By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Tech head track & field and cross country coach Peter Dalton announced the promotion of assistant Accaiya Evans to associate head coach Thursday. Evans has served as an assistant on the Golden Eagle staff for the past year-and-a-half after arriving in Cookeville in January 2020.
“Coach Evans’ work ethic, positivity and vision clearly demonstrate her top-tier leadership qualities,” Dalton expressed. “The student-athletes look up to Coach Evans and recognize that her example paves the way for their future opportunities and success.”
Evans expressed her thanks and excitement for her new opportunity in helping lead the student-athletes in the program.
“I am honored and excited to be promoted to associate head coach,” Evans said. “What makes this extra-special to me is that I am the first female and African-American minority to be appointed to the position. Joining Coach Dalton and Tennessee Tech Athletics has been like finding a winning lottery ticket. When I accepted this position 16 months ago, Coach Dalton laid out his vision, gave me a platform, and provided me the resources to reload our program the right way. What’s been great is our outlook and vision for the future of this program have been identical since day one. I honestly wouldn’t bet against us. His trust, guidance, and recognition of my passion and hard work is an amazing feeling. He makes it easy for me to do what I do best.”
Since Dalton’s arrival in the fall of 2019, and Evans’ in the winter of 2020, all three programs have seen incremental improvement, particularly the Tech track & field program this past season. The progress has been encouraging despite the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic that saw the cancellation of the outdoor track season in 2020 and indoor season in 2021, as well as abbreviated and rescheduled cross country seasons this past spring.
“I am thankful for our entire coaching, athletic, and academic support staff for being an amazing group of people to work with,” Evans explained. “Leading this team through a pandemic season would not have been possible without their hard work and support.
“A special thank you goes to my ladies on the team as well. They trust me as their leader and have pushed me to be a better coach every day. The culture they have created is incredible. From top to bottom, we have an incredible group of high-character, hardworking, and promising ladies. A top-tier collegiate experience and their development as people have and will continue to be a priority for me. This is only the beginning for our program. We are just getting started.”
A Richmond, Va. native and letterwinner at George Mason University, Evans arrived at Tech after serving in the role as “acting” head coach at Mississippi Valley State, a member of the Southwestern Atlantic Conference. Prior to assuming that role in October 2019, Evans spent a year at MVSU as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator.
Evans assisted with the men’s and women’s cross country programs, as well as the indoor and outdoor track and field programs, overseeing hurdles, jumps, mid-distance, and distance. She helped coach five Panthers to 2019 East Regional qualifications during the 2019 cross country season.
Prior to her time at MVSU, Evans served as an assistant track & field and cross country coach at Virginia Union University from 2012-14, where she led the distance and cross country programs. The Panthers distance program won seven cross country all-conference awards, finished 2013 men’s cross country runner-up, and the 2014 men’s cross country team championship. Evans also led the Panthers to five indoor/outdoor all-conference awards and five individual gold medalists.
While at VUU, Evans coached Frank Charles to a pair of individual championships during the 2013 season in the 5,000-meter and 1,600-meter races, helping guide him to capture the 2013 CIAA Indoor Runner of the Year award. She also helped lead fellow Panther Emmanuel Nelford to the 800-meter indoor individual championship during the same season. During the 2012 indoor season, Evans coached Charles to an individual conference championship in the 5,000-meter run, before helping guide Charles to win both the 5,000-meter and 1,600-meter events for the Panthers during the 2012 outdoor season.
For more than a decade, she worked as the assistant head coach, female coordinator, and team recruiter with the East End Lightning Youth Track, a prolific track & field program in Virginia, while at VUU. Additionally, she has served as the meet director of several USATF and AAU youth-level competitions. She is USATF Level I Certified and a USATF certified official.
Prior to her coaching career, she double-majored at George Mason University, earning a Bachelor of Arts in psychology, alongside a Bachelor of Arts in integrative studies in 2010. Evans was a member of the Patriots women’s track and field program from 2006-08.
Photo by Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information