Delethea “Dee” Quarles is in her 19th year with the South Carolina program and her 26th year as a collegiate coach entering the 2016 season. Promoted to assistant head coach in 2005, her primary responsibilities include coaching the multi-event performers and jumps. Quarles also oversees eligibility and is the team’s academic liaison.
Quarles has extensive international experience, none more impressive than her 2015 post as the head women’s coach for Team USA at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China.
Prior to her 2015 appointment, Quarles has been appointed to the Team USA staff for the last two IAAF World Championships. Most recently in Moscow at the 2013 IAAF World Championships, Quarles served as the jumps and multis coach for the women’s team. The group claimed a gold (Brittney Reese - long jump) and two silvers (Jennifer Suhr - pole vault and Brigetta Barrett - high jump) to win medals in three of their five events. Quarles served as assistant coach for Team USA at the 2011 IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, with responsibility for the jumping events.
In 2007 Quarles was the head coach of the USA Pan American Junior Championship women’s team that competed in Brazil in July. While the head coach she was responsible for all jumps and multi events. The men’s and women’s teams combined to win 48 medals at the meet. Quarles worked as an assistant coach on the all-star squad of coaches for the 2006 USA World Cup team in Athens, Greece, with the responsibility of coaching all the jumps. Quarles ended the 2005 season as an assistant coach for Team USA at the Pan American Championships held in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. With her assistance, the USA team earned 57 medals, the second-highest of all time.
Academically, Quarles has guided three student-athletes to national Scholar Athlete of the Year honors. Jason Richardson became the first Gamecock to sweep indoor and outdoor honors as he was awarded by the USTFCCCA for both seasons in 2008 as the male Scholar Athlete of the Year. Shalonda Solomon was named 2006 Indoor Scholar Athlete of the Year, and Otukile Lekote picked up the accolade in 2002. The South Carolina women’s team was honored by the organization as the 2006 Academic National Champion, and the men’s team was named the 2009 Academic National Champion. In addition, Natasha Hastings was named the 2006 SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Marvin Reitze earned the honor in 2012 and Jeannelle Scheper won the recognition in 2015. Carolina has also earned 14 national Academic All-America honors in her time with the program.
Quarles has coached her student-athletes to 26 All-America honors and seven SEC championships.. In addition, former Gamecock Chelsea Hammond became the first multi-event student-athlete in South Carolina history to qualify for the Olympic Games. Coached by Quarles from 2002 to 2005, Hammond competed for Jamaica at the 2008 Olympic Games in the long jump. In 2012, Jeannelle Scheper became the first Gamecock to earn an All-America certificate in the high jump, doing so in both the indoor and outdoor season. She added another pair of All-America honors in 2013 to go with an indoor SEC title, the NCAA Championships indoor silver and the SEC outdoor bronze, all firsts for a Gamecock. Scheper also qualified for the 2013 IAAF World Championships. The St. Lucia native returned in 2014 to capture her second-straight silver at the NCAA Indoor Championships. Her crowning achievement under Coach Dee would come in 2015, when she became the first jumper (man or woman) in program history to win a national title after taking the outdoor high jump win in Eugene. It was Quarles’ first individual national champion.
Quarles has coached 14 of the 16 school record holders in the events for which she is responsible at South Carolina. Greig Cryer finished a career-high third in the long jump at the 2006 NCAA Indoor Championships after setting the indoor school record in the triple jump, crossing the board at 52-5.25;. The mark was a foot longer than the record that had stood for 12 years. Derek Pressley, a 2008 graduate, jumped a career-best 51-10 ½ as runner-up in the triple jump at the 2007 SEC Outdoor Championships. Scheper holds the indoor and outdoor high jump records and set a new program record in the 2015 outdoor season with a height of six feet, five inches. Also in 2015, the program saw new program records set in the women’s indoor triple jump (LeAnna Morrison, 43-5.25) and men’s outdoor triple jump (Michael Wamer, 54-0.5).
Leading the women’s team, Quarles coached Kettiany Clarke, Kemesha Whitmire, Tacita Bass, Erin Narzinski and Jeannelle Scheper to SEC titles. Clarke became Carolina’s first pentathlon winner with the title at the 2010 SEC Indoor Championships. Whitmire jumped a 43-7 in 2005 to take the long jump title, Scheper jumped a school record 6-5 to win the high jump in 2015, while Bass and Narzinski combined for three heptathlon titles. In her first year, Quarles saw Narzinski shatter the school record in the heptathlon, finishing fifth at the NCAA Championships, second at the SEC Championships and eighth at the USATF Junior Nationals. Narzinski earned her second heptathlon title in 1999.
Prior to coming to South Carolina, Quarles was an assistant coach at her alma mater, Liberty, for eight years. As an athlete at the school, Quarles helped Liberty claim indoor and outdoor track conference championship titles during her junior and senior campaigns (1988 and 1989), thanks to her standout performances in the heptathlon. She earned All-America honors in the event in 1987 and 1988, placing fifth in the heptathlon at the NCAA Division II National Championship.
A three-time All-American, Quarles was the first student-athlete in program history (men’s or women’s) to score more than 200 points in a season and one of only 11 in program history to do so at any level of competition (227.5 points as a senior). The 1989 Penn Relays 100-meter hurdles champion held the program record in the event for more than 20 years before it was broken in 2010.
For all her efforts as a coach and athlete with the Flames, she was elected in to the school’s hall of fame in the Fall of 2014.
Quarles has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and is a native of Covington, Va.