Milligan College, Tenn. (August 8, 2008) — A coach with local ties will soon be departing for Beijing and the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. In addition to his coaching duties at Milligan College, head cross country and track and field coach Chris Layne serves as director of communications for Total Sports Management, Inc., which promotes world-class athletes. The Johnson City based company assists clients with marketing, sponsorships and overall business.
In only their second Olympic Games since being founded in 2003, Total Sports will boast a record 36 athletes from 16 countries in Beijing, up from 11 athletes just four years ago. Nick Symmonds, Andra Manson and Muna Lee are just of few of the notable U.S. clients Total Sports represents. Symmonds will compete in the 800 meters at the 2008 Games in Beijing, while Manson will compete in the High Jump. Lee, who won the Olympic Trials women’s 100 meters, will compete in both the 100 meters and 200 meters.
“I’ll be in Beijing to support our clients and hopefully address any fires before they start so they can concentrate on competing to the best of their abilitiy,” commented Layne. “The respective federations also play a big role during the Games, so every athlete has tremendous support.”
Layne handles much of the marketing for his clients, but he also served in another facet this year. Layne had the opportunity to coach Melissa Cook who was a finalist in the women’s 5K and 10K at the U.S. Olympic Trials earlier this summer in Eugene, Ore. While Cook competed well, she did not make the Olympic team.
Layne began his career in 1997 as an intern for Flynn Sports Management. The next year he was hired by FSM as their director of marketing. Mark Block, who coached Layne during his freshman year in college and later served as vice-president at FSM, now serves as Layne’s business partner at Total Sports.
When Layne is not helping world-class athletes win gold medals, he is helping his student-athletes at Milligan compete for NAIA National Championships. Layne explained that he is equally excited about both of his careers; however, he tries very hard to separate both of them.
“We are very excited and proud for Chris and his accomplishments within the sport,” commented Mark Fox, vice president for student and athletic development at Milligan. “Chris has been a long-time employee of Milligan and he and his athletes represent the school very well.”
Layne has coached at Milligan for eight years and has seen much success at the helm of the cross country and track and field programs. A program which included only five student-athletes in 1999 now boasts over 50 student-athletes.
“Chris came to Milligan and rebuilt our cross country and track and field programs,” said Fox. “Our program has not only grown, but so have our athlete’s achievements. His athletes perform well athletically and academically. The college is very fortunate to have a cross country and track and field staff headed by Chris.”
Layne has coached over 100 national championship qualifiers and more than 20 All-Americans during his stint at Milligan. During the 2007 cross country season, the Lady Buffs were ranked as high as second in the nation and finished third at the NAIA National Championships.