Mackenzie West and Brielle Collett, both who have run for ACU Track and Field, will be part of the coaching staff now led by head coach Jerrod Cook.
“My biggest draw to them was their heart, passion and dedication,” said Cook. “Not only towards people, but for ACU and the program. They are tremendous ambassadors for ACU. The character they have is something they can pass along to other athletes and help others reach their potential, as people plus as athletes.”
At the beginning of 2020, West expected to finish her last season as a pole vaulter. Due to the pandemic and NCAA policies, she was given another year of eligibility to compete for the 2021 outdoor track and field season.
Alongside with competing, she will coach her fellow pole vaulters in both seasons and work on a master’s program to become a registered dietitian. This will be West’s first-ever coaching job for pole vaulting.
“I am very excited about it,” West said, “plus I have a really good platform to start on. I am ready to learn from the experienced coaches we have on staff, do my research and soak up as much knowledge as I can from them. Also, I am looking forward to competing again as an athlete and for my last season.”
She is also looking forward to training and working with other female athletes on the team and the opportunity to push athletes to better themselves on the track.
“We want our athletes to compete and perform at the highest potential, said West, “but that is ultimately not the goal for us. We want to make disciples of the earth with the platform we have as coaches, and that is what I want to do with my platform. And if we make great athletes in the process, that is great too.”
Cook first brought on Brielle Collett from 2015-2018 as a walk-on multis athlete. For her senior year, she became a student multis and jumps assistant coach, the same area where she coaches today.
Then she attended graduate school at Angelo State University, a long time rival of ACU track and field. While at Angelo State, she became a graduate assistant coach for the Ram’s track and field team.
After about a year of coaching for the Rams, a coaching position opened after the departure of Lance Bingham.
“I ended up getting a text from one of the volunteer coaches,” said Collett, “asking me if I was interested. It was not on my radar at first. If God opened the doors, which He did, I would go for it. Then another coach texted me and told me where to apply. So, I went forward with it and went through the application process, and here I am today.”
As a coach, Collett will not only focus on growing someone’s athletic potential but also to help them grow as a person.
“I want people to transcend,” said Collett. “My goal is to develop the whole person, mentally, physically and spiritually. But not only to maximize them physically and help them reach new heights and distances. I desire to maximize them as a person and whatever God has for their life and lead them to fully embrace that role.”
The Wildcats’ track and field athletes have already begun training for both outdoor and indoor seasons. Though many details about this season remain uncertain due to COVID-19, Cook is confident in his athletes and coaches to be ready to compete whenever the season begins.
“Our goal is to win the conference,” said Cook. “Southland is a tough conference, but I think that is the goal we should strive for, and it is going to take the full team to do that. We are pushing the team to strive for that, but also going beyond that goal. We want to be a top 30 team that reaches the national meet, and that is something I believe we are fully capable of.”