Aretha (Hill) Thurmond
Two-time U.S. discus champion Aretha Thurmond enters her first year as a volunteer assistant coach at Washington, where she will work with husband and UW throws coach Reedus Thurmond. Washington is the first coaching position for Thurmond, who comes to Seattle from Opelika, Ala., where she has trained for the past several years.
Known as Aretha Hill during a prolific career at Washington from 1995-98, Thurmond set Washington, Pac-10 Conference and American collegiate records in the discus, and was a four-time NCAA All-American.
For much of the past decade, Thurmond has been America's pre-eminent women's discus competitor, earning top-five finishes at the USA Championships every year since 1996, including back-to-back U.S. crowns in 2003 and 2004. Thurmond has twice represented the United States at the Olympic Games, and was the gold medalist at the 2003 Pan Am Games. She has ranked among the top-10 in the IAAF's World Rankings in each of the past four seasons, including a final ranking of No. 6 in 2005.
Thurmond's lifetime best of 216 feet, 1 inch ranks third in U.S. history, while her collegiate best of 215-3 is a Pac-10 record, and the second-best ever by a U.S. collegian.
Thurmond, 29, earned a bachelor's degree in sociology from Washington in 1998, and was a 1994 graduate of Renton (Wash.) High School. She married former Auburn thrower and UW assistant coach Reedus Thurmond in April 2005.