Montavious Coleman | Decatur, GA
Former Morehouse College Track Athlete
Written by Malik Brown
I'm still a student getting my master's but I'm also a physical education teacher at Southwest Dekalb High School where I serve as a strength coach for all sports. I’m also an assistant track coach.
Community means everything to me. I got active in the community when I was going to Rainbow, and I was right across the street from Southwest Dekalb. They always came to my school when we had our little drug free pep rallies and I would see the football players. The blue and gold uniforms and my granddad taking me to games was kind of an attraction. Being in that community was an attraction for me and all the great sports athletes that came from that community that stuck around and coached through my times in middle school at Chapel Hill, and then going into high school. It was always a close knit community, and that high school stood for greatness in the southeast part of Dekalb County.
Travis Harris was our coach at Chapel Hill middle school, and he was a legend at Southwest Dekalb. He went to University of Florida and played for the Miami Dolphins and the Tennessee Titans. He was like our Black God. He owns a couple of businesses in Atlanta. He was kind of like the pioneer for us in my generation, seeing him come back with nice cars and things of that nature.
I started playing sports as a young child playing football. I think about every young child that was a boy that played football. I got into track and field in middle school. My coach, coach Sheppard, wanted me to do the Shot put when I was in the seventh grade. So I got involved through her seeing that vision in me. I wasn't good technically in middle school and seventh eighth grade doing Shot put, and I was probably the worst one. I kind of stuck with it as I got into high school, and I started doing some great things.
Sports mean everything to me. I think sports teaches kids and adults responsibility because it’s something that you want to do in life, so you have to be accountable and responsible for your actions if you want to succeed. If you don't want to succeed or if you're not good, it shows in your work ethic. So whatever you put in, you'll get out, whether that’s going to work, school or anything you want to get in. I used those same concepts through life and that kind of helped me get into sports and be able to go through something organized. Seeing something disorganized, winning, losing, I was learning all those things through sports instead of not loving them at all and then experiencing them as an adult. I felt like I had the upper hand.
I knew in high school what I wanted to be. The only sports goal I had was to go to the Olympics. That's the highest pinnacle and track and field that you can go to. If that wasn't gonna happen, I knew that I wanted to come back to my community and be a coach. That was instilled in me from eleventh and twelfth grade to when I was at Morehouse doing sports. I understood my assignment, and I wanted to come back to be a coach. I had to be a PE teacher of some sort, so I kind of navigated my pathway towards that.
My first trainer was Kevin Wilson, he's a Southwest Dekalb and UGA alum. He's like one of my brothers now. I also worked with a guy by the name of Ted. I was seeing how we lacked so many fundamental things on the East side when it comes to training, and kids were unknowledgeable at working out. A lot of the stuff on the East side was just kids being superior athletes, so I wanted to take it upon myself to actually learn what personal training was, and then when I went to Morehouse, I kind of indulged more into strength and conditioning, which is the upper scale of personal training. When you go and play sports at a college, you have a strength and conditioning coach, not a personal trainer. It's a lot more work and it's a lot more knowledge. The biggest thing with that is I just wanted to give my students and my athletes a way to actually train the appropriate way without doing crazy stuff and getting hurt.
That was the biggest thing for me because I got hurt at Morehouse, and we didn't have the fundamental training there. We didn't have a strength and conditioning coach. I got introduced to a strength and conditioning coach when I was there named Jason, who was a professor at Georgia State, and I went to his program and it made me realize I always knew I wanted to be into training, but I wanted to move to strength and conditioning. It's more work, it's more knowledge on scientific stuff, and you have aspects of personal training, but it's just more in detail. That's why I knew I wanted to go that route as soon as possible, and it aligned with what I did with track and field.
When you mentor the right way, it means a lot. Me being a mentor, I kind of show my students and my athletes my failures. I'm not a guy that's going to mentor you through all the right things. I want to let you understand that sometimes you have to not listen and witness stuff for yourself, and then be able to come back and I can tell you, “Yeah, I told you that you were Tgoing to do that.” But you have to go through there to get better. Growing up, I saw a lot of mentors trying to paint the perfect life.
As a mentor, I always try to teach my kids the wins and losses, not just the wins. The biggest thing is just seeing my kids adapt to that. A lot of my mentees adapt to the wins and losses, and they come back and say, “Dang, coach, I remember you told me that.” I still try to have mentors at this age to where I can say, “Hey, I'm going down this path. I want to do it this way.” But I know there's going be a lesson behind it. I still want to be able to still educate myself. Even though I'm mentoring, I still need to go to my mentors, and that's the biggest joy for me.
Creative Direction: Nia Symone / Tyrone McClendon
Director of Photography: Scoot Took It
GFX & Video Edits by: Ethan Garner
Story Written by: Malik Brown