Assistant coach Henry Rolle may have something to do with that.
During his 15-year tenure, the Bahamian national is credited with training 18 NCAA champions, two NCAA record-holders, two NCAA Athletes of the Year and 87 All-Americans in sprinting, jumping and hurdling.
Now, Rolle will be making his second Olympic appearance this summer in London after being named head relay coordinator for the Bahamas.
As head relay coordinator, the two-time Bahamas Athletics Association Coach of the Year is tasked with selecting athletes for the men’s and women’s 4x100 and 4x400 relays that give them the best chance to win a medal.
Rolle has some searching to do as his team will compete with the speed of the U.S. and Jamaica.
Of course, they have to qualify first.
“That’s the first thing, is to get all four relays qualified,” Rolle said. “But we have a great chance in the women’s 4x100 and men’s 4x400.”
In order to qualify, the team must rank in the top 16 internationally.
The first qualifying tournament is the Penn Relays in Philadelphia April 26.
There will then be several regional and international meets and four or five relay competitions leading up to the Olympic games, Rolle said.
From there, Rolle picks the best four runners and puts them on the track.
Before the qualifying begins, however, Rolle said he hopes to hold a relay camp in Auburn prior to the Penn Relays.
Rolle is no stranger to putting athletes on the podium.
Lauded for his accomplishments on the collegiate level, Rolle’s track record on the world stage has been equally impressive, having coached 15 Olympic athletes in his career.
In his first Olympics appearance at the 2004 Games in Athens, Greece, Rolle was an assistant coach in charge of sprints as the Bahamas captured gold and bronze medals in the women’s 400- and 200-meter sprints, respectively.
In addition, Rolle has coached nine World Championship medalists and a junior world record-holder.
This year Rolle is looking to take the gold, but the orange and blue will follow him there.
A bronze medalist in the triple-jump in 2008, Bahamian and former Auburn standout Leevan Sands, has been with Rolle since 2003 and still trains with him in Auburn as he prepares for his third Olympics.
“Coach Rolle definitely looks out for the athletes and does what it takes to get you to the level you need to be,” Sands said.
“He has coached me to win from NCAA to World Championship medalist to Olympic medalist. He’s one of the greatest coaches out there.”
Another Auburn graduate, sprinter Sheniqua Ferguson, will also be representing the Bahamas this summer in her second Olympic showing. She is also currently training at Auburn’s facilities alongside Rolle and Sands.
“He’s one of the reasons I decided to come here in ‘09 because I saw the athletes he had been producing, and I don’t plan on leaving,” said Ferguson, the 2010 SEC Female Runner of the Year.
Even with qualifying looming and the possibility of competing against Jamaica’s Usain Bolt in the men’s 4x400, Rolle remains confident in his team’s chances.
“If everybody’s healthy and runs well, the goal is always to first make the finals, and if you make the finals you give yourself every opportunity to win a medal,” Rolle said.
Besides winning a national championship at Auburn, Rolle is focused on another goal besides just winning the gold.
“My ultimate goal is obviously to win another national championship at Auburn, but having coached every medal there is to win, now my goal is to coach a world record-holder,” Rolle said. “And here at Auburn, I have talent where they can put themselves in that situation.”
The relay competitions begin August 9 with the first round of the men’s 4x400.