Joseph prepares for first season as Track and Field director

By Tamar Mosby, Sports Reporter

This summer has proven to be one of reconstruction for Saluki athletics with the exits of former coaches and directors and the introduction of new faces.

One of SIU athletics’ newest faces is Rosalind Joseph who was recently hired as the director of Saluki Track and Field and Cross Country.

Coach Joseph arrived in Carbondale after leaving her alma mater and longtime coaching job at Ohio State University where she worked with the program’s jumpers and multi-event athletes.

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During Joseph’s time at OSU, the team won six Big Ten team titles and produced several All-Americans, conference champions and Academic All-Americans.

Joseph was also the recipient of the Great Lakes Region Men’s Assistant Coach of the Year award for the 2018 outdoor season.

Prior to her ten-year coaching job at OSU, the new director was an assistant coach at Auburn University for two years.

“At Ohio State I was alumni and I ran there,” Joseph said. “I left for two years to coach at Auburn University. It was good to see a different conference and a different perspective.”

Joseph described the transition from her alma mater to Southern as fairly easy but also stressed the importance of making sure the move went smoothly for her family.

“It’s been great. I think any transition is tough,” Joseph said. “I was excited about the challenge. The tough part was moving my family and finding a good school district for my children as well.”

Joseph said she is fond of SIU athletic’s smaller sized programs. 

“I find that it has definitely been good having a smaller, more tight-knit community,” Joseph said. “You can get to know people easier in the athletic department.”

Joseph’s experience with sports is not limited to coaching.

As a child, Joesph grew up playing a multitude of sports taught to her by her father, who was a P.E. teacher.

Finding her love for track and field in high school, the director initially went to college at Ohio State with no intention of competing as a track athlete, but missed the sport and decided to compete.

“My mother and father were track athletes in college,” Joseph said. “As much as I thought that I wouldn’t do track and field, it turned out to be my calling.”

Joseph has a long-standing tradition of success in the sport of track and field dating back to her own collegiate career.

During her time as a Buckeye, Joseph was a two-time All-American in the triple jump, a six-time Big Ten champion in the triple and long jump and a 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials Qualifier in the triple jump.

Joesph also currently holds three records at OSU and was inducted into the university’s athletics’ Hall of Fame in 2014.

She graduated from OSU in 2006 with plans of becoming a physical education teacher like her father but decided to start a career in coaching.

“I wanted to be a P.E. teacher and teach people about athletics,” Joseph said. “I realized that coaching was a similar passion. I could still teach young people and stay in athletics.”

Joseph has taken her love for education and applied it to her coaching SIU’s track and field athletes.

Junior middle distance runner Genesis Ewell, who is a three-time MVC champion, said she likes Joseph’s coaching style and the effect it has had on her performance.

“She breaks down every single workout and the benefits of each one,” Ewell said. “They let us know what to work on in each workout so that we can continue to progress with our goals.”

Senior sprinter Bri’Anna Branch, who is a three-time All-MVC athlete and two time MVC champion, also identified Joseph’s informative coaching as a positive change in the program.

“They tell us what we are doing and why we are doing it,” Branch said. “They really explain things to us, so that we aren’t doing things without purpose.”

The director has not found it hard to get to know her new athletes and said that track and field is something that helps her to relate to them and find common ground.

“I pride myself on being an educator first,” Joseph said. “So if I’m coming in talking about track and field, and everyone is here for that reason then we already have something in common.”

Joseph said she enjoys learning about the athletes she interacts with. 

“The part I enjoy is getting to know the team and they have done a great job of coming in and trying to get to know me too,” Joseph said.

Branch noted Joseph’s ability to relate to the athletes and how it has been very easy for them to adapt to a new program.

“It has been extremely easy to adapt to her coaching style because she relates to us,” Branch said. “She is very understanding about a lot of things and is also very funny.”

Joseph also said she is excited for her new job and she sees it as a new challenge.

“The challenge of something new is exciting,” Joseph said. “It’s something I get to mold into what I think will be most beneficial for the student-athletes, the program, and the university.”

Joseph said the second part of her new challenge is building on and upholding SIU’s success in track and field.

“It is one of the more prominent programs and I take pride in the fact that Jerry Kill and the staff feel that I am the right person to continue the tradition,” Joseph said. “I do not take that lightly.”

She identified recruiting as a large factor in building on the Saluki track and field winning tradition.

“The main thing is always recruiting and getting people buy in and work hard,” Joseph said. “Once you can do that, you can start winning and winning helps to keep building on tradition.”

While Joseph takes on the new challenge of her job, she has also made it a point to challenge her athletes to become better on and off of the track.

“We have to get better every day, every week, every month, and every year,” Joseph said. “I want to make sure that we’re recognized in athletics, community service and academics.”

Ewell said she implemented Joseph’s challenge to athletes and has already seen improvements in her performance.

“Everyone is already faster than they were last year in time trials,” Ewell said. “Coach Joseph knows what she wants for this program and where she wants everyone to go.”

Sports reporter Tamar Mosby can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @mosbytamar.

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