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Roy ready to run Pellissippi State’s new cross country and half marathon teams

Headshot of Pellissippi State cross country and half marathon coach Emily Roy
Emily Roy, cross country coach at Sweetwater High School for the past 17 years, has been hired as Pellissippi State’s first cross country and half marathon coach.

Sweetwater native Emily Roy has been running for 25 years. 

This fall she gets to run Pellissippi State’s first cross country and half marathon teams, as the College embarks on its inaugural season of competitive athletics. 

“I’ve been coaching high school cross country for 17 years, and I’ve always loved that,” said Roy, who will continue teaching full time at Sweetwater High School while serving as Pellissippi State’s head cross country and half marathon coach. “I’m excited to see what I can do with the kind of committed runners we will have at the college level.” 

Roy found her knack for running as a middle schooler. 

“I wasn’t good at any sports because I’m not very coordinated,” Roy explained, laughing. “But when I was manager of the junior high school girls’ basketball team, I would run with the team at the end of practices, and the coach told me, ‘The other girls are winded, and you aren’t.’” 

Roy ran competitively for four years at Sweetwater High School and for four years at Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee. She’s been coaching since she joined Sweetwater High School as a biology and physical science teacher 17 years ago. 

In the meantime, Roy has continued running recreationally. While she enjoys 10-milers and half marathons, Roy said her best distance is 26.2 miles. She’s run 13 marathons so far. 

“Boston is pretty cool because it’s so historic, but my best time was in New York,” she said. “I love the Knoxville marathon, too, and have run it several times.” 

Roy will be coaching both men’s and women’s running teams for Pellissippi State. Women run 5K distances in collegiate cross country competitions while men run 8Ks. The half marathon is 13.1 miles. 

Athletic card for Emily Roy, cross country and half marathon coach“Coach Roy is going to make an excellent addition to our staff,” said Pellissippi State Athletics Director Brock Evans. “She holds a wealth of knowledge and experience to develop runners. Emily has proven that she knows what it takes to be successful on the course, and I believe she can instill that drive into our student athletes.” 

Right now Roy is building her teams and would like to have 10 men and 10 women on her rosters this fall. They are allowed by National Junior College Athletic Association rules to start practicing Aug. 1, but Roy does not plan to “race them” until September. 

“I’m excited to be here and help build this program from the ground up,” Roy said. “I know we will be able to compete with our fellow community colleges.” 

Those who are interested in running for Pellissippi State this fall should fill out the “Recruit Me” interest form at the bottom of the College’s Athletics webpage,