KNOXVILLE, TN – Evansville’s athletic phenom Joseph Maxwell has been making big waves on the college track and field circuit with his eye on securing a 2021 Summer Olympic berth for shot put and he isn’t letting his focus on that goal drop despite the truncated 2020 track season. Mr. Maxwell, who is finishing up his courses at the University of Tennessee this year, received a significant boost to his post educational career in the form of a prestigious award from his alma mater.
The school’s coaching staff selected Mr. Maxwell as the 2020 recipient of the Chuck Tohe Leadership Award.
The award is named for the legendary University of Tennessee coach who led the men’s track program from 1963 through 1971. Mr. Rohe led the Tennessee Volunteers to 21 consecutive Southeastern Conference titles in cross country, as well as indoor and outdoor track and field. In 1967, Mr. Rohe was named the United States Track and Field Coach of the Year.
Receiving this honour is not too bad an addition to Mr. Maxwell’s résumé, considering his post Olympic (fingers crossed) career aspirations in coaching.
“It really is an honour,” said Mr. Maxwell. “It is a leadership award and I think it kind of reflects where I am in my athletic career.” He explained that when he first arrived on the scene in Tennessee, he was just finding his feet and learning the ropes.
“Now with a few wins under my belt I think I am more comfortable in providing guidance and advice to those who are finding their way,” he said. “I am a team captain and now one of the older athletes who have had some success.”
The Chuck Rohe Leadership Award is designated for the student athlete who “consistently displays outstanding leadership with integrity, enthusiasm, diligence, academic excellence and a get-it-done attitude.”
Although he can’t get out to the gym these days due to the pandemic (even if he did, the mask requirements would impact his breathing in a way counterproductive to training), Mr. Maxwell said that he is in a good place. “I have all of the equipment I really need here, including some that I designed myself,” he said.
The focus element is easier to maintain during the pandemic. “All I have to do these days is workout, eat and sleep,” he chuckled. “It looks like I will be getting one of my seasons back (student athletes are limited in the number of seasons in which they can compete, Mr. Maxwell effectively lost one with the advent of the pandemic).”
In the medium term, Mr. Maxwell said that he has been hearing exciting things about a program in New Zealand and in the meantime, the Summer Olympics have been postponed to 2021 and the student athlete isn’t at all disappointed with the extra training time he now has at his disposal.