Reese is a two-time world champion and four-time U.S. champion
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.
Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewSept. 15-21, 2014Volleyball- Ole Miss went 4-0 to capture the Rebel Classic and improve to 14-0 on the season.- Through four weeks of the season, the Rebels have equaled last year's win total (14-17).- Sophomore... read more
This is the fourth installment of Observations from the Best Seat in the House. The idea of this weekly feature will be to bring you all some of our observations from the previous week in Ole Miss Sports. This week... read more
The Ole Miss Volleyball team remained undefeated at 14-0 and matched last year's win total with a 4-0 weekend at the Rebel Classic capped by wins over Lamar (3-0) and Jackson State (3-1) Saturday. The last three sets against Jackson... read more
The Season: Ole Miss Football - Episode 4 - ULL (2014) from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.In case you missed it, The Season: Ole Miss Football Episode 1, The Season: Ole Miss Football Episode 2 and The Season: Ole Miss... read more
Highlights from Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze's time on the SEC teleconference Wednesday, ahead of the Rebels' open date and return to action on Saturday, Sept. 27 against Memphis.Freeze's time on the call begins at the 1:50:18 mark. For the... read more
NASCAR driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr., visited Ole Miss on Wednesday. The Olive Branch, Mississippi, native spoke to various student groups, including the football team. Stenhouse Jr. presented head coach Hugh Freeze with a firesuit, and Freeze presented him with an... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewSept. 8-14, 2014Volleyball- Ole Miss captured the Magnolia Invitational this past weekend to improve to 10-0, its best start in school history.- The Rebels downed UAB and Mercer 3-0 and then defeated Jacksonville State 3-1... read more
After a 56-15 win over Louisiana-Lafayette Saturday, Ole Miss moved up four spots to No. 10 in the latest Associated Press poll, released on Sunday. Despite breaking into the top 10, the Rebels remain fifth among Southeastern Conference Western Division... read more
This is the third installment of Observations from the Best Seat in the House. The idea of this weekly feature will be to bring you all some of our observations from the previous week in Ole Miss Sports. This week... read more
Leading 1-0 after controlling the play for much of the game, Ole Miss opened up a 3-0 lead on Middle Tennessee with a pair of goals in the final minute of the first half on the way to a 4-0... read more
Senior cornerback Senquez Golson has come a long way since he was a freshman. That season, he was most notably on the receiving end of a highlight reel juke from Alabama running back Trent Richardson. Three years later, as part... read more
Three areas to watch as Ole Miss faces Louisiana-Lafayette in its home opener Saturday. Wearing the Bull's-Eye After a 2-0 start with wins over Boise State and Vanderbilt, Ole Miss moved up to No. 14 in the Associated Press poll,... read more
With a chance to make history, Ole Miss dropped a first set for the first time this season. The Rebels answered the bell winning the next three sets to defeat Jacksonville State 3-1 and improve to 10-0 on the season,... read more