Coach Quarles Assumes Director of Track & Field at James Madison
COLUMBIA, S.C. (Aug. 26, 2022) – Long-time South Carolina Track & Field Assistant Head Coach Delethea “Dee” Quarles has announced her decision to become the new Director of Track & Field at James Madison University. Coach Quarles has coached the sport for 32 years, including 25 consecutive years with the Garnet and Black.
“My time here has been a great journey with 25 years of touching the lives of young student-athletes and that is my passion,” stated Coach Quarles. “Collegiate sports provides for student-athletes a great preparation before they enter the work force. We as coaches get the opportunity to have some influence and perspective that help prepare them for life. Our sport of track and field represents diversity that I firmly believe can unify the world. I would like to thank Coach Tanner, Athletic Director, for his constant support to our student-athletes and program and his incredible support to my career and Chris Rogers, Associate Athletic Director, for his day-to-day support to assure our team’s success. Lastly, I would love to thank Coach Frye and the entire coaching staff. We have all worked tother many years and I’ve grown so much with their influence. This priceless experience has paved the way for this opportunity to be at James Madison University. I’m forever grateful. #Forevertothee”
Quarles joined the South Carolina program prior to the 1998 season and just four years later helped guide the Gamecocks to the 2002 NCAA Outdoor Team Championship, the first team NCAA Championship in South Carolina Athletics history. She was promoted to Assistant Head Coach prior to the 2005 season. Her primary role in Columbia included coaching the team’s jumpers and multi-event athletes, and she plays a vital leadership role in all aspects of the program, including recruiting, operations, and academics.
“Coach Dee has meant so much to the program,” added Head Coach Curtis Frye. “We have won five conference championships, a national title and have produce many All-Americans. We have been a family. Coach Dee’s mother spoke at my mother’s funeral, and I spoke at Coach Dee’s father’s funeral. She is from the grass roots of America; she was raised in a solid community with integrity, and she is a Liberty graduate and has strong Christian values. She is the perfect example for young people growing up. She has mentored many student-athletes and our graduates are excellent. We have doctors, lawyers, engineers, entrepreneurs, and a lot of them were mentored by Coach Dee. Her impact is far reaching for Carolina for many lives to come. I am very happy for Coach Dee as she heads on to coach at James Madison. I could talk forever about a friend and a colleague. They can’t ever say that women can’t coach men because Coach Dee has coached Olympic Men and Olympic Women. We have a slogan here: ‘if it’s to be, it’s up to me, who can? I can’ and she helped me develop that slogan for every Carolina graduate.”
Quarles has served on the Team USA staff in numerous IAAF World Championship events, including serving as the women’s team head coach at the 2015 event in Beijing. Collegiately, she was named USTFCCCA Southeast Regional Assistant Coach of the Year in 2018. She is also a member of the athletic hall of fame at her alma mater, Liberty University, where she was a Penn Relays champion and three-time All-American as a student-athlete, later serving as an assistant coach for eight seasons with the Flames.
“I would like to thank Coach Dee for her commitment to South Carolina Track & Field for the last 25 years,” stated Athletics Director Ray Tanner. “She did a tremendous job helping to raise the bar for our program. She made a tremendous impact on our student-athletes throughout her long career here. South Carolina Track & Field is in a better place for having Coach Dee here and I have no doubt she will make that same positive impact at James Madison. We all wish her nothing but the best as she takes over the reins in Harrisonburg.”
Since her arrival in Columbia, the Gamecocks have earned 57 total top-25 team finishes at the NCAA Championship level, including 29 top-10 team results. South Carolina won the SEC Women’s Outdoor Championships in 1999, 2002 and 2005 and five Gamecock individuals have won national athlete of the year honors. The Gamecocks have won 43 individual and relay NCAA titles since 1998, led by high jump winners Jeannelle Scheper (2015) and Rachel Glenn (2021). Overall, the Gamecocks have collected 621 All-America laurels since 1998, averaging over 24 All-America honors per season. Exactly 50 of those honors have been student-athletes that trained directly under Coach Quarles every day.
Overall, the Gamecocks have combined for 101 SEC individual and relay championships during the Quarles era. Seven of those are part of Quarles’ event groups, including women’s high jump conference champions Jeannelle Scheper (2015 outdoor), Nakita Gray (2016 indoor), and Rachel Glenn (2021 outdoor).
At America’s premier annual track meet, the Penn Relays, one can see Quarles’s fingerprints on nearly every inch of famed Franklin Field. Her jumpers have won 10 Championship of America and two college division titles, including three straight men’s long jump wins by Yann Randrianasolo from 2017-2019. Since 1998, Carolina athletes have also won 26 Championship of America relay wagon wheels, and Gamecock alumni have claimed 19 USA vs. the World relay victories.
Throughout her three decades as a college coach, including 25 seasons at Carolina, Quarles has stood for much more than on-track success. In fact, Quarles served as the coaching staff’s academic liaison for nearly two decades, and she works just as hard to instill the importance of academic success as she does helping her athletes clear the next bar. During Quarles’s tenure, the Gamecock program has earned four USTFCCCA Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors, led by Richardson’s indoor and outdoor honors in 2008. Carolina has also earned five SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year titles. Scheper was the conference’s top scholar on the women’s side in 2015, and most recently, Abrams won the award in 2019.
As a team, the Carolina women were honored as USTFCCA Academic National Champions in 2006, and the Carolina men won the award in 2009 for their classroom prowess.
Citizenship and community service are also pillars of Quarles’s mindset as she guides her student-athletes. With Quarles serving as mentor, Carolina’s Maya Evans was named the 2017 SEC Brad Davis Community Service Leader of the Year, an all-sports award.
A USTFCCCA member since 1997, Quarles is an important voice in the world of track & field far beyond what happens inside of the oval. She’s served on the USTFCCCA’s Women’s Development and Heptathlon Committees for 25 years, helping to set the sport’s agenda in both areas. She was part of the NCAA’s Minority Coaches Leadership Development program in 2017, which was also the first year she began serving on the USATF’s Women’s Commission.