Imagine having the chance to compete for a former Olympian?
That is the opportunity Taylor University track athletes will have as Merrillville grad David Neville III, a 2008 Beijing Olympic gold and bronze medalist, will be the coach at the Upland school.
Neville said he is ready for his next challenge. The 2002 Merrillville grad said he can't wait to start his new position as Taylor University's track and field coach.
"I have always dreamed that one day I would be a track coach and have my own program," Neville said. "I love the opportunity and I am real excited."
His idea of getting the most out of a student-athlete extends beyond the track.
"Yes, our goal is to develop them to the best of their athletic ability, but as a coach, my job is to do much more," Neville said. "I think you have to work to develop these young men and women spiritually as well.
"You want to make them the best they can be."
Neville was that as he won the Indiana state 400-meter dash title in 2002 and set a state record of 46.99, which still stands. He was a seven-time All-American at Indiana in indoor and outdoor track. He also won four individuals Big Ten titles and was on a wining 1,600 relay team.
Before Beijing, Neville won a silver at the 2003 Pan-American Junior Championships in the 200. At Beijing, Neville, LaShawn Merritt, Angelo Taylor and Jeremy Wariner won the gold medal in the 1,600 relay and set an Olympic record of 2:55.39.
He also won a bronze in the 400 (4.48) and is remembered for diving forward at the finish line on a wet track to take the bronze.
He had Achilles' bursitis and did not make the 2012 team.
"I have always had goals and that is what I want to show the kids," Neville said. "When I was in high school, my goal was to get to Beijing. I set that goal and achieved it. Then my goal was to become a medalist and I did that."
Neville said he can also share that experience.
"That (the Olympics) is something I will never forget and I will share that," Neville said. "You also make a point that no matter what your goals are, you have to work to get better."
He and his wife Arial have a 10-month-old daughter, Acaia.
"I now have to set new goals as a coach," Neville said, "then go out and work to achieve them."