Jeremiah Green has been competing as a track and field athlete since his freshman year at Hillsborough High School. Now, eight years later, he is preparing for his last competition as an NCAA Division One triple jumper.
Tell me a little about yourself in terms of your college career as a jumper.
My college career went great. I've had a lot of great accomplishments over the years. Starting my freshman year at Alabama and receiving SEC Freshman of the Year was an amazing start. I'm a 5x All American, ACC and SEC Indoor Triple Jump Champion, just to name a few. I'm currently the Alabama Indoor Triple Jump Record Holder and, being that my former Triple Jump Coach at Alabama, Coach Miguel Pate, held the record before me, breaking his record was an amazing feeling because I knew that my mark would be left in the history books for years to come just like Coach Pate's did.
What was your transition from Alabama to Clemson like?
Transitioning from Alabama to Clemson was pretty tough. Not too many people know that I had to redshirt my senior year at Alabama because I had to have surgery on my right calf. Coach Chris Bostwick at Clemson did an amazing job with rehab, and getting me physically and mentally ready for the season. After graduation at Alabama, Clemson welcomed me with open arms and it's been amazing to switch schools and be able to adapt to a new environment so quickly, as well as have the opportunity to earn my Master's Degree. Now I'm Clemson's Indoor and Outdoor Triple Jump record holder. I do have one more goal to accomplish, and that's winning an NCAA title, which has been one of my goals since freshman year. All in all, being able to leave my mark at two universities is a pretty awesome college career.
You mentioned having surgery on your calf during your senior year at Alabama, what was that for?
Well, during my junior year I had a tremendous amount of pain in my right calf. I ended up finding out that I had a lot of dead tissue in my calf and the muscle wasn't getting any blood flow or oxygen. Because of that, it caused my calf to cramp up a lot and gave me an excessive amount of pain when I would do simple stuff such as walk around.
What are you getting your Master's Degree in?
Youth Development Leadership.
Can you think of any defining moments in your college career as a jumper? In other words, was there a moment that really confirmed that you are meant to be a Division One athlete?
I really don't have just one specific moment in my college career that stands out, all of them are very special to me.
You faced some adversity with losing both of your parents at just eleven years old, can you take us back to that year? How did that impacted the journey you are on today?
Yes, losing both of my parents at the age of eleven played a huge impact on my journey, as well as who I am as a man today. As sad as that was for me, I learned so much about myself and my family. What doesn't kill you definitely makes you stronger and that's exactly what it did for me. It made me stronger, mentally tough, and ready to handle any adversities life threw at me. Their passing gave me the power and strength to leave Tampa at the age of 18 with no money and a little bit of clothes. I left the rest of my family behind to go off into the world by myself and attend University of Alabama. The first year was definitely the hardest. I probably packed my bags and wanted to leave Tuscaloosa over 100 times that year. But, having my parents there spiritually, talking and praying to them, got me through my darkest nights. It gave me the confidence that I had a special purpose at University of Alabama and the rest was history. Attending Alabama I made friends who became part of my family and experienced some of the greatest times of my life there.
Your coach at Hillsbourough High School, Coach Joe Sipp, really took you under his wing and guided you. You managed state champion titles under his training. Can you tell me about that and his influence on your life?
Coach Sipp and Coach Webb played a huge role in my success. I will love those coaches until the day I die. Coach Webb was my jump coach and he taught me everything I needed to know about triple jump. Sipp coached the body and mind aspect of me. The most important thing these two coaches taught me, that I'll forever be grateful for, is how to be a man. Not just any man, but a good man, and role model for other young individuals coming up behind me. The journey we had together was a once in a lifetime experience. I cried when I graduated high school because I knew our journey had come to an end. But Coach Sipp and Coach Webb saw my success before it even happened. I can remember during my freshman year of high school, at the second track meet, Coach Webb fired me from triple jump believe it or not. I started focusing more on sprinting with Coach Sipp. Towards the end of the season, Coach Webb hired me back on the jump squad and gave me another chance. That was the high school regional meet and I ended up jumping 45 feet and losing to two of my teammates. Coach Webb and Coach Sipp said, "You jumped 45 feet as a freshman. That's huge. You are going to be a star Jeremiah."
I didn't believe them. I felt that they were just talking. The changing point to me in my high school career was the end of my sophomore year. That summer was my first year running AAU track, and Junior Olympics was in New Orleans that year. Coach Sipp wanted me to go but I wasn't really feeling it. I had a horrible toothache that week, no money, and I really just wanted to get ready for football season. But Coach Sipp kept asking and pressuring me, saying this track meet would change my life. I was so scared because I had never been out of Florida before, but everyday he kept trying to convince me to go. Then, the day before he left for New Orleans, I decided to go. Coach Sipp was there and Coach Webb was coaching me over the phone. I ended up losing at the meet but I did PR with a jump of 48 feet. The winning jump was 50 feet, 3 inches. In my mind, I really ended up winning because after that meet. I felt so strongly that I could jump with anybody in the country. My junior year, Coach Sipp and Coach Webb saw a different person. At the first track meet I jumped 50 feet. I ended up being the Florida State Triple Jump Champion and New Balance Outdoor Champion. Then, I came back my senior year, and Coach Webb talked about my goals for the upcoming season. We decided that every track meet I went to, my goal was to break the track record. I ended up being a back to back State Champion and Indoor/Outdoor New Balance Nationals Champion.
Rewind 10 years ago, when you were living in Tampa, would you have ever dreamed of accomplishing your All American statuses, or your huge success in general?
No, 10 years ago I didn't know anything about track and field. To be honest, college wasn't something I ever thought of going to as well. My family was just trying to keep everyone's head above water. I used to always run street races against other kids in the neighborhood and played Little League Football for the Robles Park Wildcats. My coaches used to always tell me that I was a special type of athlete, and, if I didn't get into any trouble, I would do some special things in life.
You had an incredibly successful four years at Alabama, so why Clemson for graduate school?
Why I chose Clemson? That's a good question, because I always say Clemson chose me. Now don't get me wrong, I love University of Alabama with all my heart. Roll Tide for life. Leaving Alabama was very hard for me because I gave my heart and soul to that track team. Coach Waters promised me four wonderful years and a degree. I think it was just our time to separate and create new memories. Now I've made new friends who I see as family at Clemson, who accepted me with open arms and gave me a chance even after surgery. Clemson is a beautiful school and Coach Elliott has a great track and field program here.
What would your mom and dad say if they could see you now?
If my parents were here, which I feel like they are here with me in spirit, I would say they would probably be bragging about their baby boy 24/7, and are so proud of how I made something out of nothing. Also, how I've inspired and motivated friends and family to start chasing their dreams and making good decisions. I've learned that life is what you make of it no matter if you start from the bottom or the top. You control your own destiny.
Jeremiah will be competing in the Triple Jump at Hayward Field on Friday at 5:40pm, PST.