his third All-America honor, and Zimmerman was 20th. Angus Taylor improved his hammer PR to 201-6, and was 17th in NCAA West Prelims, and Elisa Bryant made NCAA West Prelims in the hammer and discus.
It was a banner year for Thurmond's javelin group in 2010, as junior Kyle Nielsen and freshman Joe Zimmerman went third and fourth at the NCAA Outdoor Championships to rack up 11 points for the Dawgs at Nationals. It was the second consecutive All-American honor for Nielsen, and Zimmerman carried his late season surge to the title at the U.S. Junior National Championships, and then on to a fifth-place finish at the IAAF World Junior Championships for Team USA. Working on Zimmerman's flexibility helped the freshman go from a PR of 213-feet at his first meet to 244-feet by World Juniors, a UW freshman record.
Nielsen and Zimmerman's finish marked the first time since 1984 that two Husky men earned All-America honors in the same throwing event. Freshman Jimmy Brookman also scored at Pac-10s and was 16th at NCAA West Prelims, rounding out the talented trio.
Zack Midles wrapped his standout UW career in 2010 with a second straight trip to the national finals in the hammer throw. Midles had a PR in his second-to-last meet, throwing 212-7 at Regionals to finish fourth on the UW career top-10. Sophomore Angus Taylor was one spot short of his first NCAA trip, as he was 13th at Regionals, going over 200-feet for the first time as well.
Thurmond's group had a breakout year in 2009 as four different Husky throwers earned All-America honors, the most at Washington since 1988. Sophomore Elisa Bryant continued to develop as a force in the weight, hammer, and discus. She made both NCAA Championships and earned her first All-America honor with an eighth-place finish in the weight throw. She also set new school records in both the hammer and weight.
Zack Midles had one of the most clutch efforts of the year, as he needed a final attempt improvement at West Regionals in the loaded hammer field. He came through on his last throw, moving up to fourth and earning his first NCAA bid, where he collected an All-America honor.
Completing the All-America quarter was sophomore javelin throwers Kyle Nielsen and Brooke Pighin. Nielsen posted the best throws at UW in 18 years, and took sixth at the NCAA Championships, while Pighin had the second-best throw in school history and was seventh at nationals.
Washington's throwers saw an immediate turnaround in their fortunes in their first year under Thurmond in 2006, combining for one Pac-10 title, one MPSF title, two All-America honors and three NCAA Championship berths. Juan Romero won the Pac-10 javelin crown in 2006, UW's first in the event since 1996 and its 18th Pac-10 throwing title all-time.
In 2007, Thurmond coached Martin Bingisser to his second-consecutive All-American honor, with the senior finishing sixth overall at the outdoor NCAA meet. Bingisser improved right up until his final throw, a personal best of 222-feet, 2-inches that was the longest for a Husky since 1978.
Romero and Bingisser also earned All-America honors in the javelin and hammer throw, respectively, with Bingisser adding an indoor conference title in the weight throw, and Will Conwell joining his teammates at the NCAA Championship meet in the discus.
In all, Romero, Bingisser and Conwell combined to add an average of over 17 feet each to their lifetime bests during their single year with Thurmond, while becoming the first UW men's throwing trio to earn NCAA Championships berths since 1979. Conwell continues to work with Thurmond as a volunteer assistant, and placed sixth at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials in the discus.
The 2008 season was a year of development that would pay big dividends one season later. Midles took 7th at Regionals in the hammer throw, narrowly missing his first NCAA berth, Nielsen was a Regional qualifier in the javelin his freshman year, and Bryant broke the school record in the women's weight throw and made Regionals in the hammer.
Altogether, seven different athletes combined to earn 11 All-America honors in Thurmond's six seasons.
Thurmond came to UW in December 2005 from Auburn University, where he worked as a graduate assistant while continuing to train and compete at the professional level.
A 2002 graduate of Auburn with a degree in health promotion, Thurmond was a three-time All-American in the discus, and captured the Southeastern Conference discus title as a senior.
Thurmond continued his success post-collegiately, placing 11th in the discus at the 2005 USA Track and Field Championships, and 12th in the event at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials. He qualified for the Olympic Trials again in 2008, placing 18th overall.
Washington was the first full-time coaching position for Thurmond, who in 2005 married the former Aretha Hill, one of the most decorated Washington track athletes of all-time. She is a multiple-time U.S. discus champion, and a three-time Olympian, including the 2008 Beijing Games where she placed 10th. The couple welcomed their first child, Theo, in June of 2007.