Robby Atkinson / Special to the Star
The Meridian Star
The Meridian Community College Eagles have always been competitive in all of its sports for the past 20 years, but one sport will be making a grand return to campus in the next year. The MCC track and field program will return in the fall of 2014 after several years of absence and its success is unmatched. The track and field program at Meridian Community College has produced three National Championships at one point during its history and two Olympians.
MCC captured its first National Championship in school history with a Division I Cross Country title in 1995, and followed with a pair of Division I Indoor Track National Championships in 1996 and 1997. The MCC track and field program also produced two athletes that eventually compete in the Summer Olympic Games. Coby Miller competed in the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games and Miguel Pate competed in the 2008 Olympic Games.
The MCC track and field program later dissolved, but is being resurrected under new leadership with the hiring of Chip Gayden as the new coach.
Gayden is originally from Memphis, TN and graduated college from Ole Miss with a degree in Journalism. Gayden brings a long track record of being a part of championship teams through his short coaching career. Gayden started his coaching career at a young age as the assistant track and field coach at Christian Brothers High School (his alma mater) in Memphis, TN from 2006-2010.
During his time at Christian Brothers, Gayden was also attending Ole Miss and served as the team manager during his first season in Oxford. Gayden paid his dues at Ole Miss and eventually served as a volunteer assistant coach and eventually moved to a full time assistant role by his third season. Gayden had the opportunity to coach under legendary track coach Joe Walker Jr. while on staff. Local fans might also remember that his son was the first ever track and field coach at MCC during the success of the 1990’s. Gayden played a huge role in the development of Isiah Young and Brittney Reese who eventually competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics. Reese eventually captured the Gold Medal during the Summer Olympics in the Long Jump.
Gayden made two more stops before coming to Meridian and one of those stops produced a National Championship at the junior college level. Gayden was a part of the coaching staff at Iowa Central Community College this past season that won the Cross Country National Championship. Gayden was most recently on the staff at the University of Memphis before being hired recently as the new track and field coach at MCC.
I had the opportunity to spend some time with Gayden recently and he has such a passion for the sport. His success is proven and the drive to win at MCC is very clear. Gayden is currently working tireless hours putting the pieces of the puzzle together to build the program for his first season next year, but recruiting never stops for any coach. MCC is very excited about the addition of track and field and Coach Gayden , and we know the community will embrace both for years to come.