“He’s going?” asked Warren Pittorie, president of the Campus Activities Board, when he heard the news that Nick Dodson would no longer be a coach at Florida Tech.
“He’s gone,” answered Brandon Stern, a short-distance runner for FIT’s track and field team.
The departure of Dodson from the Florida Tech came as a surprise to most. Dodson was the coach of the Panthers short-distance runners and long jumpers. He was also the university’s intramurals coordinator.
Dodson became the Panthers’ first assistant Track and Field coach in 2012, not long after graduating from Shorter University with a bachelor’s degree as the 2011 NAIA National Champion in the 400-meter hurdles.
While the departure of Dodson has been felt by the entire Florida Tech Track and Field team, the athletes appear hopeful for the season to come. He has gone on to take the position of Director of Cross Country and Track and Field at Brewton-Parker College in Georgia.
“We’ve already started interviewing candidates,” Director of Athletics Bill Jurgens said. “As is the case with every sport, the team really related to the coach. We really liked Nick. We don’t want to want to move so fast that we’re not getting the best coach we can.”
Jurgens expressed happiness for Dodson, saying Dodson deserved the position and would be able to be closer to his family now.
“I have lots of fond memories of Dodson,” said Brandon Stern, a sophomore and short-distance runner on the team. “He was an excellent coach and role model. He pushed us in numerous ways and got us into our first conference.”
“His departure was his decision, which I fully support and I’m very happy for him. I’m unclear of his replacement currently, but I know Mr. Pete Mazzone will make a great choice, just as he did with Dodson.”
“I feel prepared for the season ahead and ready. We are still as strong as before and ready for a new season,” Stern concluded.
Nicardo Cameron, also a sprinter for Track and Field, voiced a similar confidence.
“As usual, I’m optimistic about our team’s prospects for the upcoming season. We have made significant improvements under the tutelage of Coach Dodson and we expect to do the same under the guidance of the new coach,” Cameron said.
“Dodson was a phenomenal coach who made sure that we excel both on the track and in the classroom. I trust that the Florida Tech Athletic Department will find a replacement that is equally adept to help us hone our talents on the track,” Cameron remarked.
One look at Dodson’s profile in the Florida Tech Athletics staff directory explains what qualified Dodson for the position. The profile reads, “Dodson was an 11-time National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) All-American, a three-time national runner-up in the 400-meter hurdles, a conference champion several times in three events and a two-time NAIA Champions of Character Award winner.”
Dodson had many successes as an assistant coach for the Florida Tech Track and Field program. In 2014, because of Dodson’s proven ability to develop athletes, the assistant coach was selected to USA Track & Field Emerging Elite Coaches Camp.
A replacement for Dodson has yet to be named.