NEW ORLEANS – Carson-Newman track & field assistant coach Tyler Stepp was honored Monday afternoon by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association by being named the Southeast Region Assistant Indoor Track & Field Coach of the Year.
The first-year assistant and Jefferson City-native coached nine Eagles to All-Region honors during the indoor season in field events. He is the only first-year coach to be named Regional Assistant Coach of the Year.
"I think it just shows where we are trying to go as a program. I think it is a great award. I'm very pleased, obviously, to get it, but I think it speaks volumes about who we are and where we are going as a program," Stepp said. "I have such a great staff around me and great athletes who work with me. It makes my job pretty easy."
Stepp was a decorated collegiate athlete as well. During his junior and season seasons at East Tennessee State University, he was named second-team All-America in the long jump and he also won three Atlantic Sun Conference titles. As a student at nearby Jefferson County High School, Stepp was a two-time Nike All-American.
But when asked, this award stands out more to Stepp than any of his individual accomplishments.
"This is absolutely my favorite because it feels so much more like a team award to me. I absolutely couldn't have done this without my staff and the administrators who have been so great and so supportive and the athletes," Stepp said. "It's just been so wonderful. This being a team goal and track being somewhat of an individual sport, this just means so much to me that we did this together."
Tyler is not the only member of the Stepp family to be awarded by the USTFCCCA on Monday. His brother, Tanner, was named the Southeast Region's Indoor Field Athlete of the Year.
"It's special. I knew Tanner and I had a chance to do some special things when he decided he was going to come to Carson-Newman and I found out I was going to have the opportunity also. I knew Tanner had a lot of potential," Stepp said of his brother. "He did great in high school. He had a great career, but I felt there was a lot on the table that he had a lot left in the tank. Coming to Carson-Newman, I knew I had an unique opportunity to work with him because I am going to hold him to a higher standard, but also I felt like I could help eliminate some of the injuries and things that he had in his high school career.
I thought if we worked it right it could be a good thing and it has proven to be so far."