March 14, 2017
By Brad Muller | More Features
Terrence Trammell (1998-2000) is one of the most decorated student-athletes in the great history of South Carolina Track and Field, and now he’s leading off of the track. The former 13-time All-American and 1999 SEC Athlete of the Year competed professionally for 15 years after his days with the Gamecocks before hanging up the spikes at the age of 35 in 2014. He’s now coaching in Atlanta, and also started a 5K race last June, which he plans to hold annually in Augusta.
“It’s called ‘The Ugly Tie 5K,’” Trammell said. “We call it that because that’s basically what dads get for Father’s Day. It’s a pre-Father’s Day 5K race that offers free health screening so guys can get themselves checked out. A lot of men don’t like to go to the doctor, and I’m one of them. But this is a good opportunity to have a fun run. We’re looking to get the public service departments involved as well where maybe the firemen and police officers square off in events.”
Participants in the event receive an Ugly Tie t-shirt, and his goal is to make the shirt a collector’s item each year.
Originally from Decatur, Ga., Trammell had opportunities to play football but chose to compete for the Gamecocks, primarily in the hurdles and sprint events.
“Being able to train with Coach (Curtis) Frye and Allen Johnson, who was the was the number one hurdler in the world, gave me an opportunity to really learn from the best,” Trammell said.
Trammell was an eight-time SEC champion and six-time NCAA champion during his time with the Gamecocks, and has man great memories.
“I think it was 1999, I ran the 55 meter hurdles at the SEC Championship, and I think I was five-one hundredths of a second off of the world record,” Trammell said. “Then I came back and won the 55 meter dash event against guys who would later be Olympic medalists in the sprints. That was huge for me.”
Winning the 4 x 100 relay in the NCAA Championships later that year was also one of his favorite memories.
Coach Frye allowed me to get exposure around the professional side of the sport. He gave me the opportunity to see what the top echelon athletes do.
“Leading up to it, we had three rounds apiece with prelims, semifinals and a final in individual events, and then you had the semifinals for the relay,” Trammell said. “So I had to run eight times total while I was out there. I was really sore and stiff, so it took me a while to get warmed up. I wasn’t feeling so great. I asked each one of my teammates how they felt, and they all said they felt good and that they were ready to do this. At that point, I just thought, I’ll be ready to go, too. I knew they were depending on me to do what I normally do, so I knew I had to hold up my end of the bargain.
“We took control of it pretty early in the race. That was a big one for us. That really put our team on the map. Being on the podium was a good feeling. I was truly grateful. I was proud of my teammates. It was something that we felt like we could do, and we were able to put it together. That was a great feeling.”
The great feelings continued in international competition as Trammell earned a pair of silver medals in the 110 meter hurdles while competing for Team USA at the 2000 and 2004 Olympics.
“2000 was a bit of a shock,” Trammell said. “I thought fourth would have been a good spot for me, but I felt like if I had a good night, I could probably get a bronze. I just wanted to compete as well as I could. I was in fourth for most of the race. I wound up passing a couple between hurdles number eight and nine to get into the second position. When I crossed the line, I didn’t really know what was going on. I looked up at the scoreboard and saw that I got the silver with a personal best time. That was the greatest feeling.”
Trammell was inducted into the University of South Carolina Association of Lettermen’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 2006. He noted that coming to South Carolina helped him find success on and off the track.
“It set a foundation for me,” Trammell said. “I met a great network of people, who helped steer me in the right direction. It gave me the opportunity to really flourish as an athlete and as a person. I’ve always been really grateful to say that I am a Gamecock. I take a lot of pride in being a Gamecock.
“Coach Frye allowed me to get exposure around the professional side of the sport. He gave me the opportunity to see what the top echelon athletes do.”
As South Carolina hosts the SEC Outdoor Championships May 11-13 at the brand new Sheila and Morris Cregger Track Facility, Trammell looks forward to coming back to campus and seeing the next generation of great athletes compete.
“I’m clearing my schedule so I can come,” Trammell said. “I haven’t been back to Columbia in quite some time. I am there!”
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