Story by Alexandra Shea on 09/23/2019It can be easy to spot a military family in Columbia, South Carolina. Families can often sound, look and talk different than a state native. Children of military families have carried the nickname "military brat" since the day they were born. For one such "brat" who grew up on Fort Jackson, he serves his military community through coaching.
Coach Terry Lawrence, head track and field coach at Richland Northeast High School, was born to active duty parents who served and retired at Fort Jackson. Lawrence never joined the military, he instead pursued a degree and career in athletic sports.
"You can just look at a kid and know they came from a different base," Lawrence said. "The thing with military kids, you can just look at each other and know. Both of my parents are retired military and my dad still works with housing on Fort Jackson."
Lawrence's passion of coaching, along with his own sports background, led him to Richland Northeast where many military children who reside off-post attend. His work coaching outside of the school has led him to help local area youth to become better athletes in the sports of track and field, football, baseball and soccor. He also coaches college athletes beyond the degree.
"There's no real structure in place to let athletes know what to do after college," Lawrence said. "Most athletes have to go overseas to compete because it's a lot bigger outside the U.S."
Lawrence currently coaches one post college athlete who is also a Soldier, Sgt. Marcus Maxey a 25B Information Technology Specialist at Fort Gordon, Georgia. Maxey met Lawrence while in high school where he competed as a hurdler in track and field. The two stayed in touch throughout Maxey's college career at Clemson University. Once he joined the military, Maxey took a small break from track and field to complete Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training. Once graduated, he was back to basics and training with Lawrence.
"I graduated in 2013 and ran for Clemson," Maxey said. "I enlisted right after I graduated and bumped into Coach Lawrence at Olympic tryouts. He was coaching one of my old teammates. I'm currently training for CISM, the World Army meet, and next year's Olympics."
CISM, or the International Military Sports Council, governs the CISM World Games where service members from across the globe compete in Olympic style games. Maxey is set to travel to Wuhan City, China where he will compete in the 7th CISM World Games 2019 in October. Maxey will be competing hurdles at various lengths.
"It's what I dreamed of since a little kid," Maxey said. "Wearing the U.S. uniform and representing the U.S.A. and making it to an upper echelon meet is an honor."
Maxey travels a few days out of the week to train with Lawrence to ready himself for the games. While some may consider the drive long, Maxey is dedicated to ensuring he can compete at his highest potential at the games. He said he is confident that he will be a force to beat at the upcoming games.
"He took the initiative to stay in contact and continued to work over these years," Lawrence said. "He drives an hour and a half to come and practice. It paid off and he is going to represent the U.S. Army team."
Lawrence has high confidence in Maxey's ability to compete at the CISM World Games. For days that Maxey and Lawrence don't train together, Maxey completes tailored practice routines at home. Lawrence offers his coaching free of charge to Maxey and athletes outside of his school schedule.
"I want to help people reach their goals," Lawrence said. "In turn it's just going to help more people."