Brittney Reese Doubles As World Champion And College Graduate

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM Reese is a two-time world champion and four-time U.S. champion
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM
Reese is a two-time world champion and four-time U.S. champion
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM

July 7, 2011

By Natalie Myers
Ole Miss Athletics Media Relations student assistant


When Gulfport High School's track and field team was in need of a long jumper, Brittney Reese's coach was hesitant to let her try out. Reese was already involved in six other events, and adding long jump to the list did not seem like an option.

But Reese was persistent about trying out, and all it took was one jump for Reese to be pulled from the 400 meters and tabbed as the school's new long jumper.

Fast forward nine years. Reese stands out as probably the best female track and field athlete in Ole Miss history. She participated in the 2008 Olympics and earned the 2009 and 2010 World Championship in the long jump.

The world-class athlete, who once chose basketball over track at Gulf Coast Community College, recently captured her fourth straight U.S. national title in the long jump to firmly establish herself as one of the best in the event in the country's history.

Despite all her accomplishments, the 24-year-old still has more dreams and aspirations for her career. Although she has medals, trophies and world titles to justify all her hard work, she continues to train every day for the 2012 Olympics. She is testing her own limits by trying to beat her personal long jump record of 7.19 meters that she set at the 2011 USA Outdoor Championships - which happened to be the best jump in the world this year.

Reese accomplished one of her greatest goals, however, when she returned to Ole Miss this past spring semester to complete her degree. She graduated in May with a bachelor's degree in English and a minor in psychology.

"Getting your degree is a serious matter because what if you get hurt?" Reese posed. "What are you going to fall back on? A lot of kids now are turning pro when they really don't have to, and professionals are not going anywhere."

Throughout her successful career as an athlete, Reese says she always knew she was going to finish her degree.

"It was kind of tough sitting out, coming back, sitting out and coming back, but I'm glad I finally finished," Reese said about completing her degree. With the cooperation of the University's English and Psychology departments, and her determination, Reese proved to be just as successful in the classroom as she is on the track.

Reese also had the support from her mother, Carla Young, and her coach, Joe Walker, when returning to the classroom.

Walker, who just completed his 29th year at the helm of the Ole Miss program and has served as Reese's personal coach since she went pro after the 2008 season, describes Reese as a humble person, a fierce competitor and one of the best he's ever coached.

"Brittney is a great Ole Miss track alum and represents us well," her coach said with pride.

Walker believes it was important for Reese to finish her degree, saying that obtaining an education is why any athlete would accept a scholarship to a university and that athletics is just a bonus. "You can only do athletics for so long," he said.

Reese does not believe this is the end of the road for her education. She has contemplated attending graduate school or possibly pursuing an additional bachelor's degree in psychology. However, that is something that may have to wait until her long jump career has ended.

Reese's advice to anyone who wants to pursue a career in athletics is to never let that dream override your education. She said that even if someone is currently a professional athlete, they can still get their degree.

"It can be done, and I'm living proof."

Ole Miss Gear
    Facebook
    Twitter
    Blog
    • The Season: Ole Miss Football Episode 8

      Wednesday, October 22, 2014 - Football

      The Season: Ole Miss Football - Episode 8 - Tennessee (2014) from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more

    • Freeze, Miles Talk Ole Miss-LSU Rivalry

      Wednesday, October 22, 2014 - Football

      Highlights from Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze and LSU head coach Les Miles on the SEC teleconference Wednesday, ahead of Saturday's game in Baton Rouge.For the full SEC teleconference, go here.Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze (starts at 1:06:12... read more

    • Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (Oct. 13-19)

      Monday, October 20, 2014 - Athletics

      Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewOct. 13-19, 2014Football- Ole Miss rode its dominant defense to a 34-3 homecoming win over Tennessee on Saturday to improve to 7-0 overall and 4-0 in Southeastern Conference play.- The Rebels are 7-0 for just... read more

    • Observations from the Best Seat in the House -- Oct. 19

      Sunday, October 19, 2014 - Athletics

      It's Sunday, so that means it's time for this week's Observations from the Best Seat in the House. There was no shortage of observations surrounding the Homecoming festivities this weekend. Let's get into it:1. When "College GameDay" visits Baton Rouge,... read more

    • Winning Formula for Rebels is No Secret

      Saturday, October 18, 2014 - Football

      The winning formula revealed itself as it has throughout the season: a dominant defense and a mistake-free offense. The Ole Miss defense forced four turnovers, while the Ole Miss offense did not commit a single turnover in a workmanlike 34-3... read more

    • VIDEO: Ole Miss-Tennessee Motivational

      Saturday, October 18, 2014 - Football

      Ole Miss vs Tennessee Official Team Motivational from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more

    • Three and Out: Keys to Ole Miss-Tennessee

      Saturday, October 18, 2014 - Football

      Three areas to watch as No. 3 Ole Miss faces Tennessee for Homecoming on Saturday.'Third Down for What'Tennessee is very dangerous, Ole Miss football head coach Hugh Freeze said, because its talented, particularly if it gets momentum and confidence during... read more

    • SEC Nation Talent Talks Ole Miss on Visit

      Friday, October 17, 2014 - Football

      Highlights from today's media opportunity with SEC Nation host Joe Tessitore and analysts Tim Tebow and Marcus Spears discussing the show's visit to Oxford for the SEC matchup between No. 3 Ole Miss and Tennessee. Tessitore recalls calling the first college... read more

    • What They're Saying: Midseason Honors

      Friday, October 17, 2014 - Football

      At the halfway point of the regular season, Ole Miss is 6-0 for the first time since 1962, when it went 10-0 and earned a share of the national title. It's No. 3 ranking in the national polls is its... read more

    • Rebels Slow Offensive Tempo

      Thursday, October 16, 2014 - Football

      With a dominant defense that ranks among the nation's leaders in most statistical categories, head coach Hugh Freeze acknowledged he has changed his offensive philosophy and play-calling to limit negative plays and quick possessions. Ole Miss averaged the second-most offensive... read more

    • The Season: Ole Miss Football Episode 7

      Wednesday, October 15, 2014 - Football

      The Season: Ole Miss Football - Episode 7 - Texas A&M (2014) from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more

    • Freeze Talks Defense, Tennessee

      Wednesday, October 15, 2014 - Football

      Highlights from Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze and Tennessee head coach Butch Jones on the SEC teleconference Wednesday, ahead of Saturday's game in Oxford. For the full SEC teleconference, go here. Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze (starts at... read more

    • VIDEO: Studio 18 Live 10.15.14

      Wednesday, October 15, 2014 - Athletics

      read more

    • VIDEO: 'Can't Be Denied' Hype Video

      Wednesday, October 15, 2014 - Football

      read more

    • VIDEO: Bo Wallace on The Dan Patrick Show

      Tuesday, October 14, 2014 - Football

      read more