Cory Horton Age Group Coach of the Year
This award is presented to the outstanding SES age group coach of the year.
Cory Horton was an accomplished triathlete who competed with the likes of Lance Armstrong and Mike Pigg. He came to the Mid-South as a triathlete on scholarship to University of Memphis. When hired initially by Dick Fadgen, he had no coaching experience but was gifted with an ability to teach and motivate kids in the pool. After several years of learning at Memphis Tigers, Cory started his own program- the Memphis Thunder Aquatic Club (the name came from a wrestling program and colors from the Oakland Raiders) in April of 1998. The team began with three families. There was no pool to call home. MTAC practiced at the Shriners’ Hotel, in a team member’s backyard pool, at the Memphis Catholic Club or wherever Cory could find water.
Cory founded his MTAC program solely around the athletes. He spent all of his time and money on them- so much that he spent a stint living out of his car. If there was a kid who got tired of swimming, he would introduce them to triathalons or other endurance activities. His focus was on encouraging each individual to try their hardest. He was a stickler for them being in the water on time to practice. Athletes of all kinds and abilities were encouraged to do their best--no matter how they finished a race. Cory would often tell the swimmers "can't" should not be in their vocabulary. Cory’s philosophy was through the journey of work and determination an athlete would be successful- the finish (or place) did not always determine the winner.
Tragically in May 2005, Cory was killed by a large farm truck. He was doing what he loved- biking and training for a triathalon. Even after he passed away he continued to help many individuals reach their goals and dreams as an organ donor.