Know the Aztecs: Ronald Promesse


By Erik Bustillos

Photo by Alex Thompson

Head Track Coach Ronald Promesse is an accomplished track sprinter who reached the Olympics in 2000 and now uses that same spirit and energy to encourage track and cross country athletes.

Where Did the Journey start?

It started in St. Lucia Island in the Caribbean. I was born there August 31, 1974.

Why Track?

Originally soccer was my first love but, my senior year, track was my main focus because it’s an individual sport. It’s your work ethic compared to somebody else’s.

How was it being a high school athlete?

Junior year, I competed in France for a track meet and that’s when it became my focus. Graduating at 16, I had a full-time job and was employed for four years until I left for college.

What did you do in this time?

The company allowed me to leave early to go to track club practice. They were very supportive and I sent letters every day to colleges.

Why did you send letters?

I sent them to numerous colleges looking for a spot. Some responded, some didn’t, but even if they did, some would say, “I have no more spots, etc.”

Through these efforts, you did find a college?

Yes, in 1995 I attended Central State University in Ohio. It was a NIA school which is lower than Division 1 track. Through a friend I was recommended to come to UTEP and I did, receiving a full ride and worked the hardest.

What was your goal at this time?

There was a moment in my second year at UTEP when my coached asked me, “Ronald, what is your goal?” I responded, “I want to be the best in the world.”

After college, what was your plan?

I stayed at UTEP and was in a student-teaching role and was able to train and use the facilities to hopefully compete in the 2000 Sydney Olympics.