Mike Sergent enters his 20th season with the Gamecock track and field program in 2017. His primary responsibilities are coaching the throwers and coordinating the strength and conditioning program. Sergent has coached 28 All-Americans, 45 NCAA qualifiers, 14 SEC champions and five NCAA champions at South Carolina.
The Gamecocks had a strong 2016 campaign, and Sergent's throwers were a big reason why. Josh Awotunde, Kaleb Zuidema and Shelby Freedman each qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships, with Awotunde taking All-America honors in the shot put and Freedman grabbing All-America accolades in the javelin.Awotunde earned top-10 finishes at the SEC Championships in both shot put and discus, including a silver medal at the Indoor Championships in shot put. Zuidema and Freedman also scored points at the conference meet.
Sergent had a memorable first season as he coached Lisa Misipeka and Brad Snyder to a total of four NCAA individual championships. Misipeka took home titles in the 20-pound weight and the hammer, while Snyder swept the indoor and outdoor titles in the shot put. Snyder repeated in 1999 when Sergent coached him to the indoor shot put title for the second-consecutive year.
In 2011, Michael Zajac brought home All-America honors in the weight throw and hammer throw. Five throwers qualified for the NCAA Preliminary, and his athletes earned 22 points at SEC Championship events.
On the men's side, Zajac was the SEC bronze medalist in the weight throw and earned All-America honors by taking 7th in the weight throw at the NCAA Indoor Championships and 15th in the hammer throw at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. He concluded his career with 46 points in SEC competition and as one of two Gamecocks to score in both the hammer and weight throw in all four of his seasons.
On the women's side, four Gamecocks scored at the SEC Outdoor Championships to continue Sergent's streak of having a thrower score at the meet every season since he has been at Carolina. Four throwers qualified for NCAA Regionals: senior Aimee Kodat, juniors Stacee Roberts and Katie Vuckovich, and freshman Breanna Redford.
He fostered a young and talented team of throwers in 2015, helping to produce top-ten marks in the program's outdoor history in the shot put, hammer, discus and javelin. Freshman Josh Awotunde was a dual threat in the shot put and discus, qualifying for NCAA regionals in both events. He set the sixth-best shot put mark (best since 2009) and fifth-best discus mark (best since 1999) in the Spring. Sophomore Clarence Gallop also qualified for the regional meet after posting the fifth-best hammer throw in school history (best since 1999). On the women's side, junior Olivia Hassler and freshmen Shelby Freedman and Amy Suttmeier threw for the program's top-five in the javelin. Freedman now sits second all-time, Hassler third and Suttmeier fifth, providing the team with a deep and developing pool of talent.
Sergent has also seen success in coaching his student-athletes on the international stage. In 2003, former Gamecock and NCAA champion Dawn Ellerbe reached the World Championships in Paris under Sergent's tutelage. He also worked with Ellerbe in 2002 to help her become the USATF national runner-up in both the weight and hammer throws. She finished the year ranked seventh in the world in the hammer, set the American record in the hammer, and finished ranked eighth nationally in the discus throw.
In 2001, two of Sergent's former student-athletes, Snyder and Misipeka, along with Ellerbe, traveled to Edmonton, Canada, for the 2001 World Championships. In his third year at South Carolina, Sergent coached Candy Mitchell, Bert Sorin and Ryan Harrison through the U.S. Olympic trials. At the 2000 Olympic Games, Snyder, Misipeka and Michelle Fournier all competed.
In 1999, Sergent's student-athletes won four SEC titles. Fournier, an academic All-American and NCAA runnerup, was awarded an NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarship. Misipeka also won a bronze medal at the 1999 World Championships - the school's first in a major international meet.
Prior to coaching at Carolina, Sergent was an assistant coach at his alma mater, Virginia Tech, for five years. At Tech, he assisted in one Metro and four Atlantic 10 Conference championship teams from 1993 to 1997.
Sergent holds a bachelor's degree in exercise science and a master's degree in sports management from Virginia Tech. He was a 1992 All-American and Olympic trials qualifier in the hammer. In the fall of 2012, Sergent was inducted into the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility
Sergent and his wife, Karen, have a daughter named Kelsey.