Nov. 18, 2005
SEATTLE - Former Husky Aretha (Hill) Thurmond and her husband, Reedus Thurmond were added the University of Washington track and field coaching staff, head coach Greg Metcalf announced Friday. Reedus Thurmond will be a full-time assistant working with the Huskies' throwers, while Aretha Thurmond will serve as a volunteer assistant while continuing to train towards the 2008 Olympics.
"Reedus and Aretha are a dynamic combination for our program," Metcalf said. "The experience they bring, in terms of being active competitors at the highest levels of their sport, is invaluable to our team and will be an inspiration for our student-athletes. I know the kids on our team who I've spoken to are super-excited to begin working with both of them."
Washington will be the first full-time coaching position for Reedus Thurmond, 25, who worked as a graduate assistant coach at Auburn in 2005 while training with Tigers' assistant coach Jerry Clayton. Thurmond earned three All-America awards during a distinguished career at Auburn University, and was the Southeastern Conference discus champion in 2002. Thurmond placed 11th in the discus at the 2005 USA Track and Field Championships, and was the 12th-place finisher in the event at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials.
He was married in April to the the former Aretha Hill, who moved to Alabama to train with Clayton after graduating from Washington in 1998.
"The opportunity to come and work in the Pac-10 conference, at a program with the history of the University of Washington, was one I certainly couldn't pass up," Thurmond said from his home in Alabama, where the couple will remain through the end of the month before relocating to Seattle. "Washington has a long tradition of success in the throws area, and that's something that we hope to maintain."
Thurmond will be joined at Washington by his wife, Aretha, a 1994 graduate of Renton (Wash.) High School and 1998 UW alum. Thurmond, then known as Aretha Hill, won back-to-back U.S. discus crowns in 2003 and 2004, and captained the United States' squad at the 2005 World Track and Field Championships in Helsinki, Finland. In addition to her U.S. titles, Thurmond has twice represented the United States at the Olympic Games, and was the gold medalist at the Pan Am Games in 1999 and 2003.
The former American collegiate record holder while at Washington, Thurmond's lifetime best of 216 feet, 1 inch ranks third in U.S. history, while her collegiate best of 208-11 ranks fifth all-time in the NCAA.
"It's great to have Aretha Hill back in Husky purple," Metcalf said. "She's one of the great Huskies of all-time, and was a key figure in the outstanding throwing tradition we've had here since the Ken Shannon era. I think that she and Reedus will do a great job of getting people excited again about the throws at Washington, in addition to being outstanding coaches.
The two replace Bryan A. "Bud" Rasmussen, who accepted a coaching position at USA Track and Field's Thrower Development Residency Program in San Diego, Calif., last month.