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Reid helping to mold Clay

By Charles Whisnand

Appeal Sports Editor

Kevin Reid has struck a balance between old school and new school. And the end result could be a gold medal.

And the lessons that Reid learned that could lead to Bryan Clay winning a gold medal go back to his days at Carson High. Reid is doing something that he’s been doing ever since Clay stepped onto the campus of Azusa Pacific University in Southern California in 1999 and that’s overseeing Clay’s training.

If everything goes well Reid can claim later this summer that he’s the coach of the world’s greatest athlete. Reid, a 1983 Carson High graduate, has been the Azusa Pacific men’s track head coach since 1996.

Reid has led the Cougars to numerous NAIA national indoor and outdoor titles, including a sweep of those crowns this past season. Now he’s focusing full-time on his his latest task and that’s to help Clay win the gold medal in the decathlon at the Olympics in August.

The first step for Clay on his way to Olympic gold will come at the USA Track and Field Olympic Trials at the legendary Hayward Field at the University of Oregon in Eugene. Clay will compete in the trials on June 29 and 30 and will have to finish in the top three to qualify for the Olympics.

Clay has really been ahead of schedule. He took the silver medal in the decathlon at the 2004 Summer Olympics and won the 2005 World Championship. But Reid said 2008 was the expected big year for Clay.

“A lot of the goals we set up were about 2008,” said Reid while he was at the Azusa Pacific track on Tuesday overseeing Clay’s training. “Everything was kind of set up around 2008.”

Reid has put together a team of several coaches that oversees Clay’s training. “We have a whole team of coaches that I kind of oversee,” Reid said.

The coaching of Clay is a collaborative effort,” Reid said. “We all do the hands-on coaching part of it,” he said.

Reid said he knew better than to try to coach Clay all by himself. “I’m not thinking I know everything,” he said.

But Reid also said all the coaches, including himself, put their egos aside. “Everybody’s working together (with) one common goal and that’s a gold medal,” he said. “It’s a pretty unique dynamic.”

And while Reid is using all of the modern techniques in training Clay, he said nothing has really changed since he was at CHS and that Clay’s success will come down to good old-fashioned hard work.

Reid said he owes much of his philosophy to now-CHS athletic director Bob Bateman, who was the track coach when Reid was at Carson. Reid said Bateman showed him the “old school way. You just worked hard when you’re supposed to and rested when you’re supposed to. It was just a lot of hard running we were not happy with.”

Clay is going through a similar type of training that Bateman put him through, Reid said. “It’s really no different than what he did with us in the early 80s and that was just a lot of hard work,” Reid said. “There’s a lot of what I learned as an athlete when I was in high school.”

When he heard that Bateman was named athletic director, Reid said, “It made me happy because of who he is and what direction he’ll take that program.”

Clay is looking forward to the trials because he’s always competed well at Eugene,” Reid said. “He’s very, very fit,” Reid said.

During Tuesday’s workout, an NBC crew was there to shoot footage of Clay to use during its Olympic coverage, a distraction that Reid said he and his coaches and Clay have learned to handle. “You just expect it,” Reid said. “It goes with the territory.”

The only difference is this is an Olympic year, so Clay is receiving attention here in the United States that he normally doesn’t receive. Normally the attention he receives comes oversees in places like Europe. “He’s a superstar over there,” Reid said.