By RENALDO DORSETT
Tribune Sports Reporter
NATIONAL 100 metre record holder Derrick Atkins became the latest Bahamian to earn a new coaching post in NCAA Division I Athletics.
Atkins was named an assistant coach of Western Carolina Catamounts Track and Field, with a focus on sprints, hurdles and relays.
Catamounts head coach Cale McDaniel made the official announcement in a press release issued on the school’s athletic website.
“We are excited to welcome coach Atkins to the Catamount track family,” McDaniel said. “He brings a wealth of experience and knowledge with him to Cullowhee. He has proven himself to be an excellent sprint coach at this level and we are very fortunate to have him work with our young people.”
Atkins recently completed a three-year stint as an assistant coach for the Kennesaw State University Owls in Kennesaw, Georgia, where he coached three NCAA East Regional qualifiers, 12 A-SUN conference individual champions, 20 All-ASUN performers, multiple indoor and outdoor team championships and several school records.
Atkins, 34, is the Bahamian 100m national record holder, and the only Bahamian to run legally under 10 seconds. The highlight of his career on the track came in 2007 in Osaka, Japan, where he clocked an astonishing 9.91 seconds for the Bahamas’ national record and the silver medal at the IAAF World Championships behind American Tyson Gay and ahead of race favourite, Asafa Powell of Jamaica.
A graduate of both CR Walker and Dickinson State University, he represented the Bahamas at both the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games.
In 2008, Atkins missed a spot in the final at the Beijing Olympics where he ran 10.13 for sixth in his semi-final. In 2012 in London, he ran 10.08s to finish fourth in the semi-finals but did not advance.
Atkins officially announced his retirement in 2015 and took up the job as an assistant coach working with the sprints and relays for Kennesaw State.
He was inducted in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Hall of fame for his collegiate career, which included three team national track and field championships, seven-time individual national champion, 15 National NAIA All-American honours, nine time DAC-10 All Conference honours and Dickinson State University male athlete of the year.
Atkins has indoor and outdoor conference sprint records that are still standing, and he led his team to four Dakota Athletic Conference championships. Atkins won national titles in the 100 metres in 2003, 2004 and 2005. In addition, he is an eight-time All-American in the sprints and relays. Atkins led Dickinson State to two consecutive national championships in 2004 and 2005 and to a runner-up finish in 2003.