“Open your heart, believe in your mind and follow your passion.”
This month we are profiling Jermaine Stafford, one of the all-time greats of our sport. A phenomenal sprinter while at Franklin High School in Rochester, NY, and an humble young man. He single-handedly re-wrote the high school record books of New York state before moving on to Michigan State University.
His many accomplishments include the freshman, sophomore, junior and senior class 100 and the freshman, sophomore, and junior 200 meter New York state records! (1991, ’92,’93 and ’94) He still holds the NY state indoor 60 meter and outdoor 100 and 200 meter records. One of the highlights of his high school career was the 20.70 200 meter victory at the USATF Junior Olympics in 1992 into an incredible 3.5 headwind- a NY state All-time mark. In that race also were future Olympians, Alvin and Calvin Harrison.
1991 AAU Champion 200m
1991 USATF Junior National Team
1992 Seoul - qualified for the Olympics but left off the team at the last minute.
1992 & 1993 USA Gatorade Athlete of the Year
1993 Pan Am Juniors 200 meter Gold Medalist
1993 4x100 meter Gold (40.73) at the Penn Relays with teammates, Thomas Evans, Garfield Ellenwood, and Antoine Anderson.
1994 Won Arcadia and Golden West 100m
1994 NSIC 200m Indoor Champion from lane 8 with the nations fastest time.
Jermaine is now living in Colorado where he is the Director of the Community Service Division and Marketing Manager of RMSER and founder and Director of the Premier Difference Makers Academy.
National Scholastic: Who inspired you to run track?
Jermaine: My inspiration always came from living in poverty as a youth. I truly understood if sprinting fast could bring me and my future family a better environment than my life then; I was going to run as fast as my legs and God allowed me. Later in my career it was truly the late Trent Jackson, Sr. His life inspired me in many ways. Track was the obvious!
National Scholastic: What was it like being a student athlete and running at your high school?
Jermaine: It was amazing to be a Franklin High student-athlete. Unlike most, we had a rich tradition in all sports. Our coaches were skilled and successful former athletes themselves. Coach Jackson, Coach Cedric Walker and Coach Cash were wonderful influences in my life to date.
National Scholastic: What was it like being a student-athlete and running at Michigan State?
Jermaine: Michigan State was a learning experience for me! As a athlete I did not take advantage of my opportunities as a young freshman. As a student, I learned fast that athletics aren't a excuse to be a below average student. I truly grew as a person fast at Michigan State. It was just amazing to run out of those tunnels as a football player and to travel with the track team on the charter buses. It was truly a great experience! Proud of my time spent on that campus.
National Scholastic: What is your favorite memory from high school?!
Jermaine: Well, it was truly a ton of great moments but I will never forget the moment when I realized I was more than just a athlete when I was asked to sign a autograph at a local track meet! That opened my eyes a lot about what people respected and admire about people- success, winners! From day forward I seek winning as a place of belonging.
National Scholastic: What is your favorite memory from college?
Jermaine: As college athlete I had some great moments. The most memorable had to be the day I walked onto Michigan States campus. To know not only was I now a collegiate athlete I was doing something very few in my family has ever done. I was a college student. Still gives me chill bumps when I think about that day.
National Scholastic: What was your most exciting event or race?
Jermaine: It would be the Junior Nationals in 1993. I had some great competition in the 200m dash. Calvin & Alvin Harrison, Tim Harden, Rashard Griffin. I was the only high school kid in this event and I was shaking in my spikes but ready to run fast. I won the race running a great time into a string head wind. It was truly a great moment to embrace my Coach Cedric Walker in victory.
National Scholastic: What have you been doing since you left college and how long have you been doing it?
Jermaine: I'm very blessed to be in a "paying forward" situation. I have been working with youth and communities in the Denver Colorado area. I'm currently with a non-profit organization called RMSER This is a thirty- two year old group that focuses on providing employment, training and educational opportunities to Colorado's Communities. I'm the director of the Community Service Division along with the founder and director of the premier Difference Makers Academy. I recently took a role of Marketing Manager for RMSER as well. As you can see, my heart and passion is in sharing my life and athletic experiences with those who need it the most. I'm a proud husband (wife Stefanie) and father of four children (Davelin-14, Haven-13, Jaden-11 and Madysen-2.
National Scholastic: What advice would you give to other student athletes?
Jermaine: My advice is simple- Open your heart, believe in your mind and follow your passion. Always keep the main object of your life first priority. Never trust the easy path or leave any stone unturned. Last, if your dream is to be a professional athlete; first dream to be a professional citizen, friend, daughter/son or neighbor! That will never end!