The Redbirds look to improve on last week's success.
ISU captures four top-five relay finishes.
Morgan Keller wins her first collegiate event as a Redbird.
The Redbirds look to compete against top competitors this weekend.
Multiple athletes notch personal-best marks at Big Blue.
ISU Track & Field - MVC Indoor Championships
Brittany Smith Earns Second-Team All-America Honors
Leigh Petranoff Earns All-American Honors
GoRedbirds.com features a interview with head Redbird track & field coach Elvis Forde, as he talks about the first day of practice.
Day 1 at the 2013 MVC Outdoor Championships
Elvis Forde is no stranger to success on the track and field circuit. A former All-American and conference coach of the year, Forde's years of experience, both running on the track and shaping student-athletes, have proven he knows how to push programs to a higher and successful level.
Forde enters his ninth season as Illinois State's head track and field coach. The native of St. Andrew, Barbados, is committed to taking his student-athletes to new levels of achievement and success.
For the past four seasons, Forde and his coaching staff have built a strong foundation for the ISU track and field program. The women's team has had success in several areas of the program. Brittany Smith qualified for the NCAA National Championship in the shot put and qualified for the Junior World Championships, along with Sade Sealy who represents Barbados. The distance squad continues to make strides for the Redbirds. The sprinters, hurdlers and jumpers bring a lot of depth to the women's squad. The men have struggled over the past few years, but have the skills they need to succeed and should continue to improve in the Valley this season with several men qualifying for the NCAA Regional and Tim Glover, who qualified for the NCAA Championships. A lot is expected from this year's squad. It is helpful to look at the past and learn from it, but Forde is looking forward to many successful seasons to come. This past season freshman Sade Sealy won the MVC Indoor and Outdoor 400-meter dash titles, while establishing school records in each event.
A true sprinter at heart, Forde works closely with the men's and women's sprinters and hurdlers. Two-time Missouri Valley Conference Female Athlete of the Year recipient Devon Williams amassed 11 conference titles and set school and Valley Championship records in the 60-meter dash, as well as school records in the indoor and outdoor 60-, 100- and 200-meter dashes in her four years at ISU.
Forde took over the helm of Illinois State's track and field program August 2002, after a successful 13-year stint as head track and field/cross country coach at Austin Peay. While at Austin Peay, he was named the 2001 Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) Coach of the Year. During his time at APSU, he coached four academic All-Americans, an NCAA Outdoor All-American, and OVC Indoor Female Co-Athlete of the Year, an OVC Indoor Track and Field Female Athlete of the Year and an OVC Outdoor Track and Field Female Athlete of the Year.
Forde was just as successful during his collegiate running days, becoming a four-time NCAA All-American, a two-time USA Track and Field National Indoor champion. Forde's relay team still holds a number of SIU-C records.
Forde's collegiate career began at Murray State and finished at Southern Illinois. At Murray State, Forde was runner up in the 600-yards at the 1982 NCAA Indoor Championships earning All-American honors. He earned multiple All-America awards while running for the Salukis. In 1984, Forde was a member of Southern Illinois' 1,600-meter relay team that set the NCAA record in both the indoor (3:07.15) and outdoor (3:00.78) competitions. As a senior, Forde was named Southern Illinois' Outstanding Student-Athlete.
The SIU-C Alumnus was the men's 400-meter champion at the 1984 Missouri Valley Conference Outdoor Championships, running a 45.91, a time that would have won all but three of the subsequent MVC titles since then and won the MVC Indoor Championship in the 600-yard dash.
After his collegiate career, Forde became a member of the national team for his native Barbados and competed in the 1984 Los Angeles and 1988 Seoul Olympics. In both 1986 and 1987, he won the National Indoor Championships at 600 yards. He still holds the Barbados' national record in the 400-meter dash.
His determination and drive was what pushed him into the national spotlight from 1982-88. Forde's individual accomplishments during those years paid off in 1995, when he was inducted into the Southern Illinois Athletics Hall of Fame. According to Forde, it was a unique honor, since he was a Saluki for just two years.
"When you think of all the great athletes that have gone to Southern Illinois and spent four years there, it is humbling because I wasn't even there for four years," said Forde.
Forde expects bigger and better performances from the women's team this year from cross country to the indoor and outdoor track seasons. The optimism stems from the number of returning student-athletes and the quality of the freshmen. Forde is expecting the teams to contend for the MVC championships this year.
With the student-athletes understanding the work and commitment it takes to be a champion athlete, Forde feels this season will be one to remember. By being fundamentally sound, assignment correct and mentally tough, the Redbirds will be successful.
Forde and his wife, Beverley, and their two children reside in Normal, Ill. His daughter, Chanté, attends Heartland Community College, and son, Kevin is a junior at Illinois State and member of the track and field and cross country team.