Royce Dates recently wrapped up a stellar four-year career as a member of the Tennessee State men’s track team. As a jumper with the Flying Tigers, Dates won 11 events including the 2012 Ohio Valley Conference Long Jump title with a leap of 7.58 meters. The Memphis, Tenn. native topped that performance with a personal record 7.71 meter jump in 2014, earning him a spot in the NCAA Division I Track and Field Championships in March. Dates recently sat down with TSUTigers.com to talk about his Tennessee State experience.
TSUTigers: Talk about your overall TSU experience.
A: My overall TSU experience was amazing. I wouldn't trade the people it met or connections made over the past 4 years for anything!
TSUTigers: What do you love most about TSU?
A: The one thing I love the most about TSU is the atmosphere and family-oriented environment. People from all over the world sharing a not-so-big space together is how you build a more down to earth relationship. Unlike the people at big schools who won't probably see the same person until years later.
TSUTigers: What will you miss most about TSU?
A: The support from the faculty and staff campus wide.
TSUTigers: What is your most memorable track and field moment at TSU?
A: My most memorable track and field moment at TSU would have to be from this past indoor season when I qualified for and competed in the NCAA Indoor National Championships. The standards were so tough and for me to have come back from being counted out earlier in the season to qualifying in my last indoor conference meet made it more amazing.
TSUTigers: What is your most memorable non-track and field moment at TSU?
A: Participating in the homecoming parade riding on a float. Just to see how much the kids, community, and alumni showed so much love and support. You're giving back happiness and fun. You feel at the top of the world.
TSUTigers: Do you have a favorite TSU fan/supporter? If so, who?
A: Yes, but I don't know his name. He always asked about me and shared history with me when he saw me though. It was rare. But good.
TSUTigers: What advice would you give to incoming freshman?
A: Go to class! Don't let the upperclassmen fun distract you from becoming an upperclassmen.
TSUTigers: What was your most challenging class at TSU?
A: Anatomy and Physiology. Everything looked the same lol.
TSUTigers: Who was your favorite professor?
A: It's a tie between Dr. Hamido and Ms. Patrice Elder.
TSUTigers: What organizations were you a part of outside of track and field?
TSUTigers: Who have been the most influential people to you at TSU?
A: My coaches and teammates.
TSUTigers: What’s next for you?
A: I start my professional career and training this fall and my goal is to focus on making the USA world championship team next year to compete in Beijing.
TSUTigers: Once you are an alumnus, how will you stay connected with TSU?
A: I plan on starting an athletic scholarship to assist with covering all fees and also hopefully starting a summer camp one day for all sports while hiring TSU athletes as employees.
TSUTigers: What do you know now that you didn’t know coming in as a freshman?
A: Networking is the key to success. On any and all levels, you must build a relationship to get where you want to get.
TSUTigers: What have you learned at TSU that you will keep with you for the rest of your life?
A: Time management. Don't make having fun a priority. If you do, then you will never really have fun.
TSUTigers: Is there anything else that you would like to say to the TSU family?
A: Once a Tiger, Always a Tiger.