BU multi-event athletes opened action at 87th-annual event on Wednesday.
Sophomore comes up three inches short of making the awards podium.
Bears take the hammer throw, discus and javelin crowns to open outdoor season.
White takes shot put title as Bears look to next week's Tyson Invitational.
Baylor earned two of top three spots in both decathlon and heptathlon
Danny Brabham, one of the all-time great long jumpers in Southwest Conference history, is in his 28th year on the Baylor track coaching staff with a total of 44 years of experience on a variety of levels.
His main coaching duties at Baylor are with the throws, vaults and multi-events. Brabham handles many of the day-to-day duties involved with the Baylor track and field program and also served as the strength coach of Olympic gold medalists Michael Johnson and Jeremy Wariner. He also previously worked with Olympic champions and former BU greats Darold Williamson and Reggie Witherspoon.
Over the years, Brabham has coached 43 All-Americans and 36 school record holders, including six-time All-American Skylar White, five-time All-American April Holliness and two-time All-American Chris Gillis.
Last season, Brabham coached junior Annie Rhodes to her career-first Big 12 title as she won the conference's outdoor crown. During the outdoor season, Brabham helped Rhodes to five other meet titles, including a school-record setting jump of 14-7.25 [4.45m] at the Ricardo Romo Invitational. Indoors with Brabham's guidance, Rhodes placed second at the Big 12 meet, but reset her own school record with a clearance of 14-5.25 [4.40m] at the Tyson Invitational. Despite advancing to both the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships, Rhodes fell short of All-America honors at both. In the throws, Brabham tutored junior Cion Hicks to All-Big 12 honors in the shot put at both the indoor and outdoor conference meets. Hicks advanced to the indoor and outdoor national meets in shot put, while setting PRs in both of those events and the discus. Senior Desmine Hilliard earned All-Big 12 recognition at the Big 12 Outdoor Championship with a fourth-place showing in the discus. Multi-athlete Jenna Pfeiffer secured a pair of All-Big 12 honors indoors in the high jump and pentathlon. Meanwhile, Brabham's men's multi-athletes produced a pair of All-Big 12 honors in the outdoor season with Hunter Powell and Chase Hood placing seventh and eighth, respectively, in the decathlon.
In 2015, Brabham mentored another All-American as he guided sophomore Rhodes to an eighth-place finish in the pole vault at the NCAA Indoor Championships. With Brabham's assistance, Rhodes has re-written the BU record books in both the indoor and outdoor pole vaults as she owns all 10 of the school's top marks in each event through her first two years in Waco and she carded 2015 All-Big 12 honors in each as she was the runner-up at both the indoor and outdoor conference meets. Brabham also coached Cion Hicks to All-Big 12 outdoor performances in both the discus and the shot put for a second-straight year. Both Rhodes and Hicks earned berths into the NCAA Outdoor Championships. In the multi-events, Brabham's athletes produced four all-conference accolades with Jenna Pfeiffer scoring in both the indoor and outdoor seasons and Carly Grandcolas and Hunter Brook notching outdoor honors. Brabham also got an outdoor all-conference performances from Richard Hansen (javelin).
In 2014, Brabham added another All-American to his resume as he coached senior Erin Atkinson to an eighth-place finish in the hammer throw at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. With Brabham's help, Atkinson re-wrote the BU record books in both the weight and hammer throws as she left owning all 10 of the school's top marks in each event. Brabham tutored Hicks to All-Big 12 outdoor performances in both the discus and the shot put. With Brabham's help, fellow freshman pole vaulter Rhodes tallied matching third-place conference finishes at the indoor and outdoor meets, while setting the school record in each during the year. In the multi-events, Brabham's athletes had a banner year as both Jenna Pfeiffer and Jessica Shadley scored at the conference indoor and outdoor meets. On the men's side, Brabham got outdoor all-conference performances from Desmine Hilliard (discus), Blake Mayberry (javelin) and Richard Hansen (javelin). Brabham also mentored senior Henry Vildosola back from injury to a school-record performance of 5,334 points in the Big 12 Indoor Championships heptathlon event to be third. Vildosola would go on to be fourth at the Big 12 Outdoor meet with a PR point total of 7,344, which earned him a berth in the NCAA Championships where he finished 17th.
In 2013, Baylor's throwers under Brabham's direction were major contributors to a young Baylor squad. White wrapped up her illustrious career with two more All-America honors, garnering one in the shot put at the NCAA Indoor Championships and one in the discus at the national outdoor meet. On the men's side, as a sophomore Hilliard experienced tremendous growth with Brabham's help, capped by an All-America performance at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the discus. Hilliard set a new school record in the event with a throw of 194-0 [59.13m]. Atkinson also excelled in her second year under Brabham as she won four outdoor meets and upped her own school-record in the event.
In 2012, White continued to blossom under Brabham's watchful eye. She earned All-America honors in the shot put both indoors and outdoors. She was the first and only Baylor female All-American in a throwing event until Atkinson garnered the status at the national indoor meet with an eighth-place finish in the weight throw. The first-year Bear also set the school-record in the discipline with a toss of 68-4.5 at the Big 12 Indoor Championships. Brabham also helped Eric Bostick set a school record in the heptathlon with 5,017 points at the Big 12 Indoor Championships.
In 2010 and 2011, Nick Lyons flourished under Brabham's tutelage. Lyons broke his own javelin record five times. He ranked among the top three in the NCAAâ?^in the javelin in 2011, including a school-record toss of 257-2 to win the Michael Johnson/Dr Pepper Classic. Lyons earned a second-place conference finish for All-Big 12 honors.
In 2009, Brabham coached freshman multi-event athlete Eric Bostick to a new school record in the indoor heptathlon. Bostick scored 4,364 points at the Big 12 Indoor Championships. In the javelin, Lyons broke the school record for the first time with a toss of 218-05.
During the 2008 season, Kaleigh Teel improved on her own school record in the pole vault, increasing her school mark by nearly six inches. In addition, Teel regionally qualified for the first time in her career. Brittany Devereaux ended her career as one of the best throwers in Baylor history, improving on her hammer school record in 2008.
His coaching paid off during the 2007 indoor and outdoor track and field seasons, as Brabham's charges set seven new school records. Teel set indoor and outdoor records in the pole vault, with the indoor height nearly a foot higher than the previous record, and the outdoor record tying a mark set in 2000. Devereaux improved on her own school record during the indoor season in the 20-lb weight throw, and set new school marks in both the discus and hammer throws. The junior broke the six-year-old hammer throw record by more than 10 feet. In addition, Chris Cardwell set new Baylor records in the hammer throw and weight throw.
Devereaux also had an outstanding sophomore campaign in 2006 as she earned all-region and all-conference honors in the discus. In addition, not only did Devereaux break a 30-year-old school record in the event, she proceeded to post the top 10 marks in school history.
Jordan Willmann was a two-time All-American in the pentathlon and heptathlon and finished second at the 2004 Big 12 Outdoor Championship. She had a breakout season as a junior, earning All-America honors by placing fifth at the NCAA Championships in the heptathlon, the highest finish by a Baylor heptathlete. Willmann set the school record in the event, then broke it twice more.
Brabham has also coached other standout athletes such as All-American vaulters Bill Payne, Jim Autenreith and Kurt Hanna, and NCAA champion triple jumper Stacey Bowers, who has become an integral part of the Baylor coaching staff herself. An eight-time All-American, Bowers became the Bears' first female athlete to claim a United States Championship in 1999 in the triple jump and held the nation's top ranking in the event that season. She was Baylor's first female athlete to become a member of a U.S. National team, competing in the 1998 Goodwill Games and as a result of winning the 1999 U.S. championship in the triple jump, continued her success as a member of the 1999 World Championship team that competed in Seville, Spain.
Brabham also enjoyed success with long jumpers as April Holliness earned five All-America honors for her career, the only Baylor female All-American in the event. In 2004, Holliness claimed the NCAA Midwest Regional title, finished third at the NCAA Outdoor Championships and 10th at the NCAA Indoor Championships. Chris Gillis emerged as a one of the nation's top long jumpers, twice earning All-America finishes and a pair of runner-up finishes at the NCAA Midwest Regional. In 2006, Gillis also posted a mark that ranks him second behind Brabham on Baylor's all-time list.
Brabham has seen his hurdlers establish themselves as a key part of the Baylor track program. In recent years, Brabham has worked specifically with All-American hurdlers Jeff Jackson, John McAfee, Michael Smith and Bayano Kamani, the 1999 and 2001 NCAA Outdoor champion in the 400-meter hurdles. In 2000, heptathlete Kerry O'Bric finished sixth at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
In 2001, he coached the only two intermediate hurdlers in NCAA history to obtain a 1-2 finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships when Bayano Kamani and Michael Smith earned that honor.
Brabham, a 1973 Baylor graduate and 1991 inductee into the Baylor Athletic Hall of Fame, became the school's first NCAA track All-American in 1971 when he finished second at the NCAA Indoor Championships. That same outdoor season he was ranked No. 1 in the U.S. The previous year, Brabham won the U.S. Track & Field Federation national indoor long jump title. In 1973, he was sixth at the NCAA Outdoor nationals and 10th in the World Games. He won the SWC long jump title in 1972 and 1973, setting conference records both years. His senior year he set a conference best of 26-9 1/2, a mark which was just three inches off Ralph Boston's collegiate record. His leap still stands as the Baylor school record.
Other major titles Brabham won included the 1971 Texas Relays and the 1971, '72 and '73 Kansas Relays crowns. He was voted Baylor's Outstanding Track Man four consecutive years and was voted Baylor's Outstanding Athlete in 1971.
As a high school competitor in Roswell, N.M., Brabham won state titles in the long jump and pole vault, establishing state records for both in the process. Clyde Hart has called Brabham the most versatile athlete he's coached. Brabham excelled in the sprints, relays, high jump, hurdles and pole vault while also being one of the world's best long jumpers.
Brabham came to Baylor from Hobbs [N.M.] High School where he was head track and cross country coach for four years. He previously spent four years at Georgetown [Texas] High, three at Goddard [N.M.] High and four at Odessa [Texas] Junior High. "One of my goals was to coach on the collegiate level," Brabham said. "I think I have a lot to offer collegiate student-athletes. Due to the fact that I competed in virtually every event while at Baylor, I have an edge on knowing how each event is supposed to take place."
Brabham and his wife, Debbie, have two children: Brian, a professor in Exercise and Sport Science at Mary Hardin Baylor in Belton, Texas, and Heather, a fourth grade teacher in the Robinson ISD. He also has five grandchildren: Tommy and Tori Brabham and Brady, Neeley and Cami Farnum.