GRAMBLING, La (KTAL/KMSS) – In this week’s Coach’s Corner we hear from Grambling legend, Bertram Lovell, who earned a spot on the 1968 and 1972 Olympic Teams for Trinidad and Tobago. After Competing in the games, he found himself as a Grambling student athlete, running the 100-meter and 200-meter dash for the tigers from 1974-1977. Now he serves as the head coach for Men’s and Women’s Cross Country and Track.
EmmaKate Few | NBC 6 Sports
Being an international student that ended up at Grambling, how does that help you when recuriting as a coach now. How do you convince people that Grambling is the best fit and do you can use your experiences as an example?
Bertram Lovell | Grambling Track and Cross Country Head Coach
“I like to let them know that I came all the way from overseas and have accomplished certain things in life. When you are here and coming as an International Student, you can do the same because someone looked out for me while I was at Grambling. There is life after athletics, you cannot run all the days of your life, you cannot play sports all the days of your life. You’ve got to have something to fall back on.”
“Now you have won coach of the year, thirty plus times, 36 total SWAC Championships, obviously you are doing something right. What’s your message to your team that keeps them winning year after year?”
“Well I always tell them that I think track and field, along with swimming, are the two hardest sports out there because even though they are called a team sport, there is not really a team. Its really a lot of individuals that produce different things. The thing about it is you really have to buy into the philosophy. They have got to buy into what you want to do and what you are trying to accomplish. That’s how you become champions.”
“You had all of these offers, you’re coming out of the Olympics, and you decided you are going to go persue running and use this scholarship to get your education. So why Grambling? What made Grambling stand out amongst all of these offers?”
“While at the Olympics, I was close with guys like John Carlos, Tommie Smith, Gerald Tinker, etc. I really wanted to go to San Jose State with John Carlos and Tommie Smith, but John Carlos told me that if I went there, I would never graduate. I asked why, and he asked me if I had money to finish school after my elegibility’s up and I said no. That’s when he asked me, what black universities have offered you a scholarship? And the first name I called was Grambling. So he told me, go to Grambling. “
“So after you ran in the Olympics, then you decided you were going to go get an education, correct? Is that the timeline?”
“I decided I was crazy about this young lady. I was through running and wanted to marry the young lady…. but she said no. I just thought I had accomplished what I told my grandfather I would accomplish because he was the one that really was important to me. He started me off running. When I became kind of good with track and field, we always used to go to the different Virgin Islands and run during the year at different meets. This particular meet, when I became good enough that I was invited to go to this track meet, what they did is they sent me two free plane tickets. I decided I was going to take my grandfather because he had never seen me run and that afternoon, he was sitting there with his hand proped by the side of his chin, just the same way I left him, cold as ever and he had passed away. I took a kneel next to him and I make a promise to him that I was going to be the best in the country, I was going to go to the Olympic games, and I was going to do this and different things. I lived up to that promise.”