Posted by: Joe English | November 29, 2008

Track and Field: Dwayne Miller named 2008 Nike Coach of the Year

usatf_logoINDIANAPOLIS – Dwayne Miller, who coached LaShawn Merritt to two gold medals at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, has been named the 2008 Nike Coach of the Year by USA Track & Field. Miller will be honored on Saturday, December 6 at the Jesse Owens Awards and Hall of Fame Induction Ceremon, held in conjunction with USA Track & Field’s 2008 Annual Meeting.

Merritt dominated the men’s 400 meters at the Olympic Games, winning the event in a world-leading and personal best 43.75. Merritt also ran the lead-off leg for the men’s 4x400m relay that brought home the gold medal in an Olympic-record time of 2:55.39.

In one of the most anticipated finals of the Olympics, the men’s 400m,Merritt had a one-step lead over 2004 Olympic gold medalist and two-time World champion Jeremy Wariner coming off the final turn. He extended that lead with his powerful stride and decimated the field down the final straight. His margin of victory, .99 seconds, is the largest in Olympic history for the event.

The duels between Merritt and Wariner were among the competitive highlights for the sport in 2008. In seven meetings, Merritt won four races and Warinerthree. Merritt’s wins came in Berlin (44.03), the Olympic Trials (44.00), the Olympic Games (43.75) and the World Athletics Final (44.50).

Miller has been coaching Merritt since the summer following his junior year of high school. By the end of his senior year, Merritt had won six indoor and outdoor Virginia state championships. He won national scholastic indoor and outdoor titles in the 200 and 400 and was named Gatorade national high school boys’ track athlete of the year.

Since 1991, Miller has been a coach with the Norfolk Real Deal Track Club. In 2004, Miller was named USOC Developmental Coach of the Year for mentoring hundreds of youth as head coach and co-director of the club. His athletes included 17 national champions and 40 All-Americans … and one LaShawn Merritt. It was ’04 that Merritt won three gold medals at the 2004 World Junior Championships, including the 400 meters, and anchored Team USA to world junior records in the 4×100 and 4x400m relays.

In 2008, to prepare LaShawn for the Olympic Games, Miller quit his full-time job at WHRO-TV to focus on Merritt.

“It is no secret that behind every great athlete is a great coach,” USATF CEO Doug Logan said. “We salute Coach Miller for guiding LaShawn through the pressure-packed Olympic year and claiming the ultimate prize.”

“Dwayne enjoyed one of his finest seasons in 2008, and Nike is pleased to present this award to such a deserving coach,” said John Capriotti, Global Sports Marketing Director for Nike. “Dwayne and LaShawn have been working together for a long time going back to their days when Merritt was in high school, and they have had amazing results from the three gold medals at the World Junior Championships to the two medals in Osaka to the two Olympic gold medals in Beijing.”

Source: USATF
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