AUBURN, Ala. His tenure as the world’s fastest man is coming to an end, Leroy Burrell It is planned that the new career will run to the lawyer.
And with a young son at home and another on the way, the Olympic gold medalist studied law school for three years and then considered a new profession.
That’s when his alma mater, the University of Houston, offered Burrell, a two-time world record holder in the 100 meters, a track and field coach.
“I never thought I would be a coach for a long time. “Before I knew it, I was 10 years in and we were slowly building a program.”
After 23 seasons with 41 conference championships in Houston, Burrell arrived in the Plains in June 2022, taking over from Ralph Spry, who led Auburn’s program for a quarter century.
“I felt I needed another challenge,” he said. “The Auburn opportunity came up and I took it.”
Auburn’s family, Burrell says, welcomed him warmly.
“Everything was amazing,” said Burrell, who won a gold medal in the 400m relay in Barcelona in 1992.
Burrell, who is realistic about the challenges ahead, does not promise immediate success.
“Make no mistake, this is the Southeastern Conference,” he said. “It’s a really good track conference. The league has Olympians, medalists and NCAA champions. It’s going to be a big challenge for us to get the program to the top level of competition in the league.
“I hope that what I do well and what my staff do well will build on the success that has already been built here.”
To achieve that goal, Burrell assembled an experienced coaching staff with championship resumes.
“We have some challenges ahead of us, but I think the thing about really talented people is that they figure out where they are and try to make it happen,” he said. – This is what we are doing now.
As in all sports, recruiting is at the top of Burrell’s priorities.
“There’s a lot of room for growth,” he said. “A national championship was won here. The conference will continue to grow and change. With all that growth, we have to grow a little bit ourselves.
“There’s a world of opportunity here. With change comes opportunity.”
Looking at the renovation of Auburn’s Hatzell-Rosen track, which opened in 2006, and the use of an indoor facility at the Auburn Athletic Complex when Auburn football moved to the Voltos Football Center, Burrell sees added benefits to Auburn’s proximity to Atlanta and its airport. .
“This place is playing a huge role in being a leader in reconciliation and rebirth,” Burrell said. “I think it’s really exciting. Auburn can be a leader in the state in this regard. It’s a recurring theme: we’re renewing and regrowing and renewing.”
Leroy Burrell He appreciates the welcome from the Auburn family. Now he wants to grace his fans by welcoming them to the Auburn Athletics Complex, located on the southwest corner of campus between West Samford Avenue and Lem Morrison Drive.
“This fanbase is huge,” he said. “Some amazing things are happening. So look across the street. We’ve had some exciting things happen here and we want more to happen here.
“Look for some growth and hold us accountable. We have to live up to the standards inherent in our fight song and the Auburn Creed. We want to be a part of that. We want our athletes to feel that.
“Hopefully some of the fans will catch us at an event or two and support these young men and women because they’re great people. We’re part of that family. If you’re not doing anything in the spring, stop by and see us. We look forward to being with you.” we want.”
Jeff Shearer is a senior writer for AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: @jeff_shearer