June 27, 2006
By Lauren Tillman
Baylor Athletic Media Relations Intern
Former Bear Deon Minor, a 14-time All-American and four-time NCAA champion, ran track for Baylor under coach Clyde Hart from 1992-1995. Recruited as the top 400-meter runner in the nation, he chose Baylor because it was known as a 400-meter powerhouse.
"I knew that it was a great school for 400-meter runners and it had a lot of tradition at that time," said Minor. "Also, it was close to my hometown of Paris, Texas."
Minor says that he visits Baylor at least five or six times a year. This year, he came for the Dr Pepper Invitational and Michael Johnson Classic track meets as well as for a couple of business trips. When he comes back, he usually attends track meets and football games. He was surprised to see how different the campus looks.
"They have really revitalized the campus since I left," Minor said. "Things have changed a lot. There are so many new buildings and additions...the baseball field...the new locker rooms at the track. It's amazing."
As a freshman, Minor lived at the Quadrangle athletic dormitory and he moved off campus his sophomore year. While at Baylor, he majored in communications with a minor in sociology. In 1996, he pledged Kappa Alpha PSI and was inducted into its Xi Sigma chapter.
"My experience at Baylor really prepared me for life, there's no doubt," Minor said. "Especially pledging! It really prepared me as far as standing out and being on my own. It helped me to grow up faster and make better decisions."
As a student-athlete, it is a challenging feat to juggle academics, athletics and a social life. For Minor, the biggest task was learning how to balance his priorities. He said that it is not as hard for track athletes as it is for other student-athletes.
"You just have to pick and choose your classes wisely and take the right amount of hours in the fall, so that you don't have too many in the spring when you travel," he said. "It's important to put academics first. The running will be there, but if you don't pass, you don't run!"
Minor didn't have too many setbacks while running for Baylor, only a few minor hamstring injuries.
"My biggest obstacle was just trying to get well after a small hamstring injury," he said. "It wasn't anything major, but when you are injured, you know that you are not performing at 100 percent. That's always frustrating."
His favorite memories of being a Bear included traveling with the team and meeting different people all across the nation. He really enjoyed the campus and hanging out with his teammates, both on and off the track. According to Minor, the team was very closely knit back then, especially the 4x400-meter relay.
"We always hung out after practice," Minor said. "We'd go play basketball or video games or go somewhere to eat. We did everything together. The team was really close. That was really good for the relay."
He still keeps in touch with most of his former teammates.
His funniest memory about running track was their mile relay getting into an altercation with LSU's 4x4 his senior year.
"Looking back, I can only laugh," Minor said. "It was so stupid. I can't believe we actually did that."
The people from Baylor that stick out the most in his mind are his professor Dr. Ralph Lynn, who was very special to him, coaches Hart, Danny Brabham, Tom Hill and Steve Gulley, and teammates Tony Miller, Michael Ford, Marlon Ramsey, and the rest of the his ex-teammates.
"I'd have to say that my biggest inspiration was my family, especially my two grandmothers," he said. "My grandmothers were my biggest fans. I could always go to them about anything, win or lose."
He thinks Baylor track has changed a lot since he ran. According to Minor, Baylor always had the tradition of being a powerhouse in the 4x4, especially on the men's side. There was more emphasis on the tradition back then, according to Minor.
"When we ran, we felt obligated to live up to that tradition of being the best 4x4. I made sure that if I was on the relay, we were going to be the best," he said. "Every time I stepped on the track, I knew that the other three people on the relay would pull their weight. There wasn't any slacking, especially not in meets like Conference. We took it very seriously."
Minor said that if he could go back in time, he would have done things a bit differently, because there is always something that you would change if you could go back.
"There would have been a lot of things, but most importantly, I would have made better decisions," Minor said. "For example, that little `scrap' at the Texas Relays. There was no need for an argument, we won the race! We should have just shaken it off.'"
Minor gave some words of wisdom for current student-athletes to rely on:
"Number one, don't leave school without your degree - sports or not! That's what I told both Darold (Williamson) and Jeremy (Wariner) - get your degree!" Minor said. "This running is not going to last forever, you will have to get a job sooner or later."
Other than that advice, he said that student-athletes should just continue to work hard, to have fun and to make the best of it.
"For your sport, work hard at the things that got you here. Keep giving it your all and do your very best."
After graduating from Baylor in 1996, he stayed in Waco to train for the Olympics. Now he lives outside of Houston in Sugarland.
"I'm a good ole Texas Boy, I couldn't leave."
In 1997, he took job as a physical education teacher and as a coach in a small Christian school in Pasadena, Texas. He currently works as a Client Manager for Michael Johnson's company, Ultimate Performance, where he works mainly with track athletes such as former Baylor runners Darold Williamson and Jeremy Wariner.
"I manage my clients' day-to-day business operations, schedule and book their meets and arrange negotiations," he said. "I love my job. I get to travel with my clients to most of the meets, which is great. The travel is a lot of fun, but it's exhausting."
Minor said that two of his biggest honors were being inducted into the Drake Relays Hall of Fame and setting the indoor world record for the 4x4 in 1999.
He is happily married to Claudia Minor and together, they have a 20-month old son named Bradley Deon Minor II.
"I love having a son," Minor said. "Raising him and watching him grow is just so amazing. He keeps me going. I enjoy spending as much time with my family as possible. I want to be with them every chance that I can get, because I am on the road so much with my job."
He and his family are involved with the many outreach ministries at their church.
"I would love for my son to play a sport at the collegiate level," he said. "Hopefully he will want to play at Baylor, but if not then wherever he dreams of going. Anywhere that he can get a great education will be just fine."
Minor's favorite hobbies include working out and watching sports. His favorite sports to watch are football, track and boxing - in that order. Even though he doesn't run anymore, he still loves to lift weights and work out and keeps in excellent shape.
"If I could have played any other sport instead of running track, it would have been baseball."
Minor's goals over the next few years are to continue being a good father to his child and a good husband to his wife, to help grow the company, and to learn as much possible about his company and about sports management in general.
"Learning is very important. You should always try to learn as much as you can."