COLUMBIA, S.C. - University of South Carolina hurdler Johnny Dutch will begin his career as a professional track and field athlete, thus foregoing his senior year of eligibility for the Gamecocks. Dutch will sign with Renaldo Nehemiah of Octagon, a sport and entertainment management and marketing company based out of McLean, Va.
Dutch (Clayton, N.C.) will remain in Columbia for the 2010-11 academic year to train with South Carolina head coach Curtis Frye and complete his degree in media arts. He concludes his Gamecock career as an eight-time All-American and was a 2010 final candidate for The Bowerman, awarded each year to the top male collegiate athlete in the sport of NCAA track and field.
"Choosing a college I thought at the time would be the hardest decision I'd have to make, but this is definitely another decision that I wouldn't say is as hard but is taking another step into a different direction," Dutch said of deciding to become a professional athlete. "I've had three good years here and have improved each year under Coach Frye. I've enjoyed my teammates. The staff - Coach Frye, Coach (Kevin) Brown, Coach Dee (Quarles), Coach Stan (Rosenthal), Coach (Mike) Sergent, Coach Ben (Yocum) and Coach Jackie (Madison) - I appreciate all they've taught me these three years. I'm just ready to make the next step to the professional circuit. I'm excited about where it will take me. These next few years I'm staying under Coach Frye. I don't believe in trying to reinvent the
wheel. Changing now wouldn't make sense, so (I'm) staying with Coach Frye and staying in school. I have seven more classes and an
internship left, so I will stay to finish that and train through the 2010 Olympics."
The 2010 season was a memorable one as Dutch capped a stellar junior campaign by winning the 400-meter hurdle title at the NCAA Outdoor Championships to complete an undefeated season in the event. The title was his first career national title and the first intermediate hurdle title in a storied South Carolina hurdle program. At the 2010 USA Outdoor Championships last month, Dutch ran the second-fastest time in the world this year and moved to No. 2 on the all-time collegiate list when he earned the intermediate hurdles silver medal with a time of 47.63.
Overall, Dutch claimed four All-America honors during the 2010 collegiate season. He was the only male athlete in the country to earn All-America citations in all three hurdle events (60-meter hurdles indoor, 110-meter hurdle outdoor, 400-meter hurdles outdoor), and also ran a leg of the 4x400-meter relay. He collected a total of five medals in the 2010 season after grabbing three SEC bronze medals (60-meter hurdles, 110-meter hurdles, 4x400-meter relay), an SEC gold medal (400-meter hurdles) and an NCAA gold medal (400-meter hurdles).
Dutch will compete in four of the final five meets of the IAAF Diamond League before returning to campus for the fall. He participated in Monaco on July 22 and will also compete at Stockholm (August 6), London (August 13) and Zurich (August 19).