May 16, 2007
WACO, Texas - Assistant head track and field coach Danny Brabham will retire from coaching effective July 1, head coach Todd Harbour announced on Wednesday. Brabham, one of the all-time great long jumpers in Southwest Conference history, has been a member of the Baylor coaching staff for 18 years, and has 34 years of coaching experience on a variety of levels.
During his tenure at Baylor Brabham has coached 34 All-American athletes. 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. Athletes that Brabham has coached currently hold 31 school records for both men and women during the indoor and outdoor track seasons.
"Danny has been a vital part of Baylor track and field for the past 18 years," said Harbour. "He was one of the hardest working athletes ever to set foot on campus, and he brought that same work ethic to his coaching career. I know that Danny has given a lot of thought and prayer to this decision and feels like this is in his best interests at this time. We will all miss him very much and wish him the very best in his retirement."
Brabham's main coaching duties at Baylor have been with the pole vault, high jump, shot put, discus, javelin, hammer, weight throw, decathlon and heptathlon. He handled many of the day-to-day duties involved with the Baylor track and field program and served as Michael Johnson's strength coach. He also has worked with former Baylor greats Jeremy Wariner and Darold Williamson as their personal strength coach.
His coaching paid off during the 2007 indoor and outdoor track and field seasons, as Brabham's charges set seven new school records this year. Kaleigh 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. Brittany 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 this season.
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 five marks in school history.
Brabham enjoyed recent success with long jumpers as April Holliness earned five All-America honors for her career, Baylor's only 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.
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, and then broke it twice more. Brabham has coached other standout athletes such as All-American vaulters Bill Payne, Jim Autenreith and Kurt Hanna.
Another Baylor standout under Brabham's leadership was 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 continued her success as a member of the 1999 World Championship team that competed in Seville, Spain.
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.
Brabham, a 1973 Baylor graduate and 1992 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.
Brabham and his wife, Debbie, have two children: Brian, Team Leader for Core Curriculum for the Region 12 Education Service Center in Waco, and Heather, a homemaker in Waco, and five grandchildren: Tommy and Tori Brabham and Brady, Neeley and Cami Farnum.