O’Brian Bridges joins Transylvania track and field staff as assistant coach

O'Brian Bridges

Lexington, Ky. – The Transylvania track and field team has added O'Brian Bridges to its staff as an assistant coach ahead of the 2020 season, Transylvania track and field head coach Matthew Roden announced Tuesday.

Bridges, who carries nearly a decade of track and field coaching experience at both the collegiate and high school level, joins Roden's new staff after most recently coaching at Bryan Station High School in Lexington.

"I am extremely excited to announce O'Brian Bridges as a new addition to our coaching staff," stated Roden. "O'Brian brings years of experience at the highest collegiate level, both as a coach and an athlete. He has a proven track record of training athletes to their full potential and achieving new personal bests in the sprints and hurdles. His addition will make a huge impact on our focus in achieving new heights as a program."

From 2013 through 2018, Bridges served as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Eastern Kentucky University in nearby Richmond, Kentucky. His tenure with the EKU track and field program preceded his most recent coaching stint at Bryan Station where Bridges was the sprints coach in 2018-19.

Bridges stamped his winning imprint at Bryan Station, leading the Defenders girls' track and field team to a KTCCCA indoor state championship in 2019 while coaching individual state champions in the boys' 400 meters and the girls' 4 x 400-meter relay.

During the 2019 season, Bridges coached 11 KTCCCA indoor All-State performances, including the Bryan Station boys' 60-meter dash record-setter (6.91 s). At the conclusion of the 2019 indoor season, one of Bridges' athletes qualified for the New Balance National Indoor Championships in the boys' 60 meters.

Bridges guided the Defenders to eight KHSAA All-State performances in the 2019 outdoor season, including the KHSAA state runner-up in the boys' 100 meter and 200 meter championships. New records in the boys' 100 meter and 200 meter races were also broken in 2019 under Bridges' guidance.

At Eastern Kentucky, Bridges engineered a pattern of tremendous success for his student-athletes, working primarily with sprinters, jumpers, and multi-athletes. Bridges developed former walk-on Tequan Claitt into one of the top high jumpers in the country, who eventually shattered EKU's 35-year old record in the high jump. Claitt's record-setting jump of 7-5.75 at the Hilltopper relays ranked number 2 in the world in 2017, qualifying him for the USATF Outdoor Championships in California.

Under Bridges' tutelage, Claitt finished fifth in the high jump at the 2018 NCAA Indoor Championships in College Station, Texas, becoming the program's first indoor first-team All-American in over a decade. With Bridges, Claitt won five Ohio Valley Conference high jump gold medals and became the first Colonel to be selected as the OVC Male Field Athlete of the Year, winning back-to-back honors in 2017 and 2018.

Other EKU athletes under Bridges who excelled were Yoshua Reed and Liz Marcinek; Reed became the first EKU male athlete ever to win an OVC gold in the decathlon and went on to win four more OVC multi gold medals in his career while Marcinek tied the EKU record in the women's long jump in April 2017.

Bridges' coaching career began in his hometown of Sharon, Pennsylvania where he served as an assistant coach for sprints and hurdles at Sharon High School. While at Sharon High, Bridges coached three athletes to the PIAA State Track and Field Championships, one in the boys' 300-meter hurdles and two others in the 400 meters. Bridges helped coach a 4 x 400-meter relay team to third place at the state championships.

Bridges competed as a collegiate athlete at EKU from 2003 until 2007 where he established a storied career. As a senior, Bridges ran the fastest indoor 60-meter time in the OVC and was a multiple-time scorer at the OVC Championships throughout his career. In 2007, Bridges placed third in the 100 meters championships at the OVC outdoors and was a member of the conference champion 4 x 100-meter relay team, the latter of which went on to qualify for the NCAA Regionals that season. He also took fourth in the indoor 60 meters at both the 2007 and 2005 OVC Indoor Championships.

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