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During the 2000-01 track and field season, head men’s track and field coach Kevin Reid ’88 racked up plenty of frequent flier miles. Flying to Oregon, British Columbia, and Beijing for meets should certainly be enough for a free flight to a tropical island. But Coach Reid is saving his miles for a trip to Athens.

One of Reid’s athletes intends to be on that same flight to Greece: Bryan Clay ’03. Both hope to be squinting in the bright Mediterranean sunlight come August 2004, one as a gold medal favorite, and one as a proud coach.

Clay is the latest in a string of outstanding decathletes to study and compete at Azusa Pacific University. Reid recruited one of the top prep athletes in the nation in 1998 to be a part of the most decorated track program in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. Once at APU, Reid became more than a coach to Clay. Throughout a tough freshman year, scripted for Clay to easily walk away with the decathlon title, the two grew closer.
“I watched him struggle that year with not hitting marks, and growing as a person and athlete because of it,” said Reid. “Our relationship goes beyond sports. There is depth to our relationship – trust.”

That trust is why Clay and his coach travel together to important meets, an uncommon practice at higher levels of track and field. Having Reid with him in Beijing for the 2001 World Championships comforted Clay, the youngest decathlete at the event. “I am there to keep him relaxed when he is lining up next to Olympic and world champions. I tell him he belongs there and that he can do it,” said Reid.

“Bryan has become a brother to me and an uncle to my sons. We have broken bread many times together, and our families have spent time with each other. This relationship is about more than just track, and one I expect to last a lifetime.”