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Climbing the Coaching Ladder: Jeremey Gee

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Jeremey Gee
is in his third season as an assistant coach with the men's and women's track and field programs at Harvard. Gee is the recruiting coordinator and works primarily with the sprinters and horizontal jumping events.

Prior to joining the Crimson staff, Gee was the head track and field coach at his alma mater, El Camino High School for four years. Gee coached his teams to four San Diego section championships and was named “Coach of the Year” three times for the San Diego section and twice for the North County section.

Before coaching at El Camino, Gee was an assistant track coach for one of the top programs in California, James Logan High in Union City. James Logan hosts the annual Olympic Development Clinic, the largest learn-by-doing clinic in the nation, at which Gee was able to work with former Olympians and Olympic coaches. He made an immediate impact in the school and the community coaching some of California’s best athletes and organizing winter mini-clinics and summer camps for the local residents.

Gee is a 1998 graduate of the University of Nebraska at Kearney where he was the first African-American student to earn a B.S. in mathematics. Gee was a member of both the Lopers’ football and track and field squads. He was a four-year starter and all-conference athlete in football. In track, he was the team captain, three times all-conference selection in the jumping events and a member of two school recording holding relay teams.

After competing for the Lopers in the spring of 1999, he coached the horizontal jumpers for one season at his alma mater.

What inspired you to get involved in coaching?

I began as a high school math teacher and track and field Coach, interests of mine since my sophomore year in high school. I had several influential teachers and coaches in my life that inspired me to enter the field.

What was it that drew you to the Ivy League?

The timing was perfect. Being a full-time coach and math teacher consumed a lot of my time because of the commitment to excellence I wished to provide to all of my students and student-athletes, therefore I decided to only pursue one of the two. Several months later I got a phone call from Harvard's new head track coach [Jason Saretsky].

What are some things that were not expected, or have taken you by surprise so far here as a coach in the League?

The competitiveness of the League is what surprised me the most. Being from California, you don't hear much about Ivy League track and field, but I have enjoyed Ivy competitions thus far, especially the Heptagonal Championships.

Given the resources, what is something you would change with regards to your job?

If we had the resources I believe Ivy League track and field would benefit from traveling to compete in more meets outside the Northeast, showing the rest of the country that you can get a great athletic experience while receiving the best education.

What are some of your goals and aspirations?

I have several goals and aspirations but the two most related to my sport are to become a head coach and to coach an Olympian.

In regards to some of my more personal goals, I definitely want to get married and start a family. I really value the family ideal so that is something that's very important to me. Other than that, I'd just really like to be a good samaritan. Coming up, there were many people that stepped up and served as a positive influence in my life. I'd really like to pay that forward by becoming an advocate in the community.

Based on your experiences, what can you say to help improve opportunities for minorities in college athletic administration and coaching?

One of the big things I can say is to just keep your options open. I remember when Jason first called me up, I was like "Are you kidding me?" It was just one of those things where I had never been here, and didn't know anything about it, other than the name itself.

Truthfully, I did not think I'd feel comfortable, but once I got here I realized how good the community was, and the diversity and culture were better than I ever expected. I can imagine that a lot of other people — maybe minorities, in particular — that wouldn't consider applying for a coaching job at a place like Harvard because they had the same preconceived notions that I had. Coming from California, I just did not know what to expect and I assumed what it would be like. That mentality could have closed a door for me. But, as it turns out, Harvard is a place I've come to enjoy and I feel comfortable here.

I'd just tell an aspiring coach to get out there and investigate, take a visit and don't be afraid to see a new place.

The Ivy League takes great pride in honoring February as Black History month. For all of the inspiring stories about former athletes that helped shape movements within African-American history, please check out Ivy Black History.