PHOENIX -- Tennessee track legend and VFL Christian Coleman won The 2017 Bowerman Award, as announced on Friday night at The Bowerman Presentation at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa during the 2017 USTFCCCA Convention.
Coleman beat out fellow finalists Fred Kerley and Lindon Victor of Texas A&M for the men's award. Oregon's Raevyn Rogers edged Arizona State's Maggie Ewen and Georgia's Keturah Orji for the women's award.
"This means a lot, just knowing the caliber of athletes who have won the award," Coleman said. "Knowing the type of accomplishments that Fred Kerley and Lindon Victor achieved, it means a lot to bring The Bowerman trophy back to Tennessee. I think it means a lot to the program too. I'm thankful for it and it has been a great experience."
Coleman is the first Tennessee student-athlete win The Bowerman, which is college track and field's highest honor. With Coleman's win, the SEC has now produced that last four men's Bowerman winners. Texas A&M's Deon Lendore won in 2014, Florida's Marquis Dendy won in 2015 and Arkansas' Jarrion Lawson won in 2016.
"It has been a long journey, but it has been a fun journey too," Coleman said. "All of the practices, the hard work, the film sessions - everything - it's all been worth it. To have my name etched up there with some of the people who have won this award, it makes it all worth it."
Sunday's event highlighted the outstanding 2017 track and field seasons of six finalists. In his acceptance speech, Coleman thanked his family, Tennessee director of track and field/cross country Beth Alford-Sullivan and UT assistant coach/sprints Tim Hall for their support and their belief in him.
"First of all, major kudos to the USTFCCCA, The Bowerman committee and the entire effort that goes in to making these kids feel this special and recognized," Alford-Sullivan said. "Our sport is such an amazing sport with so much going on in it, and to get it down to six young people, three guys and three gals, and to see it come our way was unbelievably rewarding."
Alford-Sullivan added that The Bowerman win was the perfect way to cap Coleman's historic college career.
"You can never really see the end result of a journey," Alford-Sullivan said. "You have to stay in the moment and you have to stay present in it. I'm just thrilled with the great and excellent coaching from Coach Hall, the support from Tennessee and the environment that Tennessee produces to bring out your best out of you. That is just something I've never seen matched anywhere else. To be a Vol, it demands you being your best. Christian was able to maximize that and accelerate the process."
Hall praised Coleman's commitment to excellence in his pursuit of his goals.
"It is just the icing on the cake of a phenomenal season," Hall said. "This young man's journey has been one that is almost unheard of in collegiate sports. To come in and just own the notion of winning the double-double (60-meter indoor, 200-meter indoor, 100-meter outdoor, 200-meter outdoor) and having the fortitude to work hard every day and make the sacrifices necessary to accomplish that, it's what you are seeing tonight."
Coleman, who was also a finalist for the 2017 IAAF Rising Star Award and a nominee for the 2017 Jesse Owens Award, is just the second person to win the USTFCCCA National Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year and USTFCCCA National Indoor Track Athlete of the Year awards in the same season since the Bowerman Award was introduced in 2009. The other person to sweep the awards, Galen Rupp, won the Bowerman in 2009. Coleman became just the second person in NCAA history to win four sprint national championships in one year as he won the 60 meters and 200 meters during the indoor season and the 100 meters and 200 meters during the outdoor season. VFL Justin Gatlin, who accomplished the feat in 2002, is the only other person to complete the sprint double-double.
In 2017, Coleman ran eight sub-10 times in the 100 meters, including a NCAA-record 9.82. He clocked a 19.85 in the 200 meters in the NCAA East first round. He was named SEC Outdoor Men's Runner of the Year and he earned the 2017 SEC Commissioner's Trophy as the high point scorer at the SEC Championships. During the indoor season, he matched the collegiate record for the 60 meters, clocking a 6.45 at NCAA Championships in College Station, Texas.
In August, Coleman also earned silver in the men's 100 meters and the men's 4x100 at the London 2017 IAAF World Championships.