New track and cross country assistant coach Tyra Massey is ready to take on new challenges
After years as a student-athlete sprinter, Massey brings unique experience to a developing program
Tyra Massey has been surrounded by athletics for the majority of her life, and for a long time, she said knew she wanted to coach at a prestigious and high-performing Division I program.
This semester marks her first as track and cross country’s newest assistant coach hire, but success has been a staple of Massey’s career. The West Virginia athlete was an excellent sprinter at Shady Spring High School, where she broke records in the 100, 200 and 400 meter. In 2016, she ran a personal best in the 100 meter at the Gazette/Friends of Coal Relays. Massey was also named the Outdoor West Virginia State Champion in the 100 meter that same year.
After graduating from Shady Spring High School, Massey chose to attend and compete for Auburn University. Massey ran for three years at the Division I school as a sprinter, but her fourth year was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
When it was time for Massey to consider her post-graduate opportunities, she said she had a very strong feeling for what she wanted to do next.
“As I was receiving my sports coaching minor from Auburn University, I was already developing my mindset as a coach,” Massey said. “Being a student-athlete at Auburn prepared me for the next step in life, so I felt well prepared not only from my degree but also from the knowledge I had from my coaches.”
Massey’s first coaching job out of college came as an assistant volunteer coach with Samford University. After spending a season with the Bulldogs, Massey is staying with Division I at AU. The former Auburn Tiger said the transition from athlete to coach was seamless.
“Having experience as an SEC athlete taught me various lessons to become the coach I am today,” Massey said. “I have experienced the pressures and adversity that most student-athletes face and learned how to overcome those obstacles as a student-athlete.”
Massey’s ability to overcome hardship shines through, and she will be taking on a brand new role with the program.
According to head coach Sean Graham, the team has been almost solely a middle-distance and long-distance team. However, now that Massey is part of the coaching staff, Graham said she will be tasked with making the Eagles a more high-flying unit. Not only is Massey responsible for recruiting sprint athletes, Graham said that she’s responsible for coaching those athletes as well.
Massey said she isn’t afraid of taking on such an important role, and that she is prepared to take on the challenge to build a successful program of athletes.
“I tend to build the sprint portion of the team by building a successful program with the athletes I have currently,” Massey said. “Then expanding by bringing in athletes that can compete at both the conference and national level.”
Graham said he has already taken notice of Massey’s effect on the team chemistry, despite the 2021-22 season just beginning.
“She’s excited about taking that on, that opportunity to build this into something really special,” Graham said. “This is a cool new portion of the program that we’ve not been able to do in the past.”
Now with AU, Massey is excited to develop the sprint’s section of the program and the athletes that come with it.
“I believe that my mindset is to develop athletes into the best they can be so that they can reach their full potential,” Massey said. “Having a positive impact on them as a coach is one of my main priorities and I am passionate about their success on and off the track.”