(Photo Courtesy: Clemson University)
Tamara Ards, a 14-year coaching veteran, will enter her first season as assistant coach for Arizona State’s women’s track and field program.
Ards joined the Sun Devils following her three-year stint with North Carolina State, where she was a contender for the NCAA Southeast Region Men’s Assistant Coach of the Year.
ASU head coach Greg Kraft looked for an assistant coach that could serve as a mentor for Arizona State’s young team and Ards met the criteria. Ards has been a part of well-performing programs and has been mentored by prominent coaches in her past, including Dennis Shaver during her time at LSU.
“The goal is to try and push all of them, to see who aspires to be,” Ards said. “It’s a young team, the bulk of the team is sophomores.”
Ards is no stranger to Arizona. A native of Tucson, Ards returned to her roots after coaching several track and field programs, including Clemson, LSU, UNLV, North Carolina State and Colorado.
“I thought it’d be nice to get back close to home,” she said. “Arizona State, I hope, is a large brand and I thought I’d be here to kind of recruit and get some kids, and you know Coach Kraft has several championships, and I thought with the brand that ASU has in terms of athletics we’ll see how far that goes and if I can get some goals and big anchors to come here and try and get another championship before he retires.”
From her coaching job at Clemson, Ards assisted in the development of 2016 Team USA Olympic gold medal hurdler and American record holder Brianna Rollins.
Between her six seasons at North Carolina State and Clemson, Ards assisted the teams to four ACC Championships, 29 individual ACC Champions, and had 54 All-Americans.
Her coaching career began at her alma mater, the University of Colorado. Ards spent four seasons coaching at CU Boulder from 2002-2005, primarily in men’s and women’s sprints and hurdles.
Ards also serves as U.S. Track & Field Vice-Chair for the Coaches Education Committee and a Level 1 Instructor for jumps, sprints, hurdles and combined events.
As a collegiate athlete, Ards earned All-America honors on the 4×400 meter relay team in 1996. She was a Big 8 Academic All-American all four seasons as well.