Ley Fletcher is in his fifth year as the Head Track and Field Coach at Lees-McRae.
In his second season, Fletcher continued to build upon the Bobcats’ success from the previous year, guiding the Lees-McRae men’s team to its second straight Conference Carolinas Championship and the program’s first-ever NCAA Division II Southeast Region Outdoor Championship. For his efforts, Fletcher was named the conference and region coach of the year for the second straight season.
Fletcher’s indoor teams posted a tremendous 2010 season, as the men’s and women’s squad finished the campaign ranked first and second in the region, respectively. The men’s team also boasted one national qualifier as Fletcher was named the 2010 Southeast Region Indoor Track and Field Coach of the Year.
The 2010 men’s team also boasted one All-American and one national qualifier as the Bobcats finished 64th at the national championship meet in Charlotte, N.C. Fletcher’s women’s team also had a successful season, finishing third in the conference and winning the Southeast Region Championship, earning Fletcher Women’s Southeast Region Coach of the Year honors.
Fletcher took the Bobcats to new heights in his first season, leading the men’s team to the Conference Carolinas Championship while garnering conference and NCAA Division II Southeast Region Coach of the Year honors. His women’s team also finished third at the Conference Carolinas Championship Meet, and went on to place second at the NCAA Southeast Regional.
Prior to his arrival in Banner Elk, Fletcher spent seven years at the helm of the cross country programs at conference foe Coker College. During his time at Coker, Fletcher led the Cobra men and women to the top in both Conference Carolinas and in the Southeast Region. As recently as 2006, Fletcher led the Cobra men to a third place finish in the conference and a fifth place showing in the region, while the women finished as high as fourth in the conference and sixth in the region.
Fletcher’s commitment to academics is impressive as well with eight Academic All-Americans during his time at Coker, two All-Region selections and numerous All-Conference members.
Before arriving at Coker, Fletcher spent three years at Meridian Community College as the Head Track and Field Coach. In the spring of 2001, his men’s track team finished 21st in the country, placing four student-athletes on the NJCAA All-America Teams. The Meridian women posted an impressive season in 2000 under Fletcher’s direction, finishing 16th in the outdoor championships.
In 1999, the Meridian men’s track team finished fourth in the country at the indoor championships and ninth at the outdoor championships. During the 1999 season, Fletcher had the privilege of coaching nationally ranked long jumper Miguel Pate, who went on to represent the United States at the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Fletcher attended the University of Mississippi before graduating from Athens State College with a degree in Physical Education. He is a USA Track and Field Level I and II Track and Field certified coach.
DeRico Tilley is in his first season as the assistant track and field coach at Lees-McRae College.
Tilley brings a tremendous amount of experience scouting, training, and developing student-athletes, serving as the sprint and relays coach at Oak Mountain High School in Birmingham, Ala. since 2007, and assisting with several other track programs throughout the Birmingham area.
He is also a successful entrepreneur, founding Fitness by Tilley in May of 2005 and serving as the chief fitness specialist with the company since its inception. A native of Mobile, Ala., Tilley also founded U.S. Elite Jr. in May of 2010, coaching men and women in the development of physical skills while building unique fitness plans for each member.
Tilley began his track and field career at the University of South Alabama, earning 12 all-Sun Belt Conference selections, while being named to the NJCAA All-American team eight times. The eight-time Sun Belt Athlete of the Week graduated from South Alabama with a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Communication, and also holds an Associate of Arts from Bishop State Community College.
Following his career at South Alabama, Tilley was selected to the United States’ Track and Field team, participating in the 100- and 200-meter dash events at various venues around the world from May 2002 to August 2009. Perhaps his top moment came in 2000 while still at South Alabama, when his performances in both events landed him among the top 10 in the world as well as a spot in the US Olympic trials.
What they’re saying about Coach Tilley
James Moore, head track & field coach at Oak Mountain High School: “Rico matches his personal experience with his own brand of “tough love served with compassion” that our athletes [at Oak Mountain] respond to so well. He knows that method works because he learned them himself the hard way. Rico is beloved by “his” sprinters and they willingly push past comfort to find the greatness within themselves that he already sees in them.”
Michael Mims, Director of Grants at Family Promise of Coastal Alabama, Inc.: “As a coach, DeRico has lovingly worked with athletes of varying abilities at every level of competition. His athletes respect not only his credentials and knowledge base, but also his coaching style. Rico coaches each athlete as an individual. He has a knack for identifying what motivates each person as well as identifying their strengths and weaknesses as athletes. These skills have served him well in crafting the appropriate training regiments and competition routines to ensure the success of teams under his charge.”
Chris Baptista, assistant track coach at California State University, Fresno: “DeRico has a strong desire to take the next step in his coaching career and to make a difference in peoples’ lives. Teaching life skills, adapting to ever changing social environments, living a structured lifestyle and being a role model are all key characteristics of DeRico. Place on top of that a self-motivated challenge to enhance at least one individual’s life every day and to be successful is what defines DeRico.”