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Coaching and Staff
Merlin D. Smith
Coach Smith has been working with the youth of the community since returning to Jacksonville, FL in 1994. Coach Smith has coached at several parks and schools within the area. Coach Smith is the former Head Football Coach at St. Johns Country Day School in Orange Park, FL. In 2003 Coach Smith received his Master’s in Organizational Management from the University of Phoenix. He used the opportunity to once again give back to the community, this time as a teacher. Coach Smith has taught Math and Physical education over his 15 year teaching career.
Coach Smith wanted to provide opportunities to the youth of the community that were not being offered. He knew that AAT Sports Academy would be able to provide these opportunities through hosting sporting events, development of sports clubs, providing fitness training, and enhancing academic wellness. Through its spiritual foundation and strong values AAT Sports Academy has been able to provide many of these services.
Coach Mike Shannon - Jumpers / Throwers
Coach Cristina Duran - Distance
Coach Chris Tatum - Sprinters
Coach Nazirah Jones - Sprinters
In 2006 AAT Sports Academy was developed through the vision of its founder Coach Merlin D Smith.
AAT stands for Alignment, Assignment, and Technique. Coach Smith believes that AAT is an important tool in athletics as well as in life. Having your proper alignment in athletics gives you the leverage needed to be successful. As in life aligning yourself with the right people is key to you achieving what God has planned for you. Understanding your assignment in athletics gives the individual athlete the advantage against their opponent. In Proverbs 18:16 it tells us our gift will make room for us. Our gift from God is our assignment. We must have clarity to maximize our potential. Our technique is developed every day. This development occurs in all aspects of our life. We should always thirst for knowledge.
AAT Sports Academy is in place to help the youth, families, and businesses of our community strive and not just survive. In doing this we will have achieved our mission which is to provide the world with more prepared and productive individuals.