Jamaicans land US coaching jobs
Kaymarie Jones and Kimour Bruce, two former national representatives at the youth level, are the latest Jamaicans to land head coaching positions in athletics at universities in the United States, and they believe there is a market for former athletes who studied in the States to coach in America.
Jones, who was recently named head cross country and track and field coach at Winston Salem State University (WSSU) in North Carolina, said former student-athletes who have interest in coaching could use their connections locally to recruit athletes for their schools in order to get their foot in the door.
"Once you are finished studying and are not connected to your school (where you were awarded an athletics scholarship) in a way that you would be violating the NCAA rules, a way to get your foot in the door is to work with the university to get new recruits from Jamaica," Jones explained.
The former Vere Technical High School athlete said this was the path she took to secure a career in coaching at the collegiate level after she graduated from Adam State University in New Mexico.
"You have to set up yourself after college like being a graduate assistant, where you would assist the coach of the track team, and then you can branch out," Jones said. "After graduate school and a year being a professional, I got the Job at New Mexico Island University to be the assistant coach, and then I applied for the position here (WSSU) and I got it."
BUILDING FROM SCRATCH
Bruce, who was part of the resurgence of the sprint factory at Camperdown in the early 2000s with star sprinter Romaldo Rose, is tasked with building a programme from scratch at Newberry College in South Carolina. Like Jones, Bruce worked as an assistant before landing his job.
"Relationship is a major part of it. You have to make relationships with the people who you knew from your running days," said Bruce, who did his undergraduate studies at Lincoln University, Missouri, and his graduate studies at Adam State University. "Also, you need to have master's to be able to get a coaching position here in America. It makes you more marketable."
And now that they are in positions to do so, Jones and Bruce, who benefited from coaches recruiting in Jamaica, will be looking to continue giving student-athletes the option of studying in America.
"Now that I have leverage to recruit from Jamaica, I will be coming to Champs. My priority as a coach is to help at least one Jamaican per year. I will be going to Champs and the Christmas camps to get that going," Jones said.