Sprint Coach Daulton Teaford graduated in 2015 and became an assistant track coach to his former teammates. He discussed the transition from student athlete to becoming coach, the difficulties he faced and how rewarding coaching his former team has been.
After graduating in 2015, Daulton Teaford landed an unexpected job as Sprint Coach for the Christopher Newport Track Team.
Before graduating, Teaford was a member of the track team for all four years. When he joined his freshman year, he was involved in other activities but, by the end of his sophomore year he realized that track was his main passion and began devoting his time to practicing and training harder.
“I fell in love with my sport. Things really started to click on the track and I started to understand what I was doing technically, what my goals were and the successes followed those too,” Teaford said.
Throughout junior year, he overcame many struggles that came with knee problems and a knee surgery. He focused on staying healthy and was apprehensive when it came to anything that could affect the rest of his track career.
That season, he was asked by Head Track Coach Tyler Wingard to step up into a leadership role and take on more responsibility when it came to his fellow sprinters.
“[My new leadership role] built up a little animosity between myself and some of my teammates because I wasn’t only doing well myself, but I was telling them they need to do better, and actively telling them they need to do better,” Teaford remembered the struggle but noted that the whole challenge of being an athlete and coach figure simultaneously helped shape him into the coach he is today.
While the position at the time wasn’t ideal, he learned how to hone in on his patience and found other ways to help his teammates.
At the end of his senior year, he wasn’t sure whether he wanted to pursue graduate school, continue competing, take time off or join the Peace Corps. He found himself in Coach Wingard’s office one day seeking advice when Wingard offered to keep coaching him if he stayed on to help the team.
“I walked into it thinking it was a volunteer position, which I was more than okay with, but he really surprised me with it being a job,” Teaford said.
He was glad that he had the opportunity to stick with the team and continue watching their successes.
The transition from collegiate athlete to the coach of his former team was stressful.
He was excited to coach the people he had once competed and struggled with, but it did come with many challenges.
Teaford was proud of the opportunity to coach and said, “a lot of my teammates already saw me as a coach like role and jumped on board when I actually became a coach. It takes some extra conversations and extra patience, but I like it a lot. Giving back to your team and coaching is a great experience.”
While he has enjoyed being able to help his team for two seasons even after graduating, he will not be returning for a third season due to going to Africa with the Peace Corps.
He admitted he loved coaching his former team and hoped that he has made a lasting impact on the team by helping them pursue what they love.