COVINGTON, Ga. — Former Eastside track and field stars Matthew Brown, Javan King and Anthony Thomas have returned to the local scene, but at a different location. This go round, the trio serves as assistant coaches for Alcovy’s track and field group.
They are each in their first year as coaches but, even so, the three have noticed a shift for the Tigers. All three coaches, including coach Marandel Thomas, described the turnaround as a “revamping.”
“We definitely had to build some trust and [the athletes] had to get to know us,” King said. “But I think the times speak for themselves. All their hard work is starting to show and these kids want it. I think we got it together.”
Brown and Thomas graduated from Eastside in 2018 while King crossed the stage in 2020. The former duo went on to run track at Shorter University, too.
Having that college experience under their belts — as well as the successful careers as Eagles — has helped validate their coaching today.
“We got the knowledge and experience of the sport. I ran for different coaches and they were all good coaches,” Brown said. “Track is a patient sport and it’s not going to happen overnight.”
In fact, that prior experience has caused each assistant to say things that former coaches would say that irritated them as athletes.
They have even caught themselves saying, “You ain’t hurt” and “Cool down.”
Thomas mentioned how the transition from playing to coaching has been seamless.
“Track has come easy for me,” Thomas said. “And, for me to pass it down to people who want to pursue this like I did was an easy choice to make.”
Coach Thomas has been thrilled all track season to have some of her former players return to help lead the Tigers.
“It’s amazing seeing them all come back together,” coach Thomas said. “Just knowing I had a part in raising them and making them these great young men and seeing them give back to the kids. I was really proud when they started calling me asking me if they can come to work.”
Like their mentor, the trio of assistants have seen players they are currently coaching keep progressing on the track.
Throughout the 2023 season,
numerous Tigers and Lady Tigers have constantly reset their personal records and kept shaving seconds off their final time.
Now, Thomas said they get to enjoy watching players’ growth from another angle.
“Seeing someone grow and set their PR and continue getting better is awesome,” Thomas said. “If you’re not seeing growth, then it’s like, ‘What are we doing?’ But watching these kids grow is exciting for sure.”
Alcovy has competed in 14 total track and field meets from Feb. 11 to April 14. Region 3-AAAAAA’s meet was this past week as well at Morrow High School.
With the season winding down, coach Thomas is proud of what her team has accomplished.
And, having former state champion runners like Brown, Thomas and King on the Tigers’ staff, coach Thomas believes the future is bright.
“I look forward to Alcovy having this turnaround,” coach Thomas said. “I see them helping these kids and watching the camaraderie and their support. And these kids love it. I know we’re going places.”