Nic Fortenberry is in his seventh season at the U of M. He has established a contingent of sprinters and hurdlers that can contend in the conference and nation for years to come. In all, Fortenberry has coached 27 regional qualifiers, nine NCAA qualifiers and 14 Conference USA champions.
During the 2012 campaign, Fortenberry guided seven athletes (Robert Jackson, Brandon Williams, Tyrell Forde, Maya Williamson, Kala Funderburk, Keyona Neal, and Monica Mason) to the NCAA East Preliminary for the second year in a row. It also marked the sixth consecutive year he sent athletes to the NCAA post season.
Senior Robert Jackson won two C-USA titles in the 60m hurdles (indoor) and 110m hurdles (outdoor) and made his third straight post season appearance. Teammate Brandon Williams continued to impress in the 400m hurdles, taking silver at the C-USA Outdoor Championships and punching his second ticket to the post season. The 2012 season also saw the emergence of Tyrell Forde, with the freshman picking up a win at the Memphis Invitational and qualifying for his first NCAA East Preliminary.
He continued to grow the Tigers' female sprinter/hurdler program with breakout performances by Maya Williamson and Kala Funderburk, both of whom qualified for the NCAA East Preliminary. Funderburk took three titles in outdoor competition in the 400m and set school-record at the Memphis Invitational, clocking in at 53.76. Competing in the 400m hurdles, Williamson qualified for the USA Junior Outdoor Championships, where she took bronze and set a program record of 58.97.
Williamson and Funderburk, along with teammates Monica Mason and Keyona Neal, broke more records and took All-C-USA second team honors competing in the 4 x 400m relay. The group broke the school record and took first place at the Vanderbilt Black and Gold Invitational with a time of 3:46.14. The squad would break their own record four more times during the outdoor season, with the fourth time coming at the NCAA East Preliminary where they finished 13th overall at a time of 3:37.45.
Breaking program records is nothing new for Fortenberry's athletes. In his time working with Memphis sprinters/hurdlers (and assisting with jumpers up until 2011), a total of 12 school records have been broken. Included in Fortenberry's list of record holders are: Tayanna Simpson (60m hurdles, 100m hurdles), Lashundra Kernshaw (60m), Inger Anne Froysedal (indoor high jump), Chen Edri (outdoor high jump), Aaron Evans (800m), Richard Lowe (400m hurdles), and Aaron Whetstone (triple jump).
In 2011, Fortenberry qualified seven athletes for the NCAA Regionals (Robert Jackson, Richard Lowe, Nick Harold, Brandon Williams, Tayanna Simpson and LaShundra Kershaw). Fortenberry saw senior Richard Lowe qualify for the NCAA Outdoor Championships, making him the only representative from C-USA in the 400m hurdles at the event. Lowe went on to earn First-Team All-America status, and was named the C-USA Male Athlete of the year.
Under Fortenberry's tutelage in 2010, Richard Lowe and Robert Jackson each made it to the NCAA Outdoor Championships in hurdles. That same year, Fortenberry coached LaShundra Kershaw to a trip NCAA Regionals in the 100 and 200-meter sprints in 2010.
In 2009, five Tigers qualified for the Mideast Regionals and two of the athletes advanced to the finals of the Regionals. Three of Fortenberry's athletes qualified for the 2008 NCAA Mideast Regionals, with all of them winning individual crowns at the C-USA Outdoor Championships.
In Nic's first season (2007), the Tiger sprinters, hurdlers and jumpers played a pivotal role in the men's C-USA Outdoor Championship, scoring a total of 56 points. In the title run, Willie Green (100m) Amaechi Oselukwue (110m hurdles) and Brandon Winbush (long jump, triple jump) each won individual championships. Additionally, Nic had five athletes from that championship squad qualify for the NCAA postseason (Willie Green, Amaechi Oselukwue, Stephon Greenlee, Larry Harris and Brandon Winbush).
A graduate of Tylertown High School (Mississippi) in 1992, he was a valued member of the track and field team. His next educational stop was LSU where he received a degree in industrial education and construction management. Prior to joining the University of Memphis staff, Fortenberry had a successful stint as a high school coach here in the Memphis-area.